What is Cursillo?

Cursillo is a program of the Church intended to help Christians learn and live what is fundamental for being a Christian.

  • The goal of Cursillo is to bring the world to Christ by empowering Christians through the use of a specific method, which equips and encourages them to live out their Baptismal Covenant to serve Christ.
  • The emphasis is on living the Christian life and transforming environments – in other words, to enable the light of Christ to shine in the corners of the world where God has put us – where we live, work, worship and socialize.
  • Cursillo comes under the authority of the Diocesan Bishop.

Cursillo brochure (PDF)

Cursillo is:

  • a method for living basic Christianity
  • a short course on the essentials of being a Christian
  • a program of the Church
  • a program with a method to enhance and strengthen our Christian journey; to support and encourage each other in order to change the world for Christ.
  • a program with a purpose – to change environments for Christ

What is the Cursillo method?
The method consists of three parts: the Pre-Cursillo, the Cursillo Weekend, and the Post-Cursillo.


  • (before the Cursillo Weekend) – a time of preparation for the Three- Day Weekend – publicity, communication and literature; identifying leaders and potential participants; sponsorship and workshops.

The Cursillo Weekend

  • (a residential three-day course) – includes a series of talks given by lay people and clergy, discussions, meditations, and worship services, all intended to focus the participants on “what is fundamental for being a Christian“. Here the basics are covered, with the intention of encouraging and equipping the participants to live out their Baptismal Covenant to serve Christ in all things. See Cursillo Weekend.

The Post-Cursillo

  • (after the Cursillo Weekend) – the centerpiece of the Cursillo movement. It consists of three elements:
  • Group Reunion – small groups meeting on a regular basis to share their faith journeys and support one another along the way
  • Ultreya – large groups coming together for fellowship and encouragement
  • Spiritual Direction – a friend and guide to help and direct us in our spiritual life.

These are tools to strengthen our Christian life and witness.

What is the Origin of Cursillo?
Cursillo was developed in Majorca, Spain in the late 1940s by groups of Christian lay people seeking ways to christianize their environments, to provide a “backbone” for Christianity in the real-life situations in which they found themselves. Some years later Cursillo was brought to the American continent and subsequently to Canada in the early 1980s. Many denominations, all over the world, embrace the Cursillo movement.

Why the word “Cursillo”?
Because the Cursillo Movement originated in Spain and is now international in scope, the Spanish terms have been retained as a common language to describe Cursillo. Cursillo (pronounced: coor-SEE-oh) means “short course”.

The Cursillo Weekend
The Cursillo Weekend is a three-day residential course held at a Conference/Retreat Centre in the Diocese of Niagara.

  • It is the experience of living for three days in a community of people who are consciously trying to live as Christians.
  • It is an opportunity to step back briefly from the everyday life of the secular world and focus on one’s spiritual life.
  • It is a concentrated opportunity to help us recognize Christ’s presence and action in our lives and in the lives of others.
  • It is the opportunity to share, through discussion, our thoughts and ideas with others, and to reflect on Christ’s and the Church’s teachings.
  • It includes fifteen talks, given by laity and clergy, on such subjects as: Faith, Laity, Christian Community in Action, the Sacraments, Faithfulness, Changing Environments, Grace.
  • It includes daily worship services.
  • It begins on Thursday evening and ends on Sunday afternoon.

The Cursillo Weekend can be a significant and very real experience of what it is like to live in a community which is focused and centered on the love of God through Jesus Christ. That is the joy which makes those who have attended a Cursillo so enthusiastic about the Weekend.

When is the next Cursillo Weekend in Niagara being held?

  • Weekend # 53, October 20-22, 2017 St Ignatius Centre, Deemerton

More information on upcoming weekends can be found on the upcoming Weekends page.

For more in formation contact through the :
Susan Little, Lay Director
Rev. Stephanie Pellow, Spiritual Director

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