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This year marks the 40th anniversary of Cursillo Movement weekends being held in Gibraltar.
Over these forty years over 3,000 men and women have experienced a beautiful encounter with our Lord during one of these weekend events. Whilst we celebrate our 40th anniversary, the Cursillo Movement has been in existence around the world for many years.
The Cursillo Movement was born during the l940s on the island of Mallorca. The first seeds sprouted from within Catholic Action, a strong movement focussing on young people who realised the need for a new evangelisation following the Spanish Civil war and World War II. During this time the concept of Cursillos in Christianity developed. One must recognise the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which was received and shared by a group of people, amongst them Eduardo Bonnin, a layman who would play a prominant role in the development of the Movement. There were also Priests who were instrumental in the development of the Movement among them Mgr. Sebastian Gaya and Bishop Juan Hervas, who gave his blessing for Cursillos to start in his Dioceses. Mgr. Gaya was very fond of Gibraltar and visited the Rock on two occasions to run retreats. The causes for the beatification of Eduardo Bonnin and Mgr. Gaya have already commenced. There is a broad consensus that the first Cursillo as we know it today took place from the 7th to the 10th of January l949 in Mallorca and was directed by Eduardo Bonnin. The evangelising potential of Cursillos was soon identified and more were held during the following years. When Bishop Hervas was moved to Valencia, Cursillos started and spread thought the Spanish mainland, then on to Latin America where the first Cursillo was held in l953. The Cursillos in Christianity spread to Europe and other parts of the world, including USA, Canada, Australia South Korea to mention a few, and more recently South Africa where the Gibraltar Movement played an important role in the development of Cursillos in this continent. The world Presidency is rotated between the world groups with the country holding the Presidency of each group being elected. Gibraltar was elected to hold the Presidency of the European group from 2006 till 2010. A European Encounter was held in Gibraltar in 1998 and was attended by delegates from many countries.
Bishop Rapallo’s Permission
In order for Cursillos to take place in any territory, approval must first be obtained from the Diocesan Bishop. The Cursillo movement is therefore a movement of the Church and is characterised mainly for its evangelising nature. The Cursillo Movement continues with the blessing of Popes Paul VI, and John Paul II, Benedict XVI and more recently Pope Francis. Canonical Approval by the Holy See was also granted. All of these Pope’s have attended European and World encounters.
During the l960s some men from Gibraltar were invited to participate in Cursillos in Malaga and Tetuan. They returned with great enthusiasm and a desire to launch the Movement in Gibraltar. Being something completely new they had to wait patiently, persevering in their Group reunions until 1976 when Bishop Edward Rapallo gave his blessing for the first Cursillos to be held in Gibraltar.
A ‘Great Family’
One of the attendees to one of the earliest Cursillos commented “Forty years ago a friend invited me to a Cursillo in Christianity. I had never heard of the Cursillos prior to this and it took a while for me to decide, but somehow I felt drawn to it. I decided to go and it was not just a retreat but a profound experience. I was touched, not only by the talks given by Priests but by those given by laymen who spoke about Jesus and His church through the witness of their lives. I had always attended Sunday Mass and took an interest in the Church, but in the Cursillo I discovered the love of God and the working of the Holy Spirit. It was a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. I could say, in a way, that the words of the Father to the elder son, “but my son, everything I have is yours” became a reality. I realised the importance of Holy Scripture, of visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and appreciate the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy. I also discovered the true meaning of the Church and that I was, though baptism, a member of a great family. I have through the years appreciated all the wonderful people who work for the Church who may not have experienced a Cursillo, people who work in other Church activities and the privilege of working with Priests. I am still the same person, with my joys and also my hardships when they may come along, but strengthened by the knowledge that God is by my side, the “God of compassion and love, slow to anger and abounding in mercy”, who will forgive my failings, failings of which I am more conscious than before. I have for many years worked within the Cursillo Movement and realise that this has been a tremendous blessing for which I am forever grateful to God”.
The Cursillo Movement will be celebrating their 40th anniversary at the Catholic Community Centre on the 20th and 21st October, everyone is invited.
Additionally the Movement will be running Cursillo weekends at the Retreat Centre from the 12th till the 15th October for women and from the 9th till the 12th November for men. Please contact us on 58008885 or send us an email on email@example.com and we’ll send you an enrolment form, we look forward to seeing you there.
Cursillo Team Leaders
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