Cursillistas! Prayfully consider sponsoring someone for a Cursillo weekend. Sponsoring a candidate is an excellent way to live out the motto: Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. This is a complete description of what it means to sponsor a candidate on a Cursillo weekend. Please take some time to think and pray about the responsibilities you are agreeing to take on as a sponsor. We hope you will sponsor many people in your own 4th Day journey. We want to encourage and support you as you consider sponsoring someone to join our Cursillo community by making that most special weekend. So that you can be the best sponsor you can be for your candidate, we offer these guidelines and ask you to read them carefully and take them to prayer as you pray about and for your potential candidate.
When choosing a candidate you should keep in mind the guidelines we provide below. These guidelines are NOT designed to limit the number of people that can be selected for the Cursillo movement but they ARE designed to make certain the people who do go on the weekend will be able to fully experience and appreciate the weekend events. They have been developed so that by prayer and discernment, we can bring those people to the Lord who will be able to be true leaders when they return and be effective evangelizers (within their natural personalities) for the Lord.
Below we have guidelines for 1) choosing a candidate, 2) considering the responsibilities of a sponsor, and 3) assisting your candidate after his or her weekend. Please read all of these carefully. If you still have questions about sponsoring a candidate, please contact the Pre-Cursillo chair, Megan Horne.
1. They must be a practicing Catholic. The Cursillo movement is a movement within the Catholic church and is based on the Catholic faith. The Eucharist is at the center of the Cursillo movement so it is important that candidates be able to fully enter into the weekend by being able to share in that special Sacrament with the other candidates and team members.
2. They must be at least 21 Years old. The candidate should have a mature attitude and be responsible for their actions.
3. They must be have natural qualities of a leader in the Cursillo sense of that word. By being a leader, they will be able to more fully Christianize their environments when they return from their weekend. They should have the courage and initiative it takes to live out their faith in ways that will allow them to become an agent of change within their personal environments. When we say "leader" in reference to Cursillo, we don't mean the most extroverted or the one who has an impressive job title or position. We are talking about people who live out their values on a daily basis within their natural personalities and who naturally attract others to themselves in the way they live their lives. Remember that Cursillo exists not to have more people in small groups or larger Ultreyas, but rather to form a community that is at work transforming the world to Christ, environment by environment. We need to look for those who can help us in that transformation process.
4. They must not have any serious problems (mental, social, emotional, marital or a recent bereavement) that can be intensified by the weekend experience. This requires you know a great deal about your candidate which is the idea of "be a friend". Remember, the weekend is not a cure-all for candidates' problems. The weekend is not intended to be a problem solving weekend, either for people working through major life issues or dealing with problems they might have with the Church. While we need to minister as a friend to people in these situations as part of our own 4th Day journey, bringing someone in these circumstances to a weekend can cause even more problems, not just for them but for other team members and candidates who may be very distracted and drawn away from the message of the weekend while attempting to help them.
5. In order to allow married couples to completely share the Cursillo experience, it is very important that you try to recruit couples at the same time so they can begin growing together on the Fourth Day. If you do not feel comfortable sponsoring the couple you could have someone help you. If one spouse is sure about not wanting to go, then it is extremely important that they have enough knowledge of Cursillo to know what their mate will be up to both during and after their Cursillo weekend. If there is any chance at all of this causing a potential wedge between the couple, it would be better for neither to make the weekend.
6. Newly baptized/initiated Catholics should not make a weekend until a year after their baptism/initiation. They need to experience basic Catholic living before being immersed into Cursillo and all that it entails.
1. "Speak to God about the candidate before speaking to the candidate about God."
3. Advise your candidate of the weekend expenses. If your candidate cannot afford the cost of the weekend or cannot pay all at once, they should be encouraged to come any way. There is a $50 deposit required when the application is submitted. Applications are due on or before two weeks prior to the start of the weekend to allow for proper planning (facilities, supplies, etc.). The deposit is refundable up to one week before the start of the weekend. Contact the Pre-Cursillo coordinator, Megan Horne, if there are any questions or concerns about the weekend costs.
4. Tell your candidate that they will be informed of their acceptance no later than four weeks prior to the weekend. That letter will contain information about what they should bring, etc.
5. Tell your candidate enough about the weekend so that they will not have any anxious moments. The only "secrets" at this point are palanca and the closing. Other than that, you are encouraged to give your candidate a good idea of what they will be experiencing on the weekend so their anxiety is minimized. The best way to do that is to tell them of your experience of the weekend and let them know they will be in good hands and that they can relax. Beyond describing the weekend, let them know how Cursillo has changed your life and witness to them of your 4th Day journey. You may even choose to invite your candidate to your small group or bring them to Ultreya. This is a great way to give your candidate a "taste" of Cursillo. Bottom line: your candidate needs to hear from you what Cursillo means to you, not just your weekend experience but the beauty of living the Cursillo method in your everyday life.
6. Provide transportation for your candidate or make arrangements for them to get to and from the weekend. Be available to the candidates family for any assistance they might need while the candidate is on the weekend. The candidate needs to be reassured that you will be helping and filling in where needed for them in their absence. This is a great form of palanca.
7. Be prepared to welcome your candidate back on Sunday and to actively support them as they get started on their 4th day walk. You need to actively encourage and help them get into a small group reunion and bring them to the first few Ultreyas following their weekend. Getting them to the weekend is easy, filled with anticipation, etc. However, if we do that, then just drop them after the weekend, we have done them and the community a real disservice. It's understood that this will take some dedication on your part, but the first few weeks and months following their weekend are so critical to helping the candidate become grounded in what it means to live the 4th Day and you are a critical link to seeing that they do successfully put into practice all that they learned and experienced on their weekend. It will be your encouragement, practical experience, and your wisdom of having lived the 4th Day that will maximize the chances your candidate will "stick with it" and become an active, evangelizing member of the Cursillo community. Bottom line: be there for your candidate once the weekend's over!
8. Have questions or need additional assistance? We want to help you be the best sponsor you possibly can be so e-mail us.
Sponsorship is not about just "getting them to the weekend." Unfortunately, in the past, too many people thought sponsoring someone simply meant inviting someone to the weekend, getting them there, and then coming to the closing. And that was it; the Lord would take it from there. We all know the Lord's presence is so real and powerful on the weekend, but the Lord's work is not finished in any candidate over that three day weekend. Quite the contrary, the Lord's work is just started on the weekend.
Sponsoring someone in Cursillo involves preparation activity leading up to the weekend (Pre-cursillo), bringing and supporting the candidate on their weekend (3-Day weekend), and then being there for them upon their return from the weekend to encourage and help them get started on their 4th Day journey (Post-cursillo). If you are considering sponsoring a candidate, you need to be living the Cursillo method (i.e., grouping if at all possible and at a minimum attending your area Ultreya on a regular basis). If you are not grouping, you can find someone who is to co-sponsor the candidate with you. When your candidate comes back from the weekend, it is so very important to be there for them to help them get started in their 4th Day journey. You need to support them for the first few months and actively encourage them to come to Ultreya, get into a small group reunion and get involved in the local Cursillo community.
Through the weekend, the Cursillo presents the candidates with a focused and planned strategy for living a fully Christian life. They learn that living a life in union with Christ (through Piety, Study, and Action) is truly possible. Through the talks, summaries, prayers, and personal witness, the team and candidates live in the ultimate Christian community during the three days in preparation for the start of their 4th Day. The candidates see Christ alive, first in the team, then in the whole group assembled. They hear and see that they can live for the Lord, and that there are concrete ways that they can help build the kingdom using their own natural talents and in their own everyday lives. They learn of the true strength of the movement, the support found through continuous prayer, Palanca, and the on-going support offered by the community in the form of small group reunions and the Ultreya. There's a whole lot packed into those three short days and you are going to be the main representative of our community when your candidate comes back and wonders what to do next!
Candidates come home excited, moved, and ready to start living this new life they spent the weekend hearing about. But as moved, excited and changed as many candidates are, most come home with as many, if not more questions about what they are to do with all they learned and experienced on the weekend.
The team can give them the basics, the roadmap, the beginnings of understanding as to what Cursillo and the 4th Day journey is all about. But it's going to be you, their sponsor, who must be there when they return, to walk with them as they start that 4th Day journey that begins at their closing. It will be you who will help them "process" all that they have heard and experienced on their weekend in those critical first days and weeks. It will be you will help them take those (sometimes scary and unsure) first steps as a Cursillista as they begin to live out their Piety, Study, and Action. It will be you who will help them get into a small group reunion and get involved in their Ultreya so they will have a solid support system to help them persevere in their 4th Day.
Yes, the Lord will be the one who provides the inner change, the new or rekindled faith within your candidate, but the Lord is also counting on you to help your candidate get started on the right foot after they come back from their weekend. Never forget what you learned on your own weekend; the Lord has no other hands but yours.