Sponsors Responsibility Workshop
The Cursillo Movement: What it is, and what it is not.
The Following is a brief summary regarding our roles as a sponsor within the Cursillo Community.
Now, let's start off with a simple quiz:
- Where do all the good people go? They go to Heaven.
- Where do all the bad people go? They go to Hell.
- Where do all the very, bad people go? They go to a Cursillo Weekend to get Zapped.
Editors note: Obviously this is not true, but is meant to illustrate a point, Please read on...
This can also be referred to as the "problem case approach" it is done with the belief that the Cursillo weekend can make a Christian out of someone that no one else has been able to convert. In addition, the Cursillo weekend is neither a cure-all for personal problems or a place to produce leaders for other movements or organizations. Pastors sometimes use Cursillo for recruiting workers for the parish. When we bring candidates to a weekend with this premise they still experience the mountain-top high. But, it quickly wains and the candidate either never becomes active in the community through 4th day and Ultreya, or they drop away quickly because they never had the support needed to make the success of the weekend carry over to the rest of their lives.
In order to be an effect disciple of God and bring candidates into the Cursillo movement that will Continue to spread the Good News on earth, it is vital to the movement that we understand what Cursillo is.
Depending on the literature you read, there are a number of definitions for the purpose of the Cursillo Movement. If we examine them all we can get a much richer meaning to the true purpose of Cursillo:
Knowing and understanding the purpose of Cursillo will enable us to more fully understand the purpose of sponsoring candidates. As we examine our world around us there are two additional items which we need to be aware of:
"We are a Communal People" if we examine the root of the word Religion, it means "Relationship" these relationships are the interaction of two or more people. Our lives are filled with relationships in school, family reunions, church, vocations, work etc. Social, Civic and Political involvement's are areas of environments which depend on relationships.
"We are a teamwork People" as we grew up, we all learned the value of teamwork. Whether on a sports team, academic competition, or serving in the military, We soon began to realize that by working as a team the results where much greater than the sum of their components. Christ himself realized this and encouraged us to work as a team. From the Gospel of Matthew 18:19-20
"Amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."
We sponsor candidates to bring about change in environments. We must focus on those individuals who have the talents to bring about change. Individuals who are respected and looked to for guidance in those environments, it is important to realize that these are not always the people in charge within those environments. Sponsorship is not and should not be done haphazardly, it is not merely to fill the 30 seats available for a weekend. It should a deliberate act to bring Jesus Christ into the world. Candidates will become agents for change in their families, schools, work situations, neighborhoods, and social gatherings. Your role as a sponsor is to insure the candidate will become an active participant in Group Reunions and Ultreya. Your candidate will become a part of the Christian Community that links together with others to bring Jesus Christ to the world. "This is the purpose of Sponsoring!"
Roles of a Sponsor
The role of the sponsor begins long before we approach or even think about a potential candidate. It begins with Prayer to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, for perseverance, for the ability to recognize opportunities and to respond to them for the right reasons.
A sponsor needs to understand the goal of the movement, at Minimum the sponsor booklet should be completely read and understood. Additional references such as the Leaders' Manual and The fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement are also useful resources. From there, we go back to Prayer "Speak to God about man, before speaking to man about God."
When a sponsor is ready to consider an individual, they should be aware of those types of individuals who ought to go:
Sponsors need to insure candidates are eligible to go:
Sponsors need to know their candidates: Gender, marital status, number of children, the parish that they attend, and whether they are both willing and free of any obstacles which would prevent them from participating in 4th day groupings. At no time should the Post Cursillo environment be kept from the candidate. They must be aware of Ultreya and 4th day groupings and be willing to make the commitments to become active in the community.
In the case of Married individuals, every effort should be made to insure both individuals attend a weekend. If needed, an informal meeting with the couple and a representative from the Ultreya Leaders Servant Group or Secretariat should be arranged. If after the meeting and all parties agree that only one spouse attending the weekend will not have an adverse effect on the sacrament of their marriage, then the spouse who is eligible and wants to attend will be allowed to do so.
Once a candidate makes the commitment for a weekend, the sponsor obtains an application and has the candidate fill out their portion. Once completed, it is the responsibility of the Sponsor to obtain the Pastor's signature, complete the sponsor section, attach the sponsor fee's and forward the application to the appropriate Pre-Cursillo Rep within their Ultreya Community. Please note that the comment area of the Sponsor field should include information useful to the rector about your candidate. Shy, talkative, whether or not they would recommend the candidate as a table leader/secretary etc…
Walk the Talk
As a sponsor, you yourself should be an active member within your community. We don't tell our candidates what type of Christian to be, we show them. Your candidate should be able to see Jesus Christ working in your everyday life. If you are not an active member of the community, do your candidate a favor and find a co-sponsor who is.
Before the Weekend
In the past, our preparation of candidates may have been along the lines of: "Oh, you just have to make a weekend, I can't tell you anything about it because I don't want to spoil it for you." Or: "I don't want to explain 4th day or Ultreya because they may not want to go to a weekend if they discover there is a follow-up program." This type of preparation is one of the biggest reasons that Post-Cursillo programs of Group Reunions, Ultreya etc. are not as successful as they should be.
The movement must secure candidates willing to make a commitment to Christ. If the commitment is not apparent prior to a weekend, the experience will quickly fade away after the weekend. By not making the candidate aware of the Post-Cursillo programs, we practice an act of deception, These acts are not that of an Apostle of Christ.
Talk with your candidate about the weekend. The Sponsor Booklet gives guidelines on the items to cover, both an overall explanation along with a breakdown of each day. They should understand that each day will begin with prayer and meditation. They should understand the focus of each day "Who am I? What must I do? And How must I do it?" Please refer to the sponsor booklet often. If there are further questions your candidate has that you cannot answer, talk to a member of your Ultreya Servant group or a member of the secretariat.
Money, Explain to your candidate that the weekend and the movement itself is funded by donations. Currently it cost's $140 per individual to put on a weekend. As a sponsor it is your responsibility to insure your candidate has the funds needed. It is not your responsibility to pay for the weekend, only to insure it is in fact paid for. Your candidate should understand that a collection will be taken up on Sunday at Mass and this collection is for the purpose of securing funds for the weekend itself. The Money your candidate gives on Sunday morning can come from a number of sources:
No candidate will be refused a weekend due to their inability to pay for the weekend costs. But as a sponsor you need to insure that those funds are available or have made the arrangements for the payment of such. Your candidate needs to be aware of these arrangements prior to the weekend so they are not worried all weekend about the cost's and how they will be paid.
Transportation of a candidate to and from the weekend is your responsibility as a sponsor. Those arrangements should be made well in advance of the weekend and communicated to your candidate. Some Ultreya communities put together car-pools for Thursday's ride, this does not alleviate your responsibility. You should work with the Leaders servant group in your community or the car-pool coordinator to insure arrangements are made and your candidate is fully aware of those arrangements well in advance of the weekend.
During the Weekend
Pray, Pray, and Pray. You should be prepared to assist the candidates family with anything that is needed in his or her absence. This may include car-pooling kids to an event, church etc. Be prepared to make sacrifice's. Once you've covered all these angles, Pray some more. MOST Important, be there at the closing. The closing is when the candidates get their real impression of the community they are now to be a part of, your attendance plays a big role in that impression.
After the weekend / Post-Cursillo
As you can see, your role as a sponsor is much more than securing an application to fill a vacant slot, nor does it end with the completion of that application. You should be prepared to walk with your candidate for at least a year. Your candidate needs to see Christ working in your life each and every day. It is not enough to send someone on the Cursillo Weekend and expect the team to work miracles. They need as much attention after the weekend as they received during the weekend possibly even more. As a sponsor this is the role you agree to fill.
Why a Sponsors Booklet?
If the purpose for sponsoring a candidate, is limited to having a relative, friend, or acquaintance merely attend a three day weekend, then this booklet would not be necessary. A simple pamphlet would provide all the necessary information. On the other hand, if the purpose of this booklet was to cover all aspects of the Cursillo movement, again this booklet would not be necessary. All these aspects can be found in the "Leaders' Manual and the Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement."
The Sponsors Booklet has been primarily written to give the basic guidelines of our movement and the responsibilities one undertakes when a decision is made to sponsor a candidate. Much care has been taken to insure that this booklet was published as an affordable tool and, at the same time usable (fits into a pocket, purse, briefcase). Consequently, this booklet can be kept at-hand for continual reading and also a quick reference source.
To obtain a Sponsor Booklet, See a member of your local Ultreya Team. Sponsor Booklets along with other Cursillo Documentation and Goodies can be purchased directly from National online at: http://www.natl-cursillo.org/