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 January 2003

    Calendar of Events
Jan.  4, 2003              Secretariat Meeting 12:00pm (Noon), St. Joseph School, Beatrice
Jan. 9-12, 2003          Men’s Weekend, St. Joseph School, Beatrice
Jan. 12, 2003             Closing Men’s Weekend 5:00pm, at St. Joseph Church, 612 High St, Beatrice
Jan. 16-19, 2003        Women’s Weekend, St. Joseph School, Beatrice
Jan. 19, 2003             Closing Women’s Weekend 5:00pm,St. Joseph Church, 612 High St, Beatrice
Feb. 5, 2003               School of Leaders – 7:00pm , Good Counsel Retreat House, Waverly
Feb. 11, 2003             School of Leaders – 7:00pm, Catholic Social Services  515 W 3rd St., Hastings
April 25-27, 2003       Cursillo Regional Meeting, Wichita, KS
July 17-20, 2003        Cursillo National Encounter, Xavier Univ., Cincinnati, OH (see registration form enclosed)

Meeting with Bishop Bruskewitz
    On November 22, 2002, we met with Bishop Bruskewitz to discuss the Cursillo Movement in the Lincoln Diocese.  Bishop Bruskewitz is not a cursillista, but has a good understanding of the Movement and expressed more than once his desire to extend to all of you his greetings/blessings/prayers.
    One area of Cursillo with which the Bishop is fairly familiar is Palanca.  In his early years in the Diocese, it was not uncommon for Bishop Bruskewitz to contact the Cursillo community and ask for Palanca for retreats and other activities with which he was involved … the power of prayer … For some time now, we have discussed the inclusion of intentions specific to our Diocese as part of the bi-monthly Region VI (the region in which the Lincoln Diocese is located) Palanca calendar; we have been including the calendar as an insert in each Cursillo newsletter.  In keeping with the Bishop’s comments, we have now added diocesan intentions (in italics below the Region intentions) to the Jan / Feb 2003 Palanca Calendar included with this newsletter.  Please add these intentions to your daily Palanca offering.  It is good to join with one another in prayer (Mt 18:19-20).  We all have the same goals … let us work together … let us pray for one another …
    The Bishop also expressed an interest in bringing Spanish Cursillo to the Lincoln Diocese.  Earlier this Spring (prior to meeting with the Bishop), this was one of the topics brought up for discussion at Secretariat; it was later discussed in School of Leaders.  At that time, since we were working to re-introduce the School of Leaders to the Diocese, the School was our primary focus.  We had planned to add Spanish Cursillo as a recommendation (with a longer term target date) in our diocesan pastoral plan during this year’s annual revision of the plan; we had planned to focus more attention on Spanish Cursillo once the School of Leaders was in place and properly functioning.  To that end, we have made progress toward establishing the School of Leaders and will begin discussions regarding Spanish Cursillo.  The Bishop noted that we have many retreat opportunities for English-speaking Catholics in the Diocese, but few available for Spanish-speaking Catholics; since Cursillo originated in Spain and first came to this country in Spanish, Cursillo seems to be a natural vehicle to help members of the Hispanic community deepen their relationship with our Lord and learn more about the Catholic faith.  You will be hearing more about this in the future.
    In addition, we discussed ways of identifying persons in targeted environments to invite to make a Cursillo Weekend.  In particular, Bishop Bruskewitz suggested that we take advantage of natural groupings of individuals (e.g., the lawyers’ guild, the physicians’ guild, the LDCCW, the Knights of Columbus, the Newman Center, etc.) for purposes of trying to leaven those environments through Cursillo.  This discussion relates to Precursillo activity and the School of Leaders/Secretariat is in the process of discussing changes to the diocesan pastoral plan to incorporate the Bishop’s suggestions.
    Another topic of discussion related to coordination/communication within the Diocese regarding various activities/events occurring simultaneously.  Fr. Seiker suggested that there be wider access to (and update of) the Calendar Of Diocesan Events Schedule (C.O.D.E.S) through the diocesan web page, so that leaders in various diocesan organizations/movements might better plan when to schedule activities so there are as few conflicts as possible.  We are all working toward the same end (i.e., building His kingdom), so to the extent that we can use informed scheduling to avoid making people choose between two good opportunities for spiritual growth, then the Diocese will benefit.
    Bishop Bruskewitz spoke at some length about the importance of continued formation.  There are various avenues available to the Fourth Day community to achieve such a purpose.  One obvious means of continued formation is participation in the School of Leaders.  Some of those participating have indicated they are pleasantly surprised by the growth they are experiencing in their personal formation as they learn more about Cursillo.  They have come to a deeper understanding of how Cursillo can be used to enrich their personal formation as well as equip them to better evangelize those environments to which our Lord has called them.  Other formation opportunities within Cursillo include Group Reunion, Ultreyas, and Grand Ultreyas (see also the Postcursillo Pondering insert in this newsletter written by Joan Junkin).  In addition, our Diocese is blessed to have available silent retreats held throughout the year at Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House (on a variety of topics), Marriage Encounter, SINE (Systematic Integrated New Evangelization) retreats at the parish level, Legion of Mary, diocesan-wide conferences [e.g., the annual pro-life conference in October and/or the diocesan evangelization conference held annually in January or February (Sat., Feb. 15, 2003; featured speaker Patrick Madrid; watch the Southern Nebraska Register for details)], and various other formation opportunities available on a regular basis.  The opportunities are there … you have to provide the “yes” … (Rev. 3:20).
    Related to our meeting with Bishop Bruskewitz, at the Priests’ Study Day on November 26, 2002, the Bishop spoke briefly about Cursillo in the Diocese and encouraged our priests to pick up the information materials provided and to learn more about Cursillo.  It was another opportunity (in addition to the letter sent to all priests in the Diocese in July 2002) to educate the priests in the Diocese about the Cursillo Movement.
    We would like to take this opportunity to thank Bishop Bruskewitz for his time and kind words regarding Cursillo, as well as for his recommendations and encouragement to the Movement.  We look forward to meeting with him on an annual basis (if his schedule allows) to seek his guidance and assistance in helping the Cursillo Movement in the Lincoln Diocese better assist the Diocese in its evangelization efforts.  Please pray for Bishop Bruskewitz as he leads us to our Lord … we thank You, God, for the gift of Bishop Bruskewitz to our Diocese.

Father Mark Seiker and Kathy Springer

• Palanca Letters ... Personal Palanca letters from the sponsor and/or a relative should be clearly marked on the back side of the envelope in the lower right hand corner.  All personal and general Palanca letters (including posters) should be mailed to Kathy Springer, 1410 E 15th St, Crete, NE 68333 in time to arrive by the Wednesday prior to each Weekend (Jan 8 for the Men’s; Jan 15 for the Women’s); or you may mail them to St. Joseph Church, 612 High St. Beatrice, NE 68310, so they will arrive prior to the beginning of the Weekend.
• Time of Closing ... 5:00pm  Fourth Dayers are encouraged to begin gathering in the Church at 4:30pm to allow time to pray, plan for the serenade (which will be in the Church as the candidates enter for the closing), etc, prior to the arrival of the candidates at 5:00pm.
• Pizza following the Closing ... After the closing, the team will make a final chapel visit, while the candidates and Fourth Day community gather for pizza and fellowship.  A $5.00 donation will be requested as in the past.

Three Day Teams – St. Joseph, Beatrice
• Talk Team for Men's Weekend -- Tom Schik (Coordinator), Bob Codr, Jon Junkin, Stan O’Brien, Ron Sladky, Bobbie Joe Spangler, John Springer, Fr. Tom Lux, Fr. Matt Vandewalle.

• Talk Team for Women's Weekend -- Chris Meysenburg (Coordinator), Joan Junkin, Cheryl Prothman, Mary Lou Salazar, Melissa Scaturro, Joan Scdoris, Roddy Spangler, Sandy Spangler, Fr. Mark Seiker, Fr. Tom Dunavan, Fr. Ron Homes.

PRAYER/ADORATION HOURS for the Beatrice Weekends (listed by Ultreya Centers)
Thursday, 7:00pm - Midnight             Hastings
Friday, Midnight - 5:00am                 David City
Friday, 5:00am - 10:00am                 Lincoln
Friday, 10:00am - 3:00pm                 McCook
Friday, 3:00pm - 8:00pm                   Plattsmouth/Offutt
Friday, 8:00pm - Saturday, 1:00am   Wahoo
Saturday, 1:00am - 6:00am                Hastings
Saturday, 6:00am - 11:00am              David City
Saturday, 11:00am - 4:00pm             Lincoln
Saturday, 4:00pm - 9:00pm               McCook
Sat., 9:00pm - Sun., 2:00am              Plattsmouth/Offutt
Sunday, 2:00am - 7:00am                 Wahoo
Sunday, 7:00am - 5:00pm                 Beatrice/Crete

From the Spiritual Advisor
    As you receive this newsletter, we are celebrating the Christmas Season.  The Word of God who has existed for all time has taken on our flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary!  The mystery of the Incarnation, or God becoming man, is such an awesome event that we can reflect on it for a long time.  The Church provides us the octave of Christmas (until Jan. 1), and the twelve days of Christmas (until the Epiphany), and the entire Christmas Season (until the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 12), so that we might spend some time reflecting on the mystery of the Incarnation.  It is the mystery of the love of God made visible in the person of Jesus Christ.
    We have prepared ourselves to ponder this mystery during the four weeks of Advent and now we must ponder the mystery of the Incarnation all throughout the Christmas Season.  The world would want us to celebrate Christmas all throughout November and December and be done with Christmas on December 26th!  We must allow the Lord to form and shape us through the Church and the seasons of the Church year.
    Each year we celebrate Advent and Christmas and the other seasons of the Church year.  Yet, each year (even each day) we are different persons because of our experiences and our choices, but mostly because of God’s grace received and accepted by us, or rejected and refused by us.  As Catholics and as Cursillistas, our lives must include Holiness, Formation, and Evangelization.  In a particular way, I want to reflect on how we can be formed in the image and likeness of Christ.  That is our task ... to be so filled with the grace of God through the Sacraments and the Church, that when others see us they see Christ!  That means that we grow in holiness (we become more and more like Christ), we are formed in His image (our thoughts, words, and actions become more and more the thoughts, words, and actions of Christ, and less our own, or the world’s.), and we are concerned about evangelization (proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, His “Good News”, and not the messages of the world).
    Bishop Timothy Dolan, in his book Priests for the Third Millennium, relates the following story:

    The story is told of the Beloved Disciple, very advanced in years, near the end of his life in exile on the Isle of Patmos.  There he lived in solitude in a cave surrounded by a few chosen disciples.  Because he was the last of the Twelve, every Sunday hundreds of Christians would come to Patmos for the Eucharist and to see St. John.  Sunday after Sunday the disciples would carry the frail apostle down to the crowd. When the time came for him to preach, the crowd would come closer, since his voice was barely above a whisper.  Sunday after Sunday he would say the same thing: “Children, love one another!  Children, love one another!”
    Finally, after one such Sunday, one of his disciples, carrying him back to his cave, said, “Teacher, why do you keep repeating the same thing, over and over, ‘Children, love one another’?”
    “Because,” replied the Beloved, “the Master kept repeating it over and over.”

    If the Lord needed to repeat to the Apostles and the disciples over and over “Children, love one another”, throughout the three years He spent with them and the 40 days that he appeared to them after the Resurrection, then it should not surprise us that we need to be reminded over and over of the great mysteries of our faith.  We need to be formed in the image and likeness of Christ whose incarnation and birth we have just celebrated.
    So, I encourage you to focus on your formation.  How are you being formed in the image and likeness of Christ?  Give of your time to Christ and come to the School of Leaders.  It is important that we not think that we have heard or learned all there is to know about Cursillo, anymore than we can say as the disciple of John did: “why do you keep repeating the same thing, over and over, ‘Children, love one another’?”  That which we know and the growth that we have experienced is good.  However, one of the saints (I think it was St. Augustine), said: “The good is the enemy of the best, if it keep you from attaining the best!”  If we are content with being just as holy as we are, with the level of formation that we have attained, or the degree of evangelization that we practice, then we will not be able to grow ... and we will stagnate.  “Heavenly Father, form in us the likeness of Your Son, and deepen His life within us.  Send us as witnesses of Gospel joy into a world of fragile peace and broken promises.  Touch the hearts of all with your love that they in turn may love one another.  Amen.”
    Christ put on our flesh, and He wants us to put on Him ... His mind, His holiness, His formation, His evangelization ... He is counting on us!

De Colores         Father Mark Seiker

From the Lay Director
    In this new year, may our Lord bless you and keep you … may His Face shine upon you … may you be a true reflection of Him and the love He has for you …
    As I prepared to once again celebrate our Lord’s coming to us in the Incarnation, there was a strong sense of God’s predestining love and His Will for me in that which I prayed.  In a meditation from the Advent Companion to the Magnificat, Fr. Romanus Cessario speaks of God’s predestining love (he is speaking of Mary): “Our consolation derives from the knowledge that one of our race can sustain the ineffable holiness of God and still live out a human vocation.  We are left with her ‘fiat,’ her complete ‘yes’ to the will of God.  Although the saints still urge us to imitate this ‘fiat,’ ordinary folk, especially honest persons, may find this challenge daunting.  How, one may ask, can I achieve the totality of Mary’s response?  The answer ultimately lies hidden in God’s predestining love.  But there is also this to consider.  We are not left alone to meet the challenge.  For God has given the Mother of His Son to us as our spiritual Mother.  Sound devotion to Mary ensures living out successfully the Christian vocation.  There is a sense in which the soul is always being born anew in Mary, for the praise of God’s glory.”  Mary, Gate of Heaven, pray for me … help me to be a clear reflection of His love … may I follow your example of obedience and humility …  Mary, Star of Evangelization, pray for us!
    In another meditation from the Companion, Msgr. James Turro speaks of how dearly he loves to be in full control of his life situation ... to be in those places he wants to be, to do tasks because he wants to do them, to be in the company of persons he chooses to be with …  I would hazard a guess that this is a pretty wide-spread desire …  His meditation continues: “And now to wreck that idyll, I come upon those unsettling words of Mary: ‘Be it done unto me according to Thy word.’  Total surrender: it’s to be not what she wants but what He wills.  I might have known.  She is anticipating what her own Son would one day declare: ‘I did not come of My own will’ (Jn 8:42).  A complete sellout to God.  Yet, hard as it may seem, how could I go wrong following in these footsteps – yielding completely to God.  It is not as if, committing myself to God’s will, I would be putting myself at risk.  God’s wisdom and goodness would never permit that.  Nor is it as if honoring God’s will is tantamount to condemning myself to a life of boredom.  What can be more exciting than God and the things of God?  To do God’s will, far from disrupting one’s life and hopes, guarantees one’s peace of mind.  Dante was speaking with deadly accuracy when he said: ‘In His will is our peace.’”  The prayer for that day’s meditation is: “Most merciful Father, free me from all selfishness and fill me with the desire to do Your will.”
    During my Advent preparation, these two meditations spoke very directly to me.  From my early childhood, I have been very strong-willed … I can’t count the number of times my Dad called me ‘insubordinate’.  I’ve spent my lifetime thus far working on that (and so has God) … I suspect the work will continue until I draw my last breath.  When I die and stand before our Lord, I don’t want to hear Him speak of my insubordination … I want Him to call me a ‘good and faithful servant’ … but I don’t just want Him to speak the words … I want to know in my heart that I WAS a good and faithful servant.
    In my spiritual journey, I continue to work on obedience.  Currently, I am trying very hard to always obey posted speed limits.  To help me, I’ve talked to my children about this … and they never hesitate to tell me when I’m “sinning” … breaking the fourth commandment.  This may sound trivial, but it’s not … how can I expect to be obedient in big things if I cannot be obedient in small things?  It doesn’t matter if I think the posted speed limit is set too low … it is the law … I can choose to obey it or not … but in choosing not to obey it, I know that I am choosing to be insubordinate.  Obedience spills over into all aspects of my life … I want to teach my children obedience … I want to be obedient in ALL things … I want to be a good and faithful servant … so, just as Msgr. Turro prayed, I too, pray that I can let go of all selfishness … let go of that which will keep me mired in insubordination … so that there is room in my heart/mind/soul for Him to fill me with the desire to do His will.  And I ask our Blessed Mother to keep reminding me that “yes” is possible … to keep pointing me to her Son …  Thank You, Jesus, for coming to us in humility and meekness … help me to imitate You, that I might always remain close to Your Sacred Heart …
    May all of you have a blessed and joyous new year … let us pray for one another, that we might join Mary in her “yes” to our Lord … let us pray for the teams and candidates for the January Weekends … let us pray for Cursillo’s fruitfulness in our Diocese … let us pray that His Kingdom come in the here and now …

De Colores!!       Kathy Springer, Lay Director

Pondering Postcursillo: The Big Picture

As your new Postcursillo Coordinator, elected last June, I have spent the last 6 months focusing on the big picture in Cursillo. In the past, I have pretty much focused on the Three Day Weekend, even using the term Cursillo synonymously with Three Day Weekend. Yes, I have been in a friendship group for 10 years and that is the primary reason (they are for me a conduit of God’s grace) that I am becoming more involved in the Cursillo Movement as a Cursillo Leader. However, I really haven’t gotten the big picture until I joined School of Leaders and began studying the movement. I plan to share with you some ponderings about various aspects of Postcursillo during this time of growth. I hope you find it helpful.

Friendship Group
If you are not currently in a friendship group, I really encourage you to call your Ultreya Representatives and ask when groups are meeting so you can join. There is no doubt you are already very busy - the way I know this is because you were chosen to attend the Three Day Weekend, and sponsors are instructed to choose leaders - Christian leaders - so I know that you have a busy schedule. However, please take a moment to seriously think about your ideal. Remember on the weekend we were asked to discover our real ideal by thinking about where we spend our time, talent and treasure?  For those of you who have families - that must be a priority. For those of you who have jobs outside the home, that is also a priority. Then there is Christ - Christ must be our first love, our ideal is to be with Him and bring others to Him - so, how much of our time, talent and treasure is spent on that ideal?

Most of you are in a friendship group if you are actually reading this newsletter. For me, it is a lifeline. It is like the red phone, a direct connection to God’s grace. The women I group with are holy women of God. We are not perfect by any means, we are all working to become saints. For years I have been content for the most part to stay in the comfort of that group. The group has been involved in apostolic actions over the years, and I have participated in that. However, as I tend to be an introvert, I really had a hard time saying yes when asked to move to the next level of being a Cursillo leader. How could I possibly stand in front of a group and talk about my spirituality? I felt a bit like Moses, I imagine. He didn’t feel worthy of his task and told God so. But, through grace he was able to accomplish big things. All I want to do is attract others to Christ by my life. My friendship group, along with the Sacraments, help keep me on track to continuously becoming who I need to be to do that.

Ultreya is the friendship group of friendship groups. This is where we inspire each other, feed each other, so we can continue the journey together. For some it is not as comfortable as the small friendship group. It takes some of us out of our comfort zones - so that means we need to pray and receive grace in order to be able to attend Ultreya. Once I am there I absolutely love it, but it is hard for me to get there. I wonder if Christ had that feeling on the way to Calvary. Wow - when I think of it that way, getting myself to Ultreya isn’t nearly as hard as that - no comparison really. And yet, on a totally different level, there is a comparison. We sometimes have to get out of our comfort zone in order to fulfill our mission of bringing others to Christ. We learned in Cursillo that we need to reach out, past our friendship groups. Ultreya is the next place to reach out, even if it hurts a little. There is someone there that needs to see how your light shone the past month as we do our small group sharing. Maybe they need to hear your witness, or maybe just to see your response to their witness. Of course we all grow from attending Ultreyas, but the main focus needs to be on what WE are doing for OTHERS by participating. It’s all about community - building and sustaining community! I challenge each of you to attend your next Ultreya in your area. I invite you to come to a neighboring Ultreya. I will come to your Ultreya if you invite me, if you want a witness about Postcursillo. I say that not because I am bored in life and can’t think of anything else to do, but because my primary apostolate (way of bringing others to Christ) is Cursillo. Invite me, invite others from neighboring Ultreya Centers. We all need each other.

Grand Ultreya
Once a year we have an Ultreya of Ultreyas. A meeting of Cursillistas from the entire diocese. Those of you who have been able to attend know that this is getting closer and closer to what heaven will be. Imagine, everyone there has Christ as the center of their lives. Everyone there is on the same boat with the sail being grace leading us to heaven. Watch for the next one in the Spring!

Regional Meetings
Reaching out even further than your local or neighboring Ultreya Centers means attending a Regional Meeting. I attended my first this Fall. It was awesome. It was so interesting to hear what other diocesan Cursillo groups were struggling with and to celebrate their successes. It was great praying and learning with people of like ideals. I would encourage you to consider the April Regional Meeting in Wichita, Kansas. As you are considering, remember, you need to attend to your family and job responsibilities too. For some of you, that means saying NO at this time to reaching out this far in Cursillo. There will come a time when you have time to do that without neglecting other responsibilities.

National and International Meetings
I have yet to attend one of these, but have every intention of doing so when the time is right. Wow - what a perspective of the Big Picture this must give! Every single Cursillo area (not divided by diocese in other countries) is gathered to help each other stay on the same page, in the Good Book of course, but also in the Cursillo method. It is information and understanding from some of these meetings that has led to some of the changes we have recently begun in the Lincoln Diocese.

Postcursillo experiences for Cursillo Leaders
Each one of us is asked to be a Christian leader by virtue of our baptism. The Cursillo method helps us to do that more effectively. Some of us are called further to accept Cursillo as our primary apostolate - our primary way of attracting others to Christ. Others choose other methods such as Marriage Encounter or SINE, or have apostolates such as a music career that brings others to Christ (e.g., John Michael Talbot), or may choose missionary work. For those of us who have chosen Cursillo as our primary apostolate, there are areas for us to be involved in to grow in the method.  One is the School of leaders. I like the way the Leader’s Manual describes it as using the word school more in the sense that we do for a school of fish. It is not there just for learning - it is there to build community. Imagine that, a Cursillo method that is based on community. Well - I’m really getting the big picture now - whether it’s the Three Day Weekend experience or any of the Precursillo or Postcursillo experiences, they are all meant to build community. Christ did not go it alone, and He never intended any of us to either. Community is not meant only for monks or nuns - it is meant for all of us. So, when Cursillo leaders get together, it is first to build community for Christ. We also learn as we go - remember formation, yes it’s still a part of the picture too.  For any of you who are interested in being a Cursillo leader, please come and join our community. For convenience, it is held at two locations monthly because of our wide geographical region.

The Big Picture
SO, I hope you’ve gotten a glimpse of what I have learned about the various areas of Postcursillo. In future issues, we will focus more closely on each of the areas discussed. If you have a question about any of these issues - friendship groups, Ultreyas, Grand Ultreyas, Regional / National / International Meetings or School of Leaders, please feel free to contact me - or (402) 489-2115 or drop me a note at 7820 Sandalwood Dr., Lincoln, NE  68510. I will address your issue directly and then try to include the topic (anonymously) in a future Postcursillo Pondering.

Christ’s truly,  Joan Junkin, your Postcursillo Coodinator

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