What is a Cursillo?

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.

Cursillo (pronounced kur-see-yo) is a Spanish word meaning a short course. It is an abbreviated form of Cursillo de Cristiandad (short course to prepare Christians). It is not a theoretical course, nor is it a retreat. It is first and foremost an experience. It must be lived. It is a life-changing experience, which brings with it the discovery of the basis of Christianity and its fundamental significance to our lives.

The Cursillo experience begins with a weekend course in basic Christianity. The three-day course gives the participant practical insights into the everyday life of faith and service. The weekend is a back-to-basics experience which often deepens and rounds out what one has learned about Christ earlier in life. The program begins on Thursday evening and concludes on Sunday evening.

The weekend is led by a team of lay volunteers and clergy. They prepare extensively for this three-day course in basic Christianity. As one might expect, there are talks on various religious topics, and each talk is followed by a discussion. Mass is celebrated each day, and there is an opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation. Morning and evening prayer, as well as a few devotions, are part of the schedule. Meals are hearty, and there are regular breaks in the schedule.

After the Weekend...

Follow-through is essential to living the Cursillo experience successfully. After the weekend, there will be opportunities to meet and pray with others, in order to consolidate what was developed during the three days at the retreat house. The follow-up program is explained in detail during the weekend. The retreat house staff and the Cursillo team, along with the sponsors, aid the candidates in connecting with other Cursillistas (those who have lived the Cursillo).


The candidate should be at least 25 years of age. While there is no upper age limit, keep in mind the schedule is physically challenging and the candidate must be able to participate in the entire weekend. The Cursillo aims at a mature living of the Christian life. The schedule is a full and demanding one which requires good health and stamina. There are separate weekends for men and women. Non-Catholics are also eligible, although Protestant versions of the Cursillo are available in eastern Massachusetts. The candidate must be available for the entire Cursillo experience and cannot be excused to attend outside events, i.e., family functions, business meetings, etc.

Upcoming Weekends

Cursillo schedule

For more information and a listing of upcoming weekends.

(C) Diocese of Fall River, Ma