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 July 2002

    Calendar of Events
July 11-14, 2002              12th National Encounter, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY
July 26-27, 2002              School of Leaders Practicum Retreat at St. Joseph, York, NE
Aug. 4, 2002  1:00pm      Secretariat Meeting at St. Joseph Church, York, NE
Sept. 12-15, 2002            Men’s Weekend St. Michael School, Hastings, NE
Sept. 15, 2002                 Closing for Men’s Weekend 6:00pm at St. Michael Church.
Sept. 19-22, 2002            Women’s Weekend St. Michael School, Hastings, NE
Sept. 22, 2002                 Closing for Women’s Weekend 6:00pm at St. Michael Church.
Oct. 4-6, 2002                 Cursillo Regional Meeting at St. Mary School, David City, NE

    New Officers ... At the June 23 Secretariat meeting, the following Cursillistas were elected to offices: Kathy Springer (Lay Director, 3 year term); John Springer (Chair, School of Leaders, 3 year term); Tom Schik (Chair, Precursillo, 2 year initial term; 3 year hereafter); Ron Sladky (Chair, Three Day Weekend, 3 year term); Joan Junkin (Chair, Postcursillo, 2 year initial term; 3 year hereafter); Bob Rice (Treasurer, 2 year initial term; 3 year hereafter); and Chris Meysenburg (Secretary, 2 year initial term; 3 year hereafter).  Thank you to those who have completed their service to the Secretariat this year: Felix Aldana, Terry Little, Joan Scdoris, and Tom Scdoris.
    Ultreya Center Representatives ... are usually selected by each Ultreya Center.  The Representatives report to the Secretariat about  activities in the Ultreya Center and bring information from the Secretariat back to the Ultreya Center.  Representatives of the Ultreya Centers, unless otherwise elected to the Secretariat, are not voting members of the Secretariat.  To say it another way, the position of representative is different than a Secretariat office.  Every Cursillista holding a Secretariat office represents his/her Ultreya Center (by virtue of membership in the Ultreya Center), but not every representative is a voting member of the Secretariat.
    Among other things, the Ultreya Center Representative should encourage prayer by name for people identified as potential candidates for that Center; keep a current listing of existing Group Reunions to assist anyone not currently in a group in finding a group; invite neighboring Ultreya Centers to participate in the local Ultreyas; and encourage all fourth dayers to continue to re-invite Cursillistas who are not active in Group Reunions and/or Ultreyas to attend (possibly develop a system of invitation).
    Certificate of Appreciation ... The Cursillo Movement of the Lincoln Diocese will receive a Certificate of Appreciation in thanksgiving for our support of the Ultreya Magazine, through the New Cursillista Promotion Program.

Region VI Meeting ... The Fall Region VI meeting is Oct. 4-6, 2002, at St. Mary School, David City, NEPlease note the location change!  We will need volunteers to help with set up, meal preparation and serving, and clean up.  We encourage you to attend the Regional meeting -- it won’t get any closer than this!  This is one way to deepen your knowledge of the Cursillo Movement and meet Cursillistas from around the Region at the same time.  What a deal!

School of Leaders Update ... PLEASE READ the insert in this newsletter explaining School of Leaders.  At the School of Leaders Formation Retreat on June 14-15, in Hastings, the majority of persons attending said that their understanding of School of Leaders at the end of the Retreat was entirely different from their understanding when they first arrived.  Please join us as we continue work in reforming the School in our Diocese.  We are planning a School of Leaders Practicum on July 26-27, 2002, at St. Joseph School, York.

Palanca and Palanca Letters ... beginning with the September weekends, Palanca letters to individual candidates will be sent home in a packet with the weekend picture and roster.  Thus, when you write your individual Palanca letters, please remember the candidates will be reading your letter  after the completion of the weekend when they return home, i.e., during their 4th day.  In the past, these letters were delivered to the candidates at the tables to be read prior to the Holiness talk.  Now, the only individual Palanca letters that will be given to the candidates during the weekend will be from a sponsor or a relative.  This is the procedure provided in the Leaders’ Manual (Chapter 12, Palanca).  Not reading the letters during the weekend makes sense because candidates have sometimes missed the Holiness talk entirely because they were so distracted by their  emotional responses to the letters.  In addition, it will be nice for the candidates to have those letters to read as they begin their 4th day.
    Chapter 12 of the Leaders’ Manual puts Palanca and Palanca letters into perspective:
    “It must be understood that letters are not Palanca.  Letters are merely a vehicle in which we convey the actual Palanca being done.  Keeping this in mind, we must realize that Palanca can be done for a particular purpose without having to write a letter about it.  For instance, Palanca can be done for the efforts of cursillistas in trying to utilize the Cursillo method.  All of us need Palanca of this type, but it would be impractical to write letters to thousands of cursillistas.
    “Self-denial is part and parcel of the Christian life.  Any de-emphasis of it in the Movement would indicate a shift away from Christ-centeredness.  In the life of the Church, we are offered seasons such as Lent and Advent to bring us back to the proper spirit.  A better way would be to live in a spirit of Palanca each day.
    “Palanca offerings should not be limited to the three days.  The selection of candidates, the study of environments, the growth of Group Reunions, Ultreyas and especially the work of Secretariats and the School of Leaders depend mostly on authentic and generous Palanca offered by all, particularly the leaders.  Each one should offer something; each one should offer themselves.  St. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:1, ‘Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.’  This is the true worship we should each offer.
    “In the ‘Obstacles to Grace’ talk, we are reminded that the means of mortification are varied.  To obey the Gospel; to fulfill the duties of one’s state in life; to accept adversities as coming from the hand of God; to develop self-control – these are some of the means of self-sacrifice.  To love where there is no love returned; to be patient where there is impatience and misunderstanding; to go through the order of reunion faithfully even when there is no group – these are ‘little ways’ of Palanca.
    ...  “‘The three days are supernaturally backed by persons and communities who pray and make sacrifices for their brothers and sisters, that these might be open to truth and grace.  The spiritual presence of these praying communities should be communicated to the cursillistas, but without over-dramatization (emphasized in Leaders’ Manual).  On the contrary, it should be made apparent that it is normal for Christians to pray and sacrifice for others.  Though not knowing them personally, these Christians know from experience the effect of their attitude on the conversion process.  Such communities are a witness to the possibility and transcendence of being Christian in any part of the world, and to the fact that God continues making Himself present in the world through groups of persons who live the Gospel and give themselves for the Christianization of the world.  Palanca shows the ecclesial community as a community conscious of the salvation of the group making the Weekend, a community that feels committed to this group.  They are a reflection of Christ, the Savior in the community.’ (The Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement)
    “The emphasis should be on general Palanca with the outside community offering prayer and sacrifice for the community that is being formed on the three days.  Personal Palanca letters should be limited to a relative or sponsor.
    “Palanca is made in a sacrificial manner for those who are to be converted or better converted to Christ and His Church.  On the three days only the spiritual offerings of the Cursillo community ought to be considered as proper Palanca.  Any practices which do not fit this description should be excluded.”
    Sending the individual Palanca letters home with the candidates better allows the grace of the Holy Spirit to work in bringing about their conversion.  Also, the spiritual encouragement from reading the letters following the weekend should not be minimized.  All general Palanca letters (to the team and candidates), will be displayed during the weekend, thus they are highly encouraged.

New Portable Shower ... at the School of Leaders Formation Retreat, we tried out a new portable shower.  It was wet!  It worked well.  We got clean.  It was easy to install, and easy to dismantle.  Now, we will make another just like it, so more people can get wet and clean in less time.  That way we can have more clean fun!  Seriously, this will make it possible to schedule weekends at locations without shower facilities.

Changes in the 3rd Day and the Closing ...
    The topic of the Spring Region VI Meeting in Faribault MN, was the Three Day Weekend.  The talks emphasized the importance of returning the 3-Days to the original format envisioned by the founders of the Movement.  The quote in the following paragraphs from “The Cursillo Movement’s 3-Day Manual” (p. 8) should provide some background to help you better understand the changes we need to make in our Weekend Schedule:
    “The participants on the Weekend require isolation in order to build a united Christian community in only three days.  Since the atmosphere must be reflective, prayerful and sincere, everything that is a distraction must be avoided, particularly any contact between the outside community and the Weekend itself.  Participants should be left at the door.  Mingling between other cursillistas and the Weekend’s participants is to be avoided since it interferes with the personal contact work by the Spiritual Director and team, work which began prior to the Weekend.
    “This concept is not something new to Christianity.  ‘They had to take him [Saul] by the hand and lead him into Damascus.  For three days he continued blind.’  (Acts 9:8-9) In order for Saul to begin his conversion process, he was led to a place where he could not see his surroundings for 3 days; the outside community should allow the candidates to enter into this same type of conversion process.
    “St. Paul became a saint because of what he did after his conversion process.  He was only able to evangelize because of what he experienced during his conversion process.  We must allow the candidates this same opportunity.
    “The greatest contribution the outside community can make to the Weekend is to offer Palanca for it and attend the closing, the initial point of contact between the outside community and the new one.  Any contact between individuals who are not part of the team and the participants is to be avoided except during the closing.  Secretariats should not provide opportunities for cursillistas to drop in and out of the Weekend, no matter what the excuse.  If kitchen help is needed, it should be kept to a small group who should have minimum contact with the Weekend participants.  Allowing people to come in and out to offer Palanca should be avoided.  The same holds true for other practices such as ‘serenades’ or ‘mananitas.’  If these must be done, and we advise against them, let them be done at the closing, which is the point of contact between the outside community and the ‘new’ cursillistas.”

    Thus, the Fourth Day community will notice the following changes at the closing:

• There will be NO 4th Day community Mass prior to the closing.  It is a general principle that we do not leave a worshiping community (i.e., your parish) to form a worshiping community (i.e., the Cursillo 4th day community).  “The Cursillo Movement is a movement of the Catholic Church and should never allow any activity to ‘compete’ with the structures of the Catholic Church; in other words, we must ensure that we do not begin to become our own church.” (Leaders’ Manual, p.156-57.)

• There will be NO Serenade in the conference room by the 4th Day community prior to the Closing.  (If we serenade the candidates, it should be done as they come in to the Church for the closing.)

Thus, the 4th Day community should gather in the Church by 6:00pm.

• There will be NO 4th Day community meal following the closing.  The candidates will have had a light dinner/snack about 4:30 as they are completing their summaries of the day and the weekend.  Sponsors are encouraged to take their candidates out to dinner at the conclusion of the weekend.

• A final weekend reunion and chapel visit for the team and candidates follows the closing.

• The candidates will not pack up their belongings until after the chapel visit.

• The closing is for the candidates, not the 4th dayers: however, it is very important to have a large group of 4th dayers at the closing to pray for and welcome the new cursillistas ...Let God’s grace do the work!

• A group of local cursillistas (and other 4th day volunteers) will help to load the mattresses and the tubs (which will already be organized and packed) into the trailer and clean up the rooms in the school.

School of Leaders Insert
                                                                                                                                        June 23, 2002
De Colores!

We are writing at the suggestion of those who participated in the School of Leaders Formation Retreat that was held in Hastings on June 14-15.  The overall consensus was that the Cursillo community in general does not have an understanding of the School of Leaders, its purpose, and/or how it should operate.  Hopefully, this letter will help clarify some of the uncertainty.  (For those who have a Leaders’ Manual, it might be helpful to read Chapter 6, entitled “School of Leaders”.)

First, the School of Leaders (hereafter, “School”) is NOT a school in which someone learns to be a leader … those in the School are already leaders.  A more apt name for the School might be “Community of Leaders”, “Reunion of Leaders”, or “Community of Respondents” (those responsible for others); however, keeping in line with the Cursillo literature and terminology, we will refer to it as a School.

In simple terms, the School is made up of the core group of leaders for the Cursillo Movement in a particular Diocese.  They are those leaders who have an intense desire to do whatever is necessary to insure the Movement remains vibrant and authentic … leaders who are willing to give their time, talent, and treasure to the Movement as needed.  If we as a Diocese want to claim authenticity to the Movement, we are REQUIRED to have in place a functioning School.  Cursillo calls each of us to evangelize those environments in which God has placed us; Cursillo leaders (via the School), however, are called to evangelize the environment of the Cursillo Movement itself.

To function effectively, the School must be a close-knit community – similar to your friendship group (Group Reunion) that meets weekly.  To achieve that sense of community, the leaders must develop a common mentality and meet regularly.  Topics covered in the School will vary (depending on need); however, it is essential that each session of the School include certain elements as follows [you will note that the School has elements of both Group Reunion (i.e., the Leaders Group Reunion) and Ultreya (i.e., the technique and doctrinal talks and the visit to the Blessed Sacrament)]:

• Group reunion of the participants (using the Leaders Group Reunion format).
• A doctrinal talk (on Church doctrine, Scripture, and/or other Church documents).
• A technique talk (related to the Precursillo, the Three Days, the Postcursillo, or the origin of the Movement).
• Time to plan and work together as a community of leaders (e.g., regularly reviewing progress toward achieving recommended actions specified in the Lincoln Diocese Pastoral Plan and/or coming up with new recommendations).
• Announcements (from the Lincoln Diocese, the Region, and from the National and International Secretariats).
• A visit to the Blessed Sacrament, wherein the leaders unite through common prayer, submitting their hearts and wills to Christ and His Church.

The members of the School are held accountable to each other and should challenge each other to live the talks of the Weekend.  They must develop an understanding of the Movement through study of its origin and history.  Those in the School should have the common apostolate of leadership for the Movement.  The School is a community of truly enthusiastic men and women who group themselves about Jesus Christ … Cursillistas who see the value of on-going conversion offered in the Movement and who have discerned that this is the primary apostolate that God has called them to … they know this is what “Christ is counting on them” for …  Circumstances and/or commitments may delay participation in the School or cause someone to withdraw from the School for some time.  This is fine … not everyone is called to have the primary apostolate of Cursillo … God may have other plans.

We can all live the Cursillo method (living a life of Holiness, Formation, and Evangelization; offering Palanca; planning and participating in Ultreyas; working as a community to carry out recommendations in our diocesan Pastoral Plan; etc.).  However, to be effective, the Movement also needs committed leaders to foster the on-going work of Cursillo in the Precursillo, the Three Days, and the Postcursillo.  Are you called to be a Cursillo leader?

The next step in re-forming the School is a practicum scheduled for July 26-27, 2002, at St. Joseph Church in York, Nebraska (see the enclosed Registration Form for details).  The retreat phase begins Friday, July 26th, and the Practicum is all day Saturday, July 27th.  Christ is counting on you …

God is good … all the time!!  All the time … God is good!!

John Springer                                                   Kathy Springer                                Fr. Mark Seiker
Chair, School of Leaders                                    Lay Director                                 Spiritual Advisor

P.S.  If you have questions or comments, please contact John or Kathy (826-2699) or Fr. Seiker (223-2923).

Registration Form

School of Leaders Practicum Retreat
July 26-27, 2002
505 East Ave
St. Joseph School - York, NE

Name: ____________________________________________________________

Address: __________________________________________________________

City/State/Zip: ______________________________________________________

Phone: _______________________     Email: ____________ _________________

Where and when did I make my 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

What are your reasons for attending this Retreat? ____________________________________

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 JULY 22, 2002.

School of Leaders
Practicum Retreat
July 26-27, 2002
St. Joseph School,505 East Ave, York, NE

You are invited to a School of Leaders Practicum Retreat to deepen your understanding of the Cursillo School of Leaders; to spend time in prayer and meditation with the Blessed Sacrament; and to demonstrate in a practical way what a session of the School of Leaders looks like.  This retreat is for men and women, couples, singles, priests and religious.  There will be three practical sessions, the first session setting the tone for the remaining two.

FRIDAY, JULY 26TH (Retreat Phase)
 7:30pm --- Registration (NO Meal Friday evening)
 7:45pm --- Mass
 8:30pm --- Meditation, confessions, quiet time

SATURDAY, JULY 27TH (Practicum Sessions of School of Leaders)
 7:00am --- Morning prayer and Mass, followed by breakfast
 8:30am - 5pm First Practicum Session, Lunch, 2nd Session, 3rd Session
 5:00pm --- Clean up and Depart (Supper not provided)

Please bring the following with you to the weekend:
• Pilgrim’s Guide
• Leader’s Manual, if you have one (please begin praying the Leader’s Prayer on page 57)
• Lincoln Diocese Pastoral Plan for Cursillo (distributed during June Retreat; for those not in attendance, extra copies will be available)

• “Classic” Cursillo accommodations will be available (but No Showers).
• Advance registrations are requested; it is fine to attend Saturday only or Friday only
• Suggested cost 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.

If you cannot be with us, we request palanca for the success of this retreat.

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