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

What is Cursillo

Cursillo (pronounced kur-see-yo) is a Spanish word meaning "little" or "short" course. It's a weekend course in Christianity. To explain Cursillo to someone who has never experienced Cursillo is at best, difficult. Often, for those who have experienced Cursillo it is still somewhat mystifying. This is not because the Cursillo Movement is a "secret" organization. The reason behind the mystery is God. No one can fully explain how God touches each person in His special/unique way throughout the various elements of the Cursillo Movement. It is much difficult to explain the mystery of God. The web page will; however, attempt to explain the human aspect behind the Cursillo Movement.

No one definition can truly explain what Cursillo is. However, all the definitions can give a much richer meaning to the purpose of Cursillo .
• One definition states: "The purpose (or goal) of the Movement is to make Christian community possible in neighborhoods, parishes, work situations and other places where people live the greater part of their lives. It makes possible for anyone in the world to live a Christian life in a natural way."

• Another definition lists the purpose of the Cursillo Movement as: "The leavening of environments with the Gospel." In other words, changing the places we spend time by being Christlike in our thoughts, words, and actions.

• Still another definition states: "Since it is a movement of the Church, the Cursillo Movement has the same apostolic purpose as the Church herself. And the Church, as Pope Paul VI told us, exists to evangelize."

• There is yet another definition that describes the purpose as such: "The Cursillo Movement 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." These "core groups" are now referred to as "Environmental Groups."

As mentioned earlier, while the wording of these definitions may differ, their ideas are the same. The Cursillo Movement is focused to help each of us fulfill our baptismal responsibility: to go forth, as apostles, and proclaim the Gospel. We can no longer afford to sit passively by and "hope" that the world comes to know Christ. We must make a conscientious effort to "tell" the world about Christ. The Cursillo Movement provides us with the necessary tools for fulfilling our baptismal responsibility along with the training for using those tools.

In determining the purpose of the Cursillo Movement, it is important that we focus on two important aspects. The first aspect: We are communal people. The second aspect: We are teamwork people.


By our very makeup (which was conceived by God), we need relationships (interaction of two or more persons). A relationship of husband/wife was required to bring about our conception. A relationship of mother/child was required to bring about our birth.
Our growth from newborn to adulthood is filled with relationships in school, family reunions, Church, vacations, etc. When we enter into the working environments we find ourselves thrust into completely new relationships. Neighborhoods can also provide various opportunities for relationships. Social/Civic/Political involvement(s) most definitely depend upon relationships. Therefore it is part of our nature to be part of various communities in our everyday life.

Early in our youth many of us came to understand the value of teamwork. Even if one was not involved in a formalized sports program, most were involved in some form of team competition during P.E. (Physical Education class) at school. We also learned the value of studying together in an attempt to improve our grades.

For those that serve (or have served) in the military, they realize that the purpose of Basic Training is to de-emphasize the individual and emphasize the team. Besides all these examples of teamwork, Christ gave us the encouragement to work as a team: "Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18: 19-20).

The purpose of the Cursillo Movement is to bring about a change in the environments. The Cursillo Movement is a deliberate act to bring Jesus Christ into the world. Cursillistas (those that have gone through the 3-Days and are living the Cursillo method) become agents for change in their families, work situations, neighborhoods, social gatherings, etc. Cursillistas are the part of the Christian community (communal) that links together with others (teamwork) to bring Jesus Christ to the world.