I often lament that while some Christians have a graduate level education in their chosen career many have only an elementary school level of education in their faith. I tell people that Cum Christo is a graduate level course in God's Grace, and because of the study leg of the tripod, it sets you up for a lifetime of learning. Learning about our God is most important. Learning about this little corner of God's kingdom on earth, Cum Christo, is necessary to our continued, effective penetration of our environments.
In Cum Christo we place a lot of responsibility and authority in the hands of sponsors, more than they probably realize or know. For this, we the leadership are at fault for failing to provide frequent and effective means of training our community members in the basics of Cum Christo. Thus, we are publishing a mid-year Quiri/Quiri, especially dedicated to teaching Cum Christo basics.
The authors of the articles come from the leadership of the movement. The content of the articles comes from the original writings of the Cursillo founders (can you name them? - if not come back to the Weekend Orientation Program and learn) as it evolved within the Columbus Diocese.
Learn about the keys to sponsoring candidates. We seek candidates who have expressed or possess latent leadership potential, candidates who live a Christian lifestyle, and candidates who will return to their environments and make a difference for Christ.
Learn about your many responsibilities when you do choose to become a sponsor.
Learn about how Cum Christo fits into the diocesan pastoral plan as a Roman Catholic movement that openly welcomes and invites participation by mainstream Protestant denominations.
Learn about how personal estate planning is individually important, and how it can foster the continuation of this beloved movement in your Fifth Day.
Learn about Palanca, the lever that lifts us up, encourages us, and motivates us to persevere.
Our faith is much richer than any secular topic. Cum Christo is a vibrant method for forming the small faith sharing groups that the Catholic Church calls us to form during the Jubilee 2000 celebration.
Save, read, re-read and study this issue of the Quiri.
Watch for future learning opportunities.
Feed your hunger for learning.
Men's 60th (1977) Reflect on 20th Year
Attending Ultreya on June 23 were Mike Koehler, a team member from the Men's 60th, Joe Meyer, the youngest "Babechick" on the 60th, Ed Lally, the senior "chick" twenty years ago, and Joe Neidhardt, somewhere between Joe and Ed.
The four observed the 20th year since the Men's 60th. All credit their Cursillo/Cum Christo experience as being a major spiritual influence in their lives.
Sponsors choosing appropriate candidates for a Cum Christo weekend must never lose sight of the purpose of Cum Christo. "The weekend is not an attempt to simply re-educate people in Christianity, to give them an introduction into Christian life. It is a Leadership weekend. It is designed to take people who are leaders (or who could be leaders) in parish organizations, in Christian action groups, and in society in general, and give these people an understanding of the importance of creating a real Christian community, a Christianity" (from The Work of Cursillo and the Work of Renewal)
Cum Christo is about training Christian leaders. The first guideline in selecting a candidate is that they must be a Christian, active and committed.
The pastor's signature on the application is meant to ensure that those who come to us are in some real way active in a congregation.
Cum Christo is neither a conversion movement nor an evangelization movement. It is not our mission to bring non-Christians, nor the un-churched, into the fold. We train Christian leaders and give them a support network (Group reunion and Ultreya). They then go out and convert and evangelize as individuals, or as Christian communities in action. As Jesus chose his apostles, we are, in effect, calling forth new apostles, to do the work entrusted to the Church, apostolic action.
The second guideline is that prospective candidates must be leaders, or must possess qualities and attributes which, given training, could make them leaders. The Cursillo literature from the very beginning, before the method was translated into English, speaks of vertebration -- the building of a backbone through the careful selection of people who are leaders in our many environments -- people of influence, people whose opinions matter to others, those who are respected and who can effect a positive change in others for Christ.
It is easy to spot those in leadership positions within our various congregations--those on parish councils, the vestry, the board of deacons or whatever the leadership board of your congregation is called, so why are not more of them being sponsored? I think that it is because some misunderstand Cum Christo to be a conversion movement, an evangelization movement, a problem solver, and a healer. We tend to overlook the very people in our environments whom we should be sending--those active, committed, effective Christian leaders who, after making a weekend and learning the Cum Christo method, could become even more active, more committed and more effective leaders for Jesus Christ. But, you must not overlook the second part of this guideline. Look for those committed Christians who are potential leaders lacking sufficient training or skills and who, if given that training, could become very effective Christianizers of their environments.
The next guideline is very straightforward and simple. In the case of a married couple, the husband makes his weekend before the wife does, except when there exist extenuating circumstances which make it very unlikely or even impossible that he would go. These cases are dealt with on an individual basis by the appropriate section of the secretariat (see the May 1999 Quiri for a more in-depth discussion).
A final guideline, and a very important one, speaks to the physical, emotional and moral readiness of an individual to experience the weekend. No person who is experiencing--or who has recently experienced--a tragic or traumatic event such as a divorce, a break-up, the death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness or recent treatment for chemical dependence should make a weekend. This is not to say that the weekend cannot help such a person in some ways. I know of many people who were in personal crisis whom the Lord lifted out of the depths of their depression and drastically changed their lives for the better. But this is not what Cum Christo is all about, and the very intensity of the weekend could prove detrimental to such an individual. Our purpose is not to solve people's emotional problems, or to help treat them with a "wonderful" or "uplifting" weekend. Cum Christo is not a substitute for therapy, nor for the many programs available to help people with these kinds of problems. My advice to anyone considering sponsorship of someone like this is simply: get the person the help they need. Help them solve their problem(s). Then, when they have sufficiently recovered and are more likely to be able to handle the emotional and spiritual intensity, approach them with the idea of making a Cum Christo weekend.
With the above guidelines in mind and with weekends approaching, I challenge each of you to pray, to discern, and to approach one possible candidate about making the weekend. If not, for the next weekend, at least within the next year. Let's all go forth together with a firm resolve to see to it that our community - - Christ's community - - continues to grow and prosper.
Thinking about sponsoring a candidate for a Cum Christo weekend is an act of love. Sponsoring a candidate is an act of commitment to that individual. It is the very essence of servanthood that we hear so much about in the movement. Sponsorship carries with it a great many responsibilities, both to the individual candidate and to the community at large. And it is detrimental unless we understand these responsibilities.
Until recently, you could not sponsor a candidate until you had been active in the movement for at least one year. After much deliberation, it was decided that we were losing a great many good candidates because of that rule. Secretariat decided to change it so that candidates could form community more quickly in their environments. It is now possible to sponsor others to the fullness of the Cum Christo experience right after making the weekend, which makes it all the more important to understand what goes into being a sponsor. In recent years, many sponsors have shirked their responsibilities, to the detriment of their candidate and the community. One candidate wrote to the Secretariat that our movement was hypocritical because he had not seen his sponsor for the two years since his weekend. What kind of message are we sending to prospective candidates if we fail to live up to the responsibilities the movement expects of us?
These are the responsibilities to the candidates and to the community that are incumbent upon anyone who intends to sponsor:
Ten Sponsor Guidelines
1. First of all, you must follow the candidate selection guidelines (see the preceding article).
2. You must explain to the candidate the purpose of the weekend, and what goes on including the talks, discussions, posters, the busy schedule, the abundant food, community support, etc., as outlined on the application you co-sign. Lying, even white lies must be avoided at all costs. Avoid secrecy as it gives candidates the wrong impression of what Cum Christo is all about. You need not spoil surprises, like personal palanca, the fiesta or serenade, but the full scope of the weekend should be laid out in its entirety.
3. You must be certain that the candidate has an understanding of what is meant by group reunion, and that they will be asked to commit to take part in such a group after the weekend is over.
4. All sponsors are required to come to the center for clean up on the Monday preceding and immediately following their candidate's weekend. If unable to show up, you must find a substitute.
5. You must bring your candidates to the center on Thursday night, help them find their beds, take them on a tour of the building and drop them off at the entrance to the lounge.
6. Sponsors are to do palanca for their candidate and write a note or letter informing them of the palanca offered. This personal palanca will be distributed after the altar visit on Saturday. The envelope needs to be marked "from Sponsor." All sponsors are expected to provide general palanca as well.
7. Sponsors should make every effort to come to the serenade on Sunday morning.
8. Sponsors must come to the closing on Sunday night to take their candidates home.
9. When the weekend is over, sponsor responsibilities are not over. When you sponsor, you agree to commit to one year of nurturing that candidate, helping them to assimilate into the community. You are to bring your candidate to the initial three Ultreyas, and keep them coming for a year. And, of course frequently come yourself for that year.
Sponsors have the expressed obligation to help their candidates find a permanent group. This is not easy if you are inactive. So be active in a group.
Remember, when you sponsor a candidate for Cum Christo, you are acting out of love and commitment to that individual. You are investing in his or her Christian life as a fellow member of the Christian community which comes together to enable that candidate to live more fully the life of grace in Jesus Christ. If you expect candidates to partake fully of what our movement has to offer, then you must partake fully yourselves and model the behavior. We owe that to our candidates and you owe that to our community.
Some time after Cursillo started in Columbus in 1964, church leaders from a variety of denominations were meeting to discuss what they had in common. It was in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. A Columbus Cursillista began sharing his Cursillo experiences with an assistant pastor from Trinity Episcopal Church. This pastor had been looking for an instrument that would have an ongoing impact on his congregation. He asked if he could make the weekend to take back to his church. He was told that Cursillo was Roman Catholic and since Cursillo is based on Catholic theology and tradition, the leaders of Cursillo felt that members of other denominations might feel that they were being asked to compromise their beliefs.
The pastor persevered and the idea was presented to the Secretariat. After extensive research, discussion, and many prayers, the Columbus Movement chose to allow the minister and some of his parishioners to attend. The participants were asked to recognize the fact that Cursillo was Roman Catholic and that Protestant brethren would be guests. While they would not be asked to accept anything contrary to their own church's beliefs, at the same time Cursillo would not compromise on basic Roman Catholic traditions.
In September of 1970, the assistant pastor and four lay persons from Trinity Episcopal Church became the first non-Catholics to attend a Cursillo in Columbus. Many more have followed. When the Bishop was challenged by the National Cursillo in 1986 to restrict participation to Catholics or else disassociate from Cursillo, the Bishop chose to continue the ecumenical practice. The Columbus Cursillo became Cum Christo, together "with Christ."
As a Protestant, thankful for the chance to participate in the weekend and the movement, I have learned through the many leaders about the challenges involved in allowing the weekends to be inter-denominational. Cum Christo is a Catholic lay-led Movement responsible to the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Catholic diocese. The Cum Christo Movement welcomes and invites Protestant inter-denominational participation on weekends and in the Fourth Day. The Catholic Diocese owns the building, leases it to us for a nominal amount, and pays the insurance. For over 25 years the Diocese supported the movement financially in its entirety until we (and other lay movements) were challenged to become financially self supporting (lay directors note: we are succeeding at that!).
One of those challenges is the balancing of Catholic traditions and customs against Protestant sensibilities within the movement. As guided by our Bishop and Spiritual Directors, the focus of the weekend has been centered on Jesus Christ, the undeniable common ground among Catholics and Protestants. Certain Catholic religious elements are rigorously enforced, such as the "no inter-communion" policy. (Note: for Catholics communion is, among other things, an expression of unity with the teachings of the Catholic Church -- a condition of unity that the Christian church at large aspires to but has not yet achieved.)
Some of the Catholic religious elements that have changed include: the transition from daily Mass to a single Mass and one Protestant Service during the weekend; the transition from specific prayer forms and piety practices (e.g., the Rosary) in favor of more generally universal practices across denominations.
The leadership responsible to the Bishop is drawn from the Catholics in the movement (the Spiritual Directors and the Lay Director). Membership on Secretariat, Leaders' School and the other leadership groups is drawn from those Protestants and Catholics who, when called, are willing to serve.
We seek to avoid the watering down of the effective elements of the Weekend and the Fourth Day. The bottom line is that the weekends work very well. I for one want to preserve the effective workings of the weekend. The danger of not doing so is that we will end up having only good, fun weekends. But the perseverance, the coming together in a small group to discuss, regularly, our piety, study, and action, penetrating our environments, could fade forever.
Finally, as a Protestant, I am thankful for the Catholic Diocese for allowing me to participate in their Movement, my beloved movement, our movement.
Has Your Ideal Changed?
If you are like me, Cum Christo has and continues to be a big influence on my spiritual life. Every time I walk into that old building I get a spiritual uplifting from the Cursillistas, the memories of Cum Christo experiences, and the action it inspires.
Help ensure that this experience continues for others today and for our children in the future. There are many Cursillistas who work to maintain the spiritual integrity of the movement. However, like all groups of two or more gathered in God's name, there is also a financial side that must be addressed.
As you may know, we receive no direct financial support from the Catholic Church; all operating funds must come from us. This is the purpose of the Sustaining Fund, which has currently received $26,830 for 1999. Thank you for your continued generosity and support.
The building has been improved through the help of volunteers. Remember, there is no paid staff in Cum Christo. However, more needs to be done, sometimes by contractors, to maintain it and to make it safe and comfortable.
There are at least three ways to contribute financially to the movement:
Cash - this is the most convenient way, but may not be the most tax effective way for you.
Appreciated Property/Stock - the fair market value is a tax deduction and there is no capital gains paid on the difference between the cost and fair market value. This is usually a good way to make any charitable contribution.
Estate - June was "Leave a Legacy Month" and many organizations had programs to encourage the inclusion of their organization in a will. You are encouraged to consider Cum Christo when reviewing your estate plan. There are many ways to do this. A few are an outright bequest of cash or making Cum Christo the beneficiary of a life insurance, IRA or charitable trust. This method can also save considerable income and estate taxes.
I have a friend who believes every problem eventually becomes a financial one. Cum Christo does not have a major problem, but our goal is that we plan now for the future so that finances do not become a problem at the same time.
Please pray about your commitment to our movement. The first talk on your weekend (Ideal) asks the question, "What do I do with my free time, thoughts, and money?" Take the opportunity to review how you are spending your time and money. If you are moved to adjust either, consider Cum Christo.
If you have any questions about giving in this manner, tax implications, or how to implement these suggestions, do not hesitate to call me.
Palanca - a "lever"
One of Webster's descriptions of "lever" is ... a bar used for prying or dislodging something ... Or an inducing or compelling force.
On our weekend we are told that the Spanish word "palanca" means "lever." I like the concept of an inducing or compelling force. Something that is out of the ordinary, an extra effort or personal sacrifice that will "compel" and "induce" someone (a candidate or team member) to feel loved and cared for. A very special, unique child of God, who will, because of this inducement, want to form a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Palanca comes in many ways and forms, a simple letter that contains the phrase "my palanca for you is"...becomes true palanca when you state your sacrifice. It's some form of self-denial; turning off the radio on the way to work to pray, kneeling in prayer for an hour, giving up something you really like, coffee, soft drinks, desserts, chocolate, a favorite TV show. It can be spending time doing physical work, doing something you do not like or have put off, such as cleaning a closet, the fridge, going out of your way to help someone with yard-work, shopping, etc. Palanca is something that is unique to you, that is from the heart and is sincere and honest. Sign your note, with "a brother/sister in Christ," without sharing who you are. This is true palanca - a "lever" of anonymous, unconditional love.
A brother, Bob Franz M36, shared a very special and wonderful witness on palanca, which he called "reflections on the meaning of palanca." With his permission I share these reflections below.
When we reflect on the true meaning of palanca, we recognize that it is an offering or sacrifice from us to God on behalf of the candidate. It is a triad, involving three persons, ending at the candidate. And there it should stop. If we sign our name, for example, there is the likelihood that some recognition or thanks will come back to us from the candidate. But true palanca from the heart does not seek recognition for the offering. It would be devoid of ego and self-importance. In this way palanca would be personal, between God and us only. It is up to God what happens with our palanca once we release it. It is out of our hands. It is in God's hands.
The effects of our palanca should be twofold. First, our palanca is an offering or sacrifice done freely for another with no strings attached, unconditional. Second, there is the realization by the candidate that there is a larger, caring community out there praying and sacrificing for them.
We can say that the kind and depth of palanca that we do as a community is a tangible expression of the Holy Spirit working through the Cum Christo community.
The true spirit of palanca and of the community, then is a spirit of prayer, a spirit of self-sacrifice, a spirit of selflessness, a spirit of unconditional love.
Bob's description of palanca is a sincere, honest, self-less, unconditional offering or sacrifice which we make to God from the core of our heart for the sole purpose of bringing another into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here are his seven "P's" of palanca, which may help us remember the true meaning of palanca - a lever.
As we reflect on the true meaning of palanca can we not help but think of our friend Jesus who offered to each of us the ultimate palanca, His life? Was it not a sincere, honest, selfless, unconditional offering or sacrifice to God from the core of His being (His heart) for the sole purpose of bringing us into a closer relationship with His Father? And does not the cross remind us of this every time we look at it?
Palanca, a lever that lifts us up.
HUGS AND PRAYERS
WEEKEND SCHEDULE 1999/2000 and UPCOMING EVENTS
Men's 130th September 23-26, 1999
Women's 121st October 21-24, 1999
Men's 131st April 6-9, 2000
Women's 122nd May 18-21, 2000
Men's 132nd Sept.28-Oct. 1, 2000
Women's 123rd October 26-29, 2000
Men's 133rd (to be scheduled in 2000 after receiving abundant applications)
Every Wednesday 8:00 PM
8/18/99 Ultreyafest (6:30-9:00PM)
9/11/99 Pre Cum Christo Coordinators
10/31/99 Sunday Picnic (1:00-4:00PM)
11/3-12/99 Holyland Pilgrimage
11/12-13/99 Weekend Orientation
1/28/00 Annual Dinner
4/19/00 Seder Meal
6/2-3/00 Weekend Orientation
11/10-11/00 Weekend Orientation