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 March 2004

    Calendar of Events
March 13, 2004             Secretariat Meeting 10:00am, Sacred Heart School, Shelby
                                      Post Three Day Cursillo Weekend Reunion 1:00pm, Sacred Heart, Shelby
April 2-3, 2004              School of Leaders (quarterly reunion) – 7:30pm Fri-4pm Sat, Sacred Heart, Shelby
April 30 -May 2, 2004   Spring Regional Encounter, Garden City, KS
June 12, 2004                Secretariat Meeting 10:00am, Location TBA
June 27, 2004                Grand Ultreya Location TBA
July 29 - Aug 1, 2004    Cursillo National Encounter, Seattle, WA
August 14, 2004            Secretariat Meeting 10:00am, Location TBA
Sept 17-18, 2004          Practice Weekend, Location TBA
Sept 23-26, 2004          Men’s Weekend, Location TBA
Oct 1-3, 2004               Fall Regional Encounter, St. Paul / Minneapolis, MN
Oct 14-17, 2004           Women’s Weekend,  Location TBA

Welcome New Fourth Dayers
Sacred Heart, Shelby, February 15, 2004: Jeff Blowers, Stephen Charles, Leon Eller, Dave Hackler, Fr. Andrew Kurz, Bruce Peterson, Jeff Willis.
Sacred Heart, Shelby, February 22, 2004: Mary Ann Augustin, Laura Blowers, Verlene Frey, Deb Hackler, Rene' Laird, JoAnn Messing, Betty Tutt, Helen Zavodny.
    Welcome to the 4th Day!  What a great way to begin Lent ... a Weekend in the desert ...with Him! ... being filled with His grace, and sent out into the world to live the Gospel.  Remember Christ is counting on you, and you must count on Him!
4th Dayers over the last five years: Over the last five years, there have been 215 cursillistas who have lived their Three Days on Weekends in our Diocese.

Late Arrival of NewsletterWe opted to send the March/April Newsletter a little late, as we were waiting to receive the registration forms for the Spring Region VI Encounter to be held in Garden City, KS, April 30 – May 2, 2004.  Holding the Newsletter mailing until we could include the registration forms (March 8th) allowed us to avoid a second mailing.  You will note that the Registration form is in both English and Spanish (front/back of one of the white inserts) … also on a white insert is a map of Garden City (with directions to St. Mary Catholic Church) with the tentative agenda on the reverse side.  For more information about the Encounter, see the separate article in this newsletter …

Region VI Spring Encounter ... Will be held in Garden City, KS on April 30 - May 2, 2004.  Father Pedro Garcia (the National Spiritual Advisor for Cursillo) will be there.  In addition, five of the ten talks from Cala Figuera (given at the 2003 National Encounter) will be given in both English and Spanish.
    In 1994 during the 50th Anniversary celebration of the first Cursillo Weekend, ten topics were presented at Cala Figuera (in Mallorca).  Eduardo Bonnin, the founder of Cursillo, had been intensely studying various attributes of humanity.  These attributes / topics reflected the focus of study as the Cursillo Movement was being formed by the Holy Spirit.  From this study came the 10 topics re-presented at Cala Figuera in 1994 and also at the 2003 National Encounter in Cincinnati: (1) Person; (2) Freedom; (3) Love; (4) Friendship; (5) Conviction; (6) Sincerity; (7) Criterion; (8) Life; (9) Normality; and (10) Joy.  Five of these ten topics will be given at the Region VI Spring Encounter in Garden City.  All are encouraged to participate and learn more about the roots of Cursillo.

News From Secretariat ...

From the Lay Director ...
    God is good … all the time ... and Holy is His name!
    I’d like to welcome the new Fourth Dayers to the Cursillo Community, and challenge them … along with the rest of the Cursillo Community … to live what they learned on the Weekend … to live a life of holiness, formation and evangelization …  to be accountable (oh, how I like that word!!) to our Lord and to one another through Group Reunion and Ultreya … urging one another “Onward!!” (which is what the word “Ultreya” means).
    For one of the weekends leading up to the February Cursillo Weekends, I was looking through “A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints” (by Paul Thigpen) for a quotation to include as the “Quote for the Week” for Doane College’s Sunday bulletin.  I happened to run across the following quote from St. Thomas More:  “The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me the grace to labor for.”  I very much liked the quote and decided then and there that I would use it as the basis for my comments in this Newsletter.  It made me think of the importance of the tripod … with its three legs … holiness, formation, and evangelization … and its place in helping us to accept our Lord’s invitation to help Him build His Kingdom.
    Palanca … prayer and sacrifice … is so very important to the work that is done in Cursillo … it is the very foundation …  After all, we’re instructed to “talk to God about our friend before we talk to our friend about God.”   So I don’t want to at all diminish the great value of prayer … it is the cornerstone of my life … my direct connection to God … and I value it very highly …
    But, St. Thomas More challenges us not to stop there … he challenges us to labor for that which we pray for … to put our Palanca into action in those places our Lord put us … to “bloom where we’re planted.”  [This assumes, of course, that on-going formation is also  part and parcel of our plan for spiritual growth (our own growth, as well as that of those ‘others’ that our Lord places in our path) … putting on the mind of Christ anew … each and every day … growing in knowledge and love of our Lord …].  And I liked that … St. Thomas’ challenge … to labor for the things for which we pray …  God never lets us stay where we are … He continually asks us for our “fiat” …  And if we believe in something strongly enough to pray for it, then we should be open to the graces He gives us in order to respond when there is work to be done …
    And there IS work to be done in Cursillo … in all three of its phases … the Precursillo, the Three-Day Cursillo, and the Postcursillo …  I challenge each of you to search your hearts (not your heads) in asking our Lord where He might be calling you to help …  Included with this Newsletter is a registration form for the next School of Leaders (scheduled for April 2-3, 2004, in Shelby, NE) … take it to Him in prayer … respond as He directs you (and He may be telling you that you need to be “doing” less and “being” more … listen …).  If you have questions about School of Leaders, please call -- there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what the School of Leaders is … it’s another opportunity for ongoing conversion (it begins with a retreat phase on Friday evening, with three sessions during the day on Saturday … there is much prayer built into the schedule … and it’s a wonderful time of sharing …) … it provides an opportunity for you to help with the work of Cursillo in the Diocese … to form community …  And all of that is what Cursillo is about …  Thank You, God, for the gift of Cursillo!!
    Before closing, I’d like to share one more thing … it’s something I shared during the “Group Reunion and Ultreya” rollo on the Women’s Weekend.  In response to the question on the Group Reunion sheet, “What have I read/experienced this week to help change my mentality to be more Christian?”  I shared something that I had read a few days earlier in the February National Mailing from the National Cursillo Center.  It’s entitled, “Mother Teresa of Calcutta:  Silence and Prayer”:
    “Mother Teresa (1910-1997), the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was beatified on October 19, 2003.  She described the spiritual experience that shaped her life in this way: ‘In 1946 I was going to Darjeering, to make my retreat.  It was in that train, I heard the call to give up all and follow Jesus into the slums to serve Him among the poorest of the poor.  I knew it was His will, and that I had to follow Him.  There was no doubt that it was going to be His work.’  Here she describes the connection of prayer and silence that aided her ministry [and I suspect, the connection that then impelled her prayer into action].
   Prayer is a Dialogue:  Prayer is a two-way process: speaking and listening.  God speaks to us: we listen.  We speak to God: God listens.  God speaks in the silence of our heart, and we listen.  Then we speak to God from the fullness of our heart, and God listens.  Our words are useless unless they come from the bottom of our heart.
    “Silencing Our Hearts:  If we really want to pray, we must first learn to listen; for in the silence of the heart, God speaks.  Silence of the heart, not only of the mouth, is necessary.  Our prayer life suffers so much because our hearts aren’t silent.  The contemplatives and ascetics of all ages and religions have sought God in the silence and solitude of the desert, forest, and mountain.
    “We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness, with God, together as a community [e.g., School of Leaders]  as well as personally, to be alone with God, not with our books, thoughts, and memories but completely stripped of everything, to dwell lovingly in God’s presence – silent, empty, expectant, and motionless.
    Give Yourself Fully to God:  God will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in God’s love than in your own weakness.  Just once, let the love of God take entire and absolute possession of your heart.  Let your heart apply itself continually to increase this love of God by seeking to please God in all things.
    “These are only the first steps toward prayer, but if we never make the first step with determination, we will not reach the last one: the presence of God.
    “Mother Teresa’s Prayer:  Come Holy Spirit, guide me, protect me, clear out my mind.
    Interestingly, St. Thomas More and Mother Teresa are saying the same thing … St. Thomas More says to put prayer into action (concentrating on the action … labor for that which you pray) … Mother Teresa concentrates on the prayer … really listening … but then she, too, puts that prayer into action … “God will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in God’s love than in your own weakness.”  Two great saints … centuries apart … very different from one another … “friends” … both trying to lead us to God …  Will we follow?
    St. Paul, patron of Cursillo … pray for us!!  St. Thomas More … pray for us!!  Blessed Mother Teresa … pray for us!!
De Colores!     Kathy Springer

From the Spiritual Advisor ...
    We are journeying through the Lenten Season.  In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus said to His disciples: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” (Lk 9:22-25)
    Bishop Ken Untener in his “Little Black Book” observes that “Matthew and Mark both have Jesus speak of taking up our cross and following him.  Luke, however, adds ‘daily.’  Luke wants to stress that the day-by-day following of Jesus often involves ‘the cross.’ ... We can’t simply drift through life, because the drift of the world isn’t always in the right direction.  We have to be willing to take our ‘cross’ – which represents any suffering in our lives, but particularly those we have to endure in order to do the right thing.  Paul said, ‘I die every day.’”
    So, as we live each day of the lenten season, we must daily take up our cross and daily die to ourselves.  Our cross might be the same each day or it might be different each day ... but it is a cross, and we must carry it daily.  And we must see ourselves as followers of Jesus, who carried His cross on the way to Calvary.
    Beginning on Ash Wednesday, this Lent, the movie “The Passion of the Christ” has been showing in movie theaters across the country.  Many have seen the movie.  It is a very fine movie which provides some visual images of our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection, and does a nice job of showing the strong and intimate connection between the Last Supper and our Lord’s death on Calvary.  There are many very touching scenes in the movie.
    One scene that comes to mind, is when Jesus is given His cross to carry.  One of the thieves says to Him: “You fool, why do You embrace Your cross?”  He did it for love of us ... each of us ... individually.  Each of us might ask ourselves: “Do I embrace my cross?”  Or “Do I just reluctantly carry it ... for a time ...?”
    Another touching scene shows Simon carrying the cross with our Lord.  He was very reluctant to carry the cross at first and wanted everyone to know that he was an innocent man being forced to carry the cross for a criminal.  After some time, Jesus and Simon were carrying the cross together, ... arms crossed ... supporting each other.
    Do you remember the Apostolic Commitment Service at the conclusion of your Three Day Weekend? ... As the chain holding the crucifix was placed around your neck, you were reminded: “Christ is counting on you.”  And you responded: “And I am counting on Him.”  That must be more than just a nice phrase.  It must be about how we live our life ... our 4th day ... every day ... daily ... taking up our cross ... Christ is counting on you ... on me ... and we are counting on Him.  But we must embrace the cross, and we must embrace the passion ... the dying to ourselves, that we might live with and for Him.
    Hopefully, “The Passion” was not just a movie that we watched ... hopefully, we embrace the cross ... we enter into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus daily ... that is what it means to really live our Baptism and to really live our 4th day ... we must die daily to ourselves ... lose ourselves ... in order to find ourselves ... in the cross, beside Christ, with Christ, and through Christ.  May it be so in my life and in yours ... not just during Lent, but all our lives.

De Colores     Father Mark Seiker

(Insert #1)

Ultreya … Onward!!
[The italicized portions are from the Cursillo Movement’s Leaders’ Manual]

    “Ultreya is the members of friendship groups coming together in order to form a larger community.  The members of the Ultreya must always be willing to draw new cursillistas into that living community.

    “Whereas the Friendship Group Reunion provides for the good of the individual, the Ultreya provides for the good of the community.  Both are essential in terms of the [Cursillo] method.  Both are important for the realization of the direction of our whole life in the light of the Gospel and the opportunity to share that life with other evangelizers.  An isolated Christian is a paralyzed Christian.  So too is a group, if it is not tied to other groups.

    … “The reunion at the Ultreya is not the same as a Friendship Group Reunion.  It is the promotion of sharing amongst those in attendance by use of the reunion method.  This reunion does not suffice for a friendship group.  It serves as an elementary form of reunion in order to realize a friendship group among new cursillistas or to promote interchange between existing groups.  It is necessary for existing friendship groups to split during the Ultreya in order to aid this interchange between cursillistas of other Friendship Group Reunions.  This unifies the Movement as well as aiding the incorporation of new cursillistas into the Cursillo community.

    … “Each of us has a need for physical nourishment, so we make arrangements in our schedules and lifestyles to allow for regular meals.  The Ultreya should be seen in this light and the necessary allowance made for it in our lives.  The Ultreya should be a place for us to receive the nourishment we need for our spiritual and evangelical journey.  Keep in mind that the Ultreya is a community and community members understand the importance of ensuring that each member is properly fed.  For this reason, each participant must see (as his or her responsibility) the need to feed each participant.  So, the Ultreya is truly a place to feed and be fed.

    “The Ultreya should be kept short and simple to keep it from becoming an event in itself and from taking up the participants’ whole morning, afternoon or evening.  Those who plan the Ultreya should take into account the time pressures already on others.  For this reason it is important to choose a time, location and format for the Ultreya that does not add to these pressures.  … The Ultreya should be habitual but not mechanical; short but intense; simple, but with substance.”

    The Ultreya should generally include the following (in order):  (1) Opening prayer; (2) Ultreya Group Reunion; (3) Ultreya witness talk (see comments to follow); (4) comments about / response to the witness given (following the witness talk, there should be one-two cursillistas who will each give a 1-2 minute comment about their views of the information contained in the witness talk … this should not be an additional witness talk); (5) Spiritual Advisor’s summation (to be given by a priest, deacon or vowed religious); and (6) whenever possible, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament (it is encouraged that a crucifix be passed to each participant for audible / silent spontaneous prayer, similar to what is done on Saturday evening of the Three Day Weekend); otherwise, Closing Prayer.  “The witness talk should reveal what attempts the speaker is making to bring about a transformation of an environment in order for that environment to be more of a Christian environment.  This talk should awaken a desire amongst all the participants to renew their own efforts at evangelizing their environments.  … A witness talk is delivered as a living experience of what the speaker is or believes.  As in all Cursillo talks, a truth is presented and then a living experience from the life of the speaker is witnessed to.  … By preparing beforehand through prayer and Palanca for discernment as to what to share, the witness will be natural, sincere and personal.  Scripture should be used to relate the truth to life and to the experience itself so the community may penetrate more deeply into the Word of God.  The witness should be a personal sharing of one’s (1) growing union with Christ, (2) growing knowledge of Christ, and (3) bringing others to know Christ, or the changing of circumstances so that Christ is better known, loved and served.

    “We come to Ultreya to unite with our brothers and sisters and to share with them rather than to teach or to learn Catholic doctrine” … let us urge one another Onward … Ultreya!!

(Insert #2)

An Invitation to Ongoing Conversion

[Reprinted from the Winter 2004 FLAME (Office for Evangelization, Diocese of Lincoln) Newsletter]

We cannot limit conversion to one experience ... though conversion does have a starting point, it is ongoing ... conversion is every minute of every day ...  Is the Lord calling you to deepen your relationship with Him? ... to ongoing conversion?

Prior issues of the FLAME described what Cursillo is and how to persevere following the Three Day Weekend.  This article describes why the Three Day Weekend is an important part of ongoing conversion.

It is no mistake that St. Paul was designated by Pope Paul VI as the patron of the Cursillo Movement.  “Everyone knows that as ‘Saul’ was traveling to Damascus he was struck by a bright light and fell to his knees.  This was our Lord’s way of calling Saul (soon to become Paul) to discipleship.  He was led into Damascus, where he remained blind for three days [the Three Days of the Cursillo Weekend].  While Saul was in Damascus, God sent Ananias to Saul with these instructions:  ‘You must go!  This man is the instrument I have chosen to bring my message to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.’ (Acts 9:15)” [Italicized sections are from The Cursillo Movement’s Three Day Manual].

“According to Vatican II, each person (through [his/her] baptism with Christ) is an instrument for God’s plan of salvation.”  When Catholics come to the Cursillo Weekend, each one comes as a Saul and the Cursillo Weekend provides a structure / opportunity for ongoing conversion ... an opportunity to better understand God’s plan of salvation and your role in it.

One aspect of the Three Days is to provide an opportunity ... to experience a conversion process.  Saul underwent a conversion process.  If Saul had done nothing else, following that conversion process, then that conversion would still have been successful (just ask those Christians who were no longer persecuted by Saul).  If [you] do nothing else, following [the] Three Days, then the conversion process should still be considered successful.  However, the reason Paul became a saint is not because of what he did not do – it was because of the things that he did do.  While a conversion process is one aspect of the Three Days, [the] primary purpose is to instill in [participants] the willingness and the ability to go back to their world (their environments [... family, neighborhood, work, social, parish, etc.]) and transform those environments for Christ.

Is the Lord calling you, like Saul, to spend Three Days with Him?  Remembering that conversion is ongoing, is the Lord calling you to deepen your relationship with Him? ... to ongoing conversion? ... to live a Cursillo Weekend?

The next Cursillo Weekends are scheduled for February 12-15, 2004 (Men), and February 19-22, 2004 (Women), and September 23-26, 2004 (Men), and October 7-10, 2004 (Women).  If you want to know more about Cursillo, give our Lord three days!  Father Mark Seiker of St. Joseph (Beatrice) is the Spiritual Advisor of the Cursillo Movement in the Lincoln Diocese and Kathy Springer is the Lay Director.  If you would like to know more about Cursillo, please contact Kathy at (402) 826-2699.

(Insert #3)

                                                      Registration Form

                                     School of Leaders
                                    Quarterly Reunion
                                       April 2-3, 2004
                                        220 S Walnut
                        Sacred Heart School - Shelby, NE

                 If you cannot be with us, we request Palanca for the success of the School.




Phone:                                         Email:

Where and when did you make your Cursillo?

Are you able to receive the Sacraments of Confession & Holy Communion?    Yes     No

To which Organizations do you commit your time?

Are you living the follow-up program of Group Reunion?    Yes     No

Are you living the follow-up program of Ultreya?    Yes     No

Do you have any physical/medical/dietary conditions to be considered?

Please Return this Form WITH PAYMENT To:
John Springer, 1410 E 15th St, Crete, NE 68333  NO LATER THAN MAR. 31, 2004.

You are invited to the Quarterly Reunion of the School of Leaders.  Come participate in the work of Cursillo ... build
community with other cursillistas ... spend time in prayer and meditation with the Blessed Sacrament.  The School is for all
cursillistas ... men and women, couples, singles, priests and religious.

FRIDAY, APRIL 2ND (Retreat Phase)
        7:30pm ---      Registration (NO Meal Friday evening)
        7:45pm ---      Mass
        8:30pm ---      Meditation, confessions, quiet time

SATURDAY, APRIL 3RD (School of Leaders Agenda)
        7:00am ---      Morning prayer and Mass, followed by breakfast
        8:30am - 4pm Group Reunion, Intro, 1st Session, Lunch, 2nd Session, 3rd Session
        4:00pm ---     Clean up and Depart (Supper not provided)

Please bring the following with you to the weekend:
    • Pilgrim’s Guide
    • If you have the following:
        • Leader’s Manual (please begin praying the Leader’s Prayer on page 57)
        • Lincoln Diocese Pastoral Plan for Cursillo (extra copies will be available)
        • The Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement
        • His Way

• “Classic” Cursillo accommodations will be available.
• Advance registrations are requested; it is fine to attend Saturday only or Friday only
• Suggested donation (if you are able) for the weekend is $15.00 per person.  Please make check payable to “Cursillo
of Lincoln” and mail with the Registration Form.
• Please keep this half of the flyer for future reference.
• Please bring a snack to share, if you like.

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