A few of my friends struggle with the pronunciation of the word Cursillo. I help them out, then move on. It’s not so important how it is pronounced as what it is.
Friendship comes to mind. Music. Spiritual growth. Prayer. Community. Faith. Love. Small groups. A relationship with God. And so much more. Our passion in Cursillo (by the way: koor-see-yo) is followed by our love of Christ Jesus. We cannot do anything without Christ. A Weekend is a time away from our everyday routine to experience “a short course” in Christianity and have that closer relationship with God.
We have these Weekends for new participants every year and this year we included a special, pleasant time from March 6-8 at Mount Mary Retreat Centre in Ancaster for a “Recharge”. What a wonderful way to invite Spring into our life again! As every good plan takes time to nurture and grow, searching out speakers and facilitators, we spent nearly a year coordinating something that would revive ourselves as well as educate and nourish, amongst friends. This is always an opportune time to invite friends who are in our lives to share in the joy and gift of these special weekend experiences.
We were fortunate to have as our keynote speaker Rev. Canon Dr. Lizette Larson-Miller focusing on our theme ‘Step by Step’. Lizette addressed the group three times from Friday evening to Saturday noon. Her topic was “‘Step by Step’: Liturgy and Life as One Journey into God Worship—a way of life not an hour on Sunday morning.” Lizette made this deep topic interesting, insightful and included many anecdotes. With her experience in teaching in an impressive manner, this professor from Huron University College gave us lots to ponder, question of ourselves, and learn in a comprehensive way. Then she would break out in song! It should be no surprise with her degrees in choral conducting and church music. Lizette did take time to recharge and refresh herself. But her last gift to us was the homily on Sunday at Eucharist.
The weekend also included workshops—making prayer beads; introduction to contemplative prayer; viewing a Holy Land Pilgrimage PowerPoint presentation of a group tour; and taught Biblical storytelling in a unique way—all presented by Anglican priests willing to share their wealth of knowledge, experience, and gifts. We were asked to pick two workshops. By Saturday evening we were on our way to our third type of worship service, Taizé, in the chapel, complete with guest musicians, songs, prayers, and candlelight. We thank Rev. Brian Galligan, Rev. Sue Nicolls, The Ven. Dr. David Anderson, Rev. Canon Susan Wilson, and Rev. Paddy Doran from the Diocese of Niagara for their time given to these activities.
One additional group came to visit us Saturday evening after dinner with local Hawaiian dancers, a soloist, and a comedienne. The dancers, who entertain seniors, dressed in many different colourful costumes and danced to various Hawaiian tunes. We added colour to the evening by being decked out in our own Hawaiian shirts, leis, and grass skirts!
Our Weekend could not be complete without our dedicated musicians, Susanne Adams and Margaret Wilding-Denew. Joining them, on more than one occasion now, was a new Cursillista, Rev. Patty Dobbs Luxton from Huron. We are blessed to have these ladies offer inspiration through song. And we thank the team who put this whole weekend together.
What can I say—I had a great time. I think we all did. A time to learn, a time to pray, a time with friends and a time to make new friends. I always come away from these events feeling rewarded having made the time and commitment to attend them. I thank God for these blessings.
I’ll take this opportunity to speak out about the next Cursillo Weekend, which will be held Nov. 13-15, 2020 at Five Oaks Retreat Centre, Paris, ON. Please talk to your priest about attending—we encourage sponsorship. We can be contacted through our website: www.niagaracursillo.org or through the form below. We plan to be at the next Synod with a ministry table. Please drop by and say hello.
Renée Anderson is the Lay Director of Niagara Huron Anglican Cursillo and a member of Grace Anglican Church in Brantford