Cursillo (pronounced KER SEE O) is a three-day learning, sharing, and inspirational experience of living in a Christian community. The word "Cursillo" is Spanish, meaning "a short course." Cursillo is an abbreviation of the full title: CURSlLLO DE CRISTIANDAD which means "A Short Course in Christian Community Living." During the three days of a Cursillo weekend a person not only hears inspiring talks on what it really means to be a Christian, but actually experiences the joy of building and being part of a genuine Christian community.
Thirty to forty men or women meet from Thursday evening until Sunday evening with a team of priests and laypeople. The "retreat" portion of the Cursillo weekend lasts only from opening night until after breakfast the following morning, during which time silence is to be observed. Thereafter there is informal talk, discussion, singing, joking and laughter, and spontaneous informal prayer. During the three days, fifteen talks are given: ten by laypeople, five by priests. The talks emphasize the true meaning of grace, the sacraments, the Mass, the nature and need of prayer, living one's daily life in union with God, studying to understand the gift of God, and introducing Christ.
The Cursillo weekend in itself is simply a beginning. When correctly applied and overseen, the method of Cursillo has very positive results in the spiritual re-vitalization of the Christian community. The influence of Christ on the individual is then transferred to his/her family, school, place of business, social circle, etc. The goal of the Cursillo movement is to make Christ the prime influence in one's life and in society. After the Cursillo weekend, the Cursillista (one who has made a Cursillo) is encouraged to do three things: 1) Expand his/her prayer life through an individual program of daily spiritual exercises; 2) Initiate an ongoing study program; 3) Become a more active apostle with and for Christ.