The Sri Lanka Cursillo Movement
50 Years of Cursillo (1964 - 2014)

Pre Cursillo

The Pre-Cursillo phase of the Cursillo Movement involves the selection and preparation of effective candidates who will move on to the 3-day Cursillo weekend; then on to the methods of the Post- Cursillo by which the conversion to Christ which invariably occurs on the 3-day weekend is focused on meeting the challenges of everyday life. The Pre-Cursillo is sometimes rightly called recruitment in the sense the United States Marine Corp recruits: "looking for a few good people" who, after having made the 3-day Cursillo weekend, naturally will have influence on the environments in which they live and work; to evangelize those environments for Christ.

The Cursillo Movement, simply defined, "is a movement of the Church which by means of its own method makes it possible for people to live what is fundamental for being a Christian, and to live it together; it helps people discover and fulfill their personal vocations, and it promotes the creation of core groups of Christians who leaven their environments with the Gospel." (Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement, 1992, 74)

The three great parts that compose the work of the Cursillo Movement are: The Pre-Cursillo , the 3-day Cursillo weekend and the Post-Cursillo . These three parts constitute an organic unity. Everyone who works in the Movement should be aware of the tremendous consequences if one of these parts does not function or is weak.

The Pre-Cursillo  is the searching for and selection of environments and of persons within those environments and the preparation of the persons for the 3-day Cursillo weekend, with a view toward a commitment to the Post-Cursillo .

The Pre-Cursillo  is probably the least understood part of the Cursillo method, yet in terms of evangelizing environments, it is the most important element of the method. Hopefully, with adequate preparation obtained from one of several Pre-Cursillo  workshops given in the Diocese of Orange, one for potential candidates and one for sponsors, all will come to appreciate the rich mentality of the Cursillo Movement and the hope it offers in bringing about a truly Christian world.



Well before a candidate selection is committed to paper and the application is handed out to be filled in, these few important points need to be reviewed and carefully scrutinized:
Quoted material taken from The Cursillo Movement's Leaders' Manual, Copyright 1981, seventh printing April 1998

1. PRAY.
These are the most important elements of candidate selection. Without prayer, how does one come to know the true will of our Lord? Is the candidate WE have in mind the same one HE has in mind? Remember always what we say in the Cursillo: "Talk to God about man before you speak to man about God."

The next most important elements of candidate selection. Without self-sacrifice and deliberately offered works of mercy to God and His Son, there is no genuine commitment to the human and spiritual value of the candidate as such or to the candidate's effectiveness in the Cursillo Movement. Corporate (i.e., parish or Ultreya) and individual palanca are needed as the lever palanca is intended to be; that is, to move the candidate to doing and being a leaven in their environments.

As the LEADERS MANUAL stipulates, "Candidate selection must always be based on the effectiveness or potential effectiveness of the candidate as the leaven of his or her environment and circumstances." This means that the potential candidate must have a certain "strength of character" that for the purposes of the Cursillo is formed by Christian attitudes. While the conversion process (metanoia) is very much a part of the Cursillo weekend, this does not mean that the weekend should be used to "convert" an otherwise non-Christian individual; or even with the motive of "making a better person out of them." The Cursillo Movement cannot do for people what other Christian/Catholic ministries are specifically designed to perform. Nor is the Cursillo meant for individuals who have gross physical or psychological or emotional problems. Again, there are other Christian/Catholic ministries designed to meet those needs. The Cursillo weekend is for those who are "vertebrae, leaders, self-starters, movers...who have the ability and desire to live in and for the [Cursillo] community...and are mature, free, and responsible."

The candidate should be a practicing Catholic and should be eligible to receive the Sacraments. Someone whose marital situation makes reconciliation with the Church impossible at this time might not be advised to attend the weekend since that individual would not be able to participate fully and, as a consequence, find the experience frustrating. The Cursillo in the Diocese of Orange is Catholic and Apostolic. If the potential candidate is a mature Christian, though belonging to another faith community, but in every other way a leader in his or her environment, suggest to that individual that another denominational Cursillo would be more appropriate for them. The Methodist Cursillo, for example, is called "Road to Emmaus." Keep in mind that the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Our Lady the Blessed Mother are central features in the Catholic Cursillo. They are at the heart of the weekend. Someone not disposed to receiving Their gifts might well have a frustrating weekend.

Candidate preparation is essential to a successful Cursillo experience. When potential candidates understand the reason for the Cursillo, they will naturally become enthusiastic about it. They will view the Cursillo Movement as a way to attain their desires to become more of a person, to increase in holiness, to search for the Truth, to make a difference. Toward this end, the sponsor should be familiar with the essential components of the Cursillo, especially the LEADERS MANUAL, be a living example of the message and method of the Cursillo, and should take pains to provide the candidate with as much information as possible about the Cursillo in all of its phases --- Pre-Cursillo, the Three Day Weekend, and the Post Cursillo.

Married couples should be approached both at the same time and be asked to make the weekend in the same time frame. Husbands usually make the weekend before their wives. And the woman's weekend usually follows the men's weekend by a week. Husbands are always urged to share the experience of the weekend with their wives. The Holy Spirit will make sure that the weekend will be something special for that individual. Trust in Him. The weekend is EXPERIENCED. The grace of the Holy Spirit forms the weekend; teams and sponsors are only His instruments.

 The backbone of the Cursillo Movement, its defining feature, its essential strategy in transforming and Christianizing environments, is locked in vital and active Group Reunions and Ultreyas. No Cursillista is any good without them. The candidate must be exposed in some way to them, either in discussion or by bringing the candidate to one or both of them. And, as part of the process of selection, provision for the candidate must be made for a Group and/or Ultreya community after the three-day weekend. Co-sponsoring candidates from the same parish is one of several ways to create a Cursillo community after the weekend. Involve the parish or area Rep for the Cursillo. Take responsibility for the soul you are committing the Cursillo community. You and God are initially in charge here --- you must carry out your duty, even as you expect God to fulfill His.

The potential candidate "must be able to understand the message [of the weekend] and to commit themselves." The candidate "must be able to be leaven of the Gospel within their environments." The candidate "must be able to discover their individual charisms and place them at the service of the [Cursillo] community." The candidate must be able and willing to participate in the Post Cursillo: Grouping and Ultreya.

 The sponsor is responsible for the perseverance of the candidate until that individual is fully incorporated into the Cursillo community. The sponsor is also responsible for placing the candidate in a Group and Ultreya community. In addition, the sponsor should assist the candidate's family, if needed, during the weekend, and enlist the aid of his or her Group to help in any other way. Sponsor only one candidate at a time; multiple sponsorships should be left to a Group or Ultreya community. Just one motto applies to each and every sponsor: "Make a friend, be a friend, bring that friend to Christ."