The roots of Cursillo grew during the darkness of war, out of a need to bring renewed faith and hope to those suffering from the loss and despair of the Spanish Civil War and, later, World War II. While it began in the Roman Catholic Church, the effective method for faith formation and renewal, together with the equipping of leaders for lay ministry, caused Cursillo to be adopted by multiple Christian denominations throughout the world. Cursillo is now recognised as an ecumenical lay-led Christian ministry that operates under the authority and with the wide support and encouragement of international church leaders, including those of Anglican Church of Canada and diocesan bishops.
With a common purpose to “make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ,” those attending Cursillo Training Weekends are reminded that we are all part of one holy catholic and apostolic church, which transcends international and denominational boundaries. This is evidenced by the spirit of cooperation between Cursillo movements in different countries and the welcome afforded to members visiting from overseas. Consequently, following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the Secretariat of the Niagara Huron Anglican Cursillo Movement agreed that we were called to reach out to members of the Ukrainian Cursillo Movement. Writing to their Secretariat, Lay Director Renée Anderson and I let them know that they were not alone, and that during their time of need we would continue to pray for the light of Christ to shine brightly upon them and through them, to dispel the darkness they were facing. We also invited them to join us in our regular online worship by Zoom.
This Canadian-Ukrainian dialogue continues on a regular basis through the sharing of prayer and updates about the ongoing situation in Ukraine. We are pleased to report that despite the conflict, the Ukrainian Cursillo Movement has continued to grow, with members actively sharing the Gospel and bringing God’s love into the darkest of places through their faith, study, and action. They are currently planning to host another Cursillo Training Weekend and, in a recent video, which was shared with diocesan Cursillo movements all across Canada, they requested Canadian prayer support for their weekend team and participants. Recognising the value of opening a window into the day-to-day lives of Ukrainians, I requested additional videos from my contact showing food and clothing banks, and telling stories about the enduring faith, hope, and bravery of the Ukrainian people. I was able to combine these into a recent Sunday sermon which reflected the transforming power of faith in overcoming adversity. As one Ukrainian Cursillo member puts it when he quotes St. Paul from Romans 12:21, “We refuse to allow ourselves to be overcome by evil but will instead, work to overcome evil with good.”
Please join with us in praying for an end to this tragic conflict, and for the Ukrainian Cursillo movement, whose members continue to serve Jesus by spreading the Gospel through their words and deeds. Prayerful messages of support for their upcoming Cursillo Weekend can be emailed to cursillolviv@gmail. com. The next Niagara Huron Anglican Cursillo Weekend will be held July 21-23, 2023 at Five Oaks, Paris, ON. Details and application forms can be found at www.niagaracursillo.org.
Clergy requiring more information are invited to contact The Reverend Brian Galligan, spiritual director, Niagara Huron Anglican Cursillo Movement at: [email protected].