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


The First Cursillo in Sri Lanka was conducted in Kandy with the blessings of the late Rt. Rev. Dr. Leo Nanayakkara, Bishop of Kandy. This was due to the efforts of the late Rev. Fr. Dom Theophane Wickrerarante OSB who persuaded Gwen Vaughan of Amarillo, Texas to come to Sri Lanka. This Weekend was held from 16th to 20th January 1964 with 14 candidates. A unique and strange feature about this Weekend was that all Rollos were given by the candidates ably assisted by Gwen Vaughan, and Rectored by late Bro. Rosary Anthony. The date 16th January is very significant to Sri Lanka, as this marks the death anniversary of the Apostle of Sri Lanka, Ven. Fr. Joseph Vaz

Since then 214 Cursillo Weekends have been held in English, Sinhala and Tamil Languages in Kandy, Colombo, Wahacotte, Nuwara Eliya, Galle, Kalutara, Moratuwa, Negombo, Kurunegala, Mannar, Chilaw and Anuradhapura.


Cursillo Nos. 58 and 59 were the first two Sinhala Weekends held for Men and Women at Mary-On-Hill, in the late 1970’s in Kandy with Bro Cyril Perera and Sr. Delicia Abeysekera as the Rector and Rectora respectively. 7 candidates participated in the Men’s Weekend and 25 in the Women’s Weekend.



The first Tamil Weekend was for women was Cursillo No 177 and held from 12th to 15th September 2002 at  St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre, Mannar. This was a long felt need in Sri Lanka and a dream of our Chaplains and IDS for well over 10 years. This was conducted with the blessings of the Episcopal Vicar Rt. Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Kandy. 9 candidates participated with Rev. Fr. Ignatius Varnaculasingham and Rev. Fr. Christopher Dalima as Spiritual Directors. The team comprised of 5 Rollistas and 4 Auxiliairies with Sr. Crescentia Corera as Rectora. Thereafter a 2nd Tamil Weekend was held also at the same venue from 23rd to 26th September 2004 with the participation of 14 candidates, 6 Rollistas and 3 Auxiliaries.


1st Tamil Weekend in Mannar

Rev. Fr. Dom Theophane Wickremaratne OSB has been the Counselor Director of the Movement in Sri Lanka from its inception until his call to eternal glory on March 11th, 1992. Thereafter Rev. Fr. Tony Martyn was appointed Chaplain for the Colombo Diocese in the year 1992. At present he is the National Chaplain and Chaplain of the IDS and CDS working hand in hand with the Diocesan Chaplian Rev. Fr. Michael Sandanam – Kandy Diocese, Rev. Fr. S. K. Devaraja – Mannar Diocese and Rev. Fr. Desiderius Medagoda – Chilaw Diocese. Each Diocese has its own Secretariat overlooked by the Inter-Diocesan Secretariat.


The main programme conducted by the Cursillo Movement is the 3-Day Cursillo Weekend at which the candidates are given the basics of Christianity through 15 Rollos given by Priests and Laymen. It is a lived experience giving them an opportunity to encounter themselves, Christ and the Church – an invitation to a life of grace, a call to holiness to become saints and a call to evangelization to become apostles.

Apart from the 3-Day Weekends, Cursillo Leaders’ Workshops are held as the need arises for the Cursillistas to encounter the Movement more deeply.

An Evangelization Workshop was held at Paul VI Centre on 3rd and 4th March 1996. The main focus was to make the members aware of the urgency of evangelization. 55 members from the Dioceses of Colombo, Kandy and Chilaw participated in this Workshop.

Cursillo Days are an annual feature in all Dioceses. Retreats and Pilgrimages are also organized for the members to grow in spirituality.

The Annual Convention brings the Cursillistas from across the island to review their commitment and take stock of their apostolic zeal and thirst to build and spread the Kingdom of God. 46 Annual Conventions have been held so far.


The School of Leaders which functions every Monday at Paul VI Centre, Colombo serves three diverging functions – School of Holiness, School of Community and School of Formation. We are striving to make this School better organized in the other Dioceses.


The Cursillo Movement in Sri Lanka celebrated its Silver Jubilee with grandeur on 7th March 1989 at the BMICH with His Grace the Emeritus Archbishop Most Rev. Dr Nicholas Marcus as the Chief Guest. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by the His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Francois Bacque with the homily being delivered by the then Episcopal Patron late Rt. Rev. Dr. W. Don Sylvester. A vivid walk down memory lane – 25 years of the Cursillo Movement in Sri Lanka was given by the Counselor Director late Rev. Fr. Dom Theophane Wickremaratne OSB.

To coincide with this Jubilee Celebrations we had the privilege of hosting the 4th Asia Pacific Encounter in Sri Lanka from 2nd to 5th March 1989 at Hotel Suisse, Kandy.



The Sri Lanka Cursillo Movement has also had its representations at International Meetings.
The late Sr. Rosemary and Bro. Gabriel Sethukavalar represented Sri Lanka at the 6th Asia Pacific Encounter held from 25th to 28th September 1991 at Brisbane.
They also went as delegates with Bro Martin Costa as observer to the 7th Asia Pacific Encounter held in Seoul, Korea from the 24th to 27th September 1992.
Rev. Fr. Ignatius Varnakulasingham had the opportunity of participating in the 12th Asia Pacific Encounter held in Brisbane in the year 1998 from 24th to 27th September.

Rev. Fr. Tony Martyn, Bro, Elmo Perera and Sr. Crescentia Corera were delegates at the 5th World Encounter of the Cursillo Movement organized by the Organismo Mundial De Cursillos De Christiandad (OMCC) from 30th September to 4th October 1997 and the 12th Korean National Ultreya on 5th October 1997 both in Seoul, Korea. At this meeting the delegates were privileged to meet the founder of the Cursillo Movement the late Eduardo Bonnin.

5th World Encounter, Seoul Korea