The Cursillo Weekend

Cursillo is a Spanish word meaning ‘short course’.  As a movement within the church, its purpose is to help individuals understand their personal callings to be Christian leaders, and to exercise their positive influence at work, in their family and social life, in leisure activities and within the church environment.

Cursillo begins with a 3-day weekend (Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon), which is not a traditional retreat but rather a gathering of clergy and laity from the diocese who are seeking to strengthen their faith through shared prayer, worship, music, study, discussions, fellowship, laughter and love.  Most importantly, Cursillo provides continuing support once the weekend is over through ongoing small groups called “reunion groups”, where participants meet regularly to share reflections on their prayer life, Christian study, and involvement in the world, and sustain themselves and each other in their Christian walk.

The three day weekend begins at 7 o’clock on a Thursday evening with introductions and an explanation of what is to come.  There follows a short period of silent retreat, a time during which participants focus on where they are in their Christian walk.   Over the next three days participants will hear a variety of talks on many aspects of the Christian life, presented by both laity and clergy.  Each talk is followed by a discussion amongst participants, or an activity that relates to the message of the talk. 

New York Episcopal Cursillo holds its weekends at Mariandale Retreat House in Ossining, NY.  It is the home of the R.C. Order of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, a lovely and secure retreat house on the banks of the Hudson.  Each participant has a comfortable private room with a sink.  There are shared shower and toilet facilities on each hall.  All meals are provided, as well as linens and towels.  One need only bring clothes and personal items for the three day visit.  There is a lovely chapel, a labyrinth on the grounds, walking trails, a cheery communal dining room and breathtaking views of the Hudson River.

The weekend is filled with opportunities for fellowship,

worship, singing, outdoor strolls by the river,

and plenty of food!  Eucharist is celebrated daily,

and each evening ends with the service of Compline. 

The schedule is full with frequent breaks built in. 

NY Episcopal Cursillo is a co-ed experience

and the composition of the team of staff is as diverse

as our Diocese itself.

The weekend ends on Sunday afternoon following a

3:30pm Eucharist, after which sponsors may take

their candidate home.

NY Episcopal Cursillo is sanctioned by

National Episcopal Cursillo and the Episcopal Diocese of NY.  It is overseen by a voluntary board called Secretariat, comprised of laity and Clergy.  The Secretariat plans events, handle financial matters, assures that all weekends follow the proscribed format, and assists where needed with the planning and execution of weekends and Ultreyas.

Interested in Attending a Cursillo Weekend?

NY Episcopal Cursillo is open to all Episcopalians in the Diocese of NY.  If your own parish has a Cursillo community, you may speak to anyone who has gone on a Cursillo weekend about attending.  If there is not a Cursillo movement in your parish, click on the link to Secretariat and contact any member listed to get information as to how you can become involved.

Cursillo weekends are currently free to candidates, being subsidized by NYEC 4th Day Community through fund raising.  The cost to team members is $300

All candidates have a sponsor, someone responsible for making sure they are prepared for the weekend, helping to take care of things like plants or pets while they are away, and getting them to Mariandale on Thursday and getting them home on Sunday afternoon.  The sponsor also lifts the candidate in prayer both before and during the weekend.  It is the sponsors’ responsibility to make sure the candidate is appropriate at this time for the weekend, that is, not in the middle of a life crisis; and to secure and complete the application, getting clergy signatures and mailing it to the applications coordinator in a timely manner.

Interested in Serving on Team?

Anyone who has made a Cursillo weekend is eligible to serve on a team.  Serving on a Cursillo team is a fun and fulfilling way to be a part of the servant community.  It requires significant sacrifice of time, talent and treasure!  It is important to know that team members pay for their own weekend, and that there are 4 full day team preparation meetings in the 8-10 weeks prior to the weekend that must be attended, and sometimes an overnight meeting.  It is essential to make a commitment to attend all of them, as team building is vital to the success of the weekend.    The lay rector of the weekend prayerfully chooses a team and assigns talks and tasks.  Team members must be open to accepting the role the lay rector has called them to.

A team application is currently being created and will be available on the website soon.  If you would like to put your name on a list for team service, contact the Diocesan Lay Director (DLD) of Secretariat and let him know your special gifts (i.e., music, art, culinary arts, spirituality, writing, teaching) and when you would be available to serve.  Each lay rector attempts to compose a team that matches the geographic and social diversity of our Diocese.  It is recommended that team members serve no more than once every three weekends.