April 11, 2014

First Latino Cursillo for neighboring dioceses coming in May

The Latino Cursillo team poses for a picture during a Cursillos de Cursillo event on Sept. 1, 2013, at Frankfort Camp Ministries in Frankfort, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese. The group has been meeting and preparing for the first Latino Cursillo in central Indiana coming up in May. (Submitted photo)

The Latino Cursillo team poses for a picture during a Cursillos de Cursillo event on Sept. 1, 2013, at Frankfort Camp Ministries in Frankfort, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese. The group has been meeting and preparing for the first Latino Cursillo in central Indiana coming up in May. (Submitted photo)

By Natalie Hoefer

After more than three-and-a-half years of effort and cultivating leaders, the first Spanish-speaking Latino Cursillo for the combined region of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Diocese of Lafayette will take place on May 8-11 for men and May 15-18 for women at the SonRise Retreat Center in Anderson, Ind., in the Diocese of Lafayette.

Cursillo—Spanish for “short course”—is a lay movement in the Church that began in Spain in 1944. It has been present in the Central Indiana Cursillo Community (CICC) for 50 years.

Cursillo involves a three-day retreat which seeks to help Catholics grow in their relationship with Christ. After the retreat, participants are invited to continue growing through group reunions and other opportunities.

As the Hispanic population has grown in this region in recent years, the need for an all-Spanish-speaking Cursillo experience and community became evident.

“About three-and-a-half or four years ago, our committee determined that we needed to look at a much broader range of people,” said John Ameis, lay director for CICC. “One group was Latinos.

“I started looking for priests and other clergy, and started talking with people within both dioceses.

“As I started to meet people, one of the personal drawbacks I had was that I don’t speak the language.”

Ameis met and found dedicated assistance from Deacon Domingo Castillo and Carlos Alatorre, who now serve as Latino CICC spiritual director and lay director, respectively. Both are Catholics in the Lafayette Diocese.

“We have teamed up over the last couple of years to lay down groundwork for having Latino Cursillo by building a foundational community,” said Ameis.

Community is crucial to Cursillo, he explained. The three-day experience is not the most important part of the movement. Rather, it is what Cursillistas call the “fourth day”—living out the rest of one’s life with Christ as the center.

“We needed to build a community of Latino Cursillistas that were following the method, so when we started having weekends there would be a community for them to come back to live the fourth day,” Ameis said.

There is now a team—and community—of nearly 35 members who have been meeting bimonthly for a year-and-a-half, and weekly for 10 weeks as the Spanish-speaking Cursillos in May approach.

Among those who will help present the weekends are Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin; Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette; Deacon Domingo Castillo, who is co-associate for Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Lafayette; and Franciscan Brother Moises Gutierrez, who is director of the archdiocesan Office of Multicultural Ministry.

“Cursillo is an awakening to the person,” said Deacon Domingo. “We have some people who go to church on Sunday, but God isn’t the center of their life. In Cursillo, we try to make these people come to have God as their center.

“Some Latinos come to the U.S. and don’t speak English. Cursillo will help them communicate with each other. Cursillo helps them to affirm themselves, to sustain a connection with the rest of the community.”

Brother Moises is grateful for the opportunity for local Latinos to experience Cursillo in their native language.

“I applaud the efforts of the coordinators of the Central Indiana Cursillo Community to reach out to the Hispanic community,” he said.

“Collectivism is a cultural characteristic of Hispanics. Apostolic movements give Hispanics the opportunity to live out their collectivism, helping them to feel that they are part of a group, a community, a movement.

“The Cursillo movement is an excellent avenue for evangelization within the Hispanic community,” Brother Moises added.

“It’s also important to consider what the Hispanic community brings to the Cursillo movement in central Indiana. Cursillo was founded in Spain. It has a Latino flair. I believe that Hispanics will bring a sense of joy and celebration to the movement here.”

The men’s and women’s weekends are limited to 30 participants. Dates are already set for Cursillo weekends this fall—Nov. 7-9 for men and Nov. 14-16 for women.

Deacon Castillo encourages Latinos to consider Cursillo.

“Cursillo is something for you to have an encounter with Christ,” he said. “From there, you begin to live a new life.

“It won’t solve all your problems, but if you stay with God, you’ll be happy.”
 

(For more information or to register for the Latino Cursillo men’s or women’s weekend, contact Carlos Alatorre at 317-441-7870 or Elena Rivers at 317-833-8120.)

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