What is Cursillo and its history?

Cursillo (Cur-SEE'-yo) - Spanish word meaning "short course". (Short for "A Short Course in Christian Living"). It began in Spain in the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1940's. First, Roman Catholic Cursillos were held in the USA in 1957, in Spanish, and then eventually in English. It was taken up by the Episcopal Church in the USA in the mid 1970's, and by the Anglican Church in Canada.

Cursillo is a movement of the church. Its purpose is to help those in the church understand their individual callings to be Christian Leaders. The leadership may be exercised in work situations, in the family and social life, in leisure activities, and within the Church environment. Leadership, in Cursillo, does not mean power over others, but influence on others; all of us need to be aware that we can exert a positive influence on those around us.

The goal of Cursillo is the goal of the Church: to bring all to Christ. This is done when informed, trained leaders set out with the support of others having a similar commitment

Cursillo is patterned on Jesus’ own example. He searched out and called a small group of potential leaders. He trained them by word and example and inspired them with a vision. He linked them together and sent them out into the world to bring the world to Him.

The Three-Day Weekend

The Cursillo weekend brings together a diverse group of Episcopalians to share the richness of many modes of worship and to broaden each one’s appreciation for our Church. Lay people conduct the weekend with two or three members of the clergy functioning as spiritual advisors. Cursillo presumes that those who attend are already well grounded in the faith. It is not intended to be a conversion experience but an enriching and deepening of what is already there. It often provides new insights into our faith as well as fostering ministry among lay people.

The weekend begins Thursday evening spent in the Chapel with meditations, discussions, and Compline. Then blessed silence is kept until after the worship on Friday morning. After breakfast participants are assigned to table groups for the weekend. The three days are filled with talks and group discussions with emphasis on the doctrine of Grace, the Sacraments, and the great Cursillo tripod: Piety, Study, and Action. Plus there is fellowship, singing, good food, and time for privacy, meditation, prayer, and walks. Eucharist is celebrated each day.
Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

Is Cursillo supported by the National Church?

Cursillo is a movement of the Episcopal Church, (known as a short course in Christian Life) under the authority of the Presiding and Diocesan Bishops. The goal of Cursillo is to bring the world to Christ by empowering adult Christian leaders through the use of a specific method that is taught as part of a three-day weekend. The method, an evangelistic tool, enables and encourages Christians to live out their Baptismal covenant to serve Christ.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

What does our own bishop say about Cursillo?

Bishop Councell gives Cursillo his full support provided we maintain our commitment to "The Fourth Day". We need as a community to be certain that all our activities are focussed on making all our environments Christ centered. Many Cursillistas in the past have simply had a "weekend experience" and then slipped back into the selfish lethargy of inaction. Remember that as a Cursillista you are to continue to use the three tools of Piety, Study and Action to "Make a friend; Be a friend; Bring a friend to Christ". Continue to form and attend Group Reunions and attend Ultreyas.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

Who should go to a Cursillo weekend?

Anyone who wants to renew and deepen their Christian commitment should go with the help of a sponsor.

Cursillo is one of many renewal movements. Many people have said Cursillo provides an important learning experience which causes many to feel like newly made Christians with a purpose and with support.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

When are the weekends scheduled?

Currently, the Servant Council is working on strengthening the 4th Day Community and selecting a site and dates for the next weekend.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

Where are the weekends held?

The weekend location is in the works. Please visit again to see what the outcome will be.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

How can I get involved with the next team?

PLEASE NOTE: We are always looking for people who are willing to serve on team for a weekend. A team member can be anyone who has attended Cursillo in the past (or any related renewal movement such as Road to Emmaus). A team member should be a member of a Group Reunion and a regular attendee at an Ultreya. It is expected that a team member attend the preparation meetings prior to the weekend (usually a commitment of 4 Saturday mornings). In addition each team member is also responsible for the full amount of the financial cost of the weekend.


Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

What do I need to know to be a sponsor?

Sponsors (individuals that have been to the three-day Cursillo weekend and are living the Fourth Day) identify those Episcopalians who are leading an active Christian life and are a living witness to their love for Christ, recommending their candidacy for a Cursillo weekend. They are usually involved in seeing the candidate through the application process, getting the candidate to and from the retreat center and participating in the closing ceremony. In addition, a sponsor should see to it that the new Cursillista is engaging in Fourth Day activities including Group Reunion, Ultreya and Spiritual Direction.

For a complete guide to sponsorship contact us at  info@njepiscopalcursillo.org

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

Do you have an application form I can use?

An application will be added to the following link once a weekend date is determined.


Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

What is meant by "The Fourth Day"?

Post-Cursillo is called "The Fourth Day". The Cursillo weekend is not an end to itself. It is a starting point that lasts the rest of your life. It is a springboard to a long-range practice of the Baptismal Covenant in the life of the Church called the Fourth Day. The Fourth Day is composed of three major elements: the Group Reunion,the Ultreya, and Spiritual Direction.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

What is an "Ultreya"?

The Ultreya, which is usually held monthly, is a "reunion of the group reunions". It provides support and builds community by allowing the sharing of communal experiences. All are invited to attend whether you have been on a weekend or not.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

Where and when are the Ultreyas held?

Come join these celebrations of our faith! All are welcome!

Good Shepherd, Berlin

For more information contact:
Sheila Williams - (856) 768-1317

St Thomas, Glassboro

For more information contact:
Lois Robinson - (856) 863-0750

Christ Church,Toms River

For more information contact:
Barbara Powell

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

What is meant by "group reunion"?

The Group Reunion, the heart of Cursillo, is a small group of friends (usually 3-5) who meet weekly, and who hold each other accountable for their spiritual journey. They report on their piety, their study, and their apostolic action. A bonding develops that institutes a strong support group for life.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

How can I get connected to a group reunion?

The SonShine newsletter offers a special service for those Cursillistas who wish to join a group reunion but just can't seem to get "connected" and for groups that would welcome new members. Contact the editor with your information via e-mail or regular mail. sonshineeditor@optonline.net or 14 Winsor Court, Sayreville, NJ 08872

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

Can I get on the newsletter mailing list?

Yes, of course you can! Just contact the newsletter editor by e-mail or "snail-mail:


or SonShine Editor
14 Winsor Court
Sayreville, NJ 08872

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

What is "Palanca"?

Palanca is a Spanish word that means, “lever”. Just as a lever enables a person to move something, which is beyond normal strength, Palanca empowers the accomplishments of things which would not be possible without the Grace of God.

"Today, perhaps more than ever, it is necessary to remind ourselves that without God we are nothing, bereft of value, and incapable of doing anything. We must reaffirm that before anything else, the most characteristic mark of the Cursillo methodology ties in the whole concept of Palanca prayers, sacrifices and works of mercy. Palanca must be genuine and offered by communities and individuals living in union with Christ and each other if the effectiveness of all other human efforts in the Movement is to be assured. This is to take seriously the promise of Christ: “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you”(Matt.7:7 NAB)"

"It must be understood that letters are not Palanca. Letters are merely a vehicle in which we convey the actual Palanca being done. Keeping this in mind, we must realize that Palanca can be done for a particular purpose without having to write a letter about it. For instance, Palanca can be done for efforts of cursillistas in trying to utilize the Cursillo method. All of us need Palanca of this type, but it would be impractical to write letters to thousands of Cursillistas."

Cursillo Leaders Manual, 1998;pg. 135 & 136

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

How can I submit Palanca requests to the Cursillo movement in New Jersey?

All palanca requests for Cursillo or other renewal movement weekends may be sent to:

Carolyn Belvin at cjb613@hotmail.com

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

Tell me about the Servant Council and who is on it.

The Servant Council is an elected advisory board made up of Cursillistas who are responsible for the effective administration of the activities of the Episcopal Cursillo Movement in the Diocese of New Jersey. Feel free to contact any of the members to pass on items or issues you may wish to bring to the attention of the Servant Council.

The Servant Council meetings are held throughout the diocese.
Any Cursillista is welcome to attend!
To find out where and when contact us at:

What follows is a list of the people who are currently serving on the Servant Council.

Diocesan Lay Director

Darlene Watson
154 Yorktown Blvd.
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Diocesan Spiritual Director
Rev. Patrick Close (Interim)
Grace Church, Haddonfield, NJ

Maureen Beebe
113 Astor Lane
Franklin Park, NJ 08823
732-732-9214 (cell)

Bruce Cecchini
3 Princeton Ct.
Berlin, NJ 08009
Music Coordinator

Position Open

Resource Coordinator  
Sheila Williams
685 Pestletown Rd.
Waterford Works, NJ 08089
Fourth Day / Agape Coordinators

Barbara Powell
145B Hudson Parkway
Whiting, NJ 08759

Pauline Devonish
250 Inza St.
Highland Park, NJ 08904

Palanca Coordinator

Carolyn Belvin
75 Locker St.
Beachwood, NJ 08722

Jim Mc Connell
14 Winsor Court
Sayreville, NJ 08872
Members at Large

Joe Donnelly
39 Merion Rd.
Marlton, NJ 08053

Rich Macauley
714 Cardinal Dr.
West Deptford, NJ 08066

Lily Altamura
5 Circle Dr.
Somerville, NJ 08876

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)

What is "De Colores" and how did it start?

De Colores is a children's folk song, giving thanks for the joy of colors in God's creation. It became associated with Cursillo in the early days of the movement, when a busload of pilgrims in Spain broke down, and the pilgrims had to walk about 20 miles along the mountain roads. The pilgrims sang De Colores over and over as they walked, and made about 70 new verses for the song. Since then it has become one of the traditional songs of Cursillo

Click here for a link for lyrics to De Colores.

Back Button.gif (599 bytes)