50 years of Cursillo have blessed diocese immeasurably

Some aspects of Cursillo, the weekend retreat that has brought so many closer to Christ, can be measured. How many years since the first weekend took place in our diocese? Fifty. How many weekends have been conducted since then? About 1,070. How many people, both Catholic and non-Catholic, have taken part? More than 40,000.

What can’t be measured, but will be celebrated with gusto this Saturday at Cursillo’s 50th anniversary Mass and program in Peoria is the impact the movement has had on individual lives, families, parishes, and the history of this diocese.

The blessings are abundant.

So should be our gratitude.

Talk to somebody who is involved in the permanent diaconate, parish ministry, or spiritual renewal programs around the Diocese of Peoria and the odds are good they will credit a Cursillo for how they are serving God today. It’s a testament to the power of Christ’s love to change lives.

Deacon John Skender, diocesan spiritual director for Cursillo, likes to say that the movement helps move faith “from the head to the heart” as it encourages greater commitment to Christ. Cursillo has been accomplishing that for people throughout central Illinois for 50 years, and its follow-up system of group reunions and small support gatherings help sustain the commitment.

Cursillo is a Spanish word meaning “short course” and is designed to be a short course in Christianity. That happens through 10 lay witness talks coordinated with five talks on grace and the sacraments given by clergy.

The Diocese of Peoria is stronger because the short course has such a long and robust history here. We congratulate and thank the pioneers in the movement in our diocese, the bishops who have championed it, and the leaders of today that continue to make it available at five regional sites. De colores! — Thomas J. Dermody

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