Who's on first?

 As the new Lay Director, I am blessed by many folks who encourage me in my new role. Others take the time to inform me of their opinions about things. I welcome both. Topics, in decreasing order of frequency, included smoking in the center, food on weekends, children at events, tenure of leadership positions, and the husbands-go-first rule. Over time in this column we will address each of these. Today let us discuss the "who goes first" rule.

The Cum Christo By-laws stipulate that "A married woman may not apply unless her husband has already made a weekend, or unless they are submitting their applications jointly - in which case the husband must still make his weekend first (exceptions to this will be considered by the Secretariat on an individual basis)." Some potential candidates are offended by this policy and either never go, or go and bear some resentment. Old time Cursillistas are split about this policy, some favor it and others oppose it. Many men have said that "... I did not want to go, and if my wife had gone first, I would never have gone." If this were a democratic organization (which it is not) the vote to affirm or repeal would probably be close. There is no general consensus.

Leaders' School has studied the evolution of thought regarding this policy. In the 1940's in Spain Cursillos for women were expressly forbidden (the movement was started with the sole objective of encouraging the spiritual lives of young men..) In the 1950/60's, worldwide, Cursillos for women were initiated at the insistence of male Cursillistas who desired to include their wives. In the 1970/80's, in the United States, under National Cursillo, if both spouses are eligible, and one does not want to go then neither should go. In the 1990's, in the US under National Cursillo, both spouses, eligible or not, are to be informed in person about Cursillo (Fourth day, Ultreya, grouping) by the leadership of the movement, and should both agree to go, who then goes first is immaterial.

The basic premise of any "Couples Rule" is derived from the Roman Catholic view of marriage as holy, as a sacrament. We are to do nothing that would have an adverse affect on the marriage. If sponsoring one or the other spouse would disrupt a marriage, the sponsor should give serious and prayerful consideration as to what to do about it in lieu of sponsoring.

The fact is we are called to encourage all "natural leaders" to make a weekend, reluctant or not. The fact is that there are men who make weekends whose wives do not. And the fact is that there are wives whose husbands "will never ever go" but who would make excellent candidates, without adversely affecting the marriage.

After prayer and study Secretariat has chosen to affirm the existing policy and to explain how to obtain exceptions.

The sense is that men in our society are still disinclined to choose spiritual activities over secular activities, while women are in general inclined to include spiritual activities among all activities in their lives. It is real yet unfortunate that the old premise of Cursillo is still true in modern society: "men need help." If you have statistics and data to the contrary let me know. Even with the past strict enforcement of the policy my observations are that women outnumber men at Ultreyas, sometimes by two to one. Women constitute the majority of church volunteers. The Josephinum teaches courses on "the feminization of the Catholic Church." The reluctance of men to grow spiritually is a real issue in our society, in our culture, in our environments, and we have to contend with it. We can not simply ignore the fact that men need help to grow spiritually. Helping them was a premise of the original Cursillo and we discern that help is still needed today.

Thus, in general, we choose to encourage the husband's participation by requiring them to go before the wife participates. If this policy is in any way "sexist", it is sexist against the men who need to be forced to go, and who, having gone, appreciate it. However, arguments that the wife could often be the "natural leader" within that family who should be the one targeted for sponsorship are compelling, thus the allowance for exceptions.

There is a section on the application form regarding marital status. If someone (husband or wife) is being sponsored whose spouse has not, and will not make a weekend, then a letter of explanation must accompany the application. The letter is to be co-signed by the husband, wife, sponsor, and pastor. The letter is to describe the situation in general terms (neither personal specifics nor intimate details are required nor are they desired). The letter should simply address why one spouse or the other cannot or will not participate. The letter is to show an understanding of the obligations of grouping, Ultreya, and Fourth Day activities as outlined on the application form. When the situation is compelling, Secretariat will consider granting an exemption. If the letter is unclear, a telephone call will be made to the sponsor and possibly the pastor. As a final step a personal interview with the couple may be warranted (as per national Cursillo guidelines.) In any case, in fact in every case, the obligation is on the sponsor to insure that both spouses know and understand the implications of Fourth Day activities (piety, study, action, group and Ultreya).

I encourage all Cursillistas, Cum Christos, and members of "Fourth Day" movements aligned with Columbus Cum Christo to study their environments, and actively sponsor candidates.


A Few Words about Sponsoring

A potential candidate says he/she wants to make a weekend but has a schedule conflict with the next available weekend??? Ask for an application to be completed and submit it for a future weekend. Get the future weekend on the candidate's calendar!!!


Sustaining Fund Status

The Cum Christo community generously responded to the sustaining fund drive that started in December. The donations so far exceed $19,295. This is 77% of the minimum annual goal set at $25,000 to cover operating expenses and to begin replenishing the sustaining fund after last year's major expenses for roof repair and a wheel-chair stair lift.

The concept of the "Sustaining Fund" is to be a means for the community to donate annually, quarterly, or monthly as each sees fit, in financial support of Cum Christo.

Send donations to: Columbus Cum Christo, PO Box 163712. Columbus OH, 43216-3712.


Service - Building Operations

 The annual center clean-up day held in February was attended by a few (25) enthusiastic volunteers. The enthusiasm helped get the absolutely necessary work done. However, the low turnout left much work yet to be accomplished.

Sponsors are required (and the community is encouraged) to attend the center clean-up sessions scheduled for the Monday preceding and following each weekend.

Our second annual center clean-up day of the year will be held after the spring weekends. Watch the next Quiri, Ultreya announcements, and the web site for details.

Groups are encouraged to adopt individual rooms and areas of the center for cleaning, maintenance, and up-keep. Contact Sonny Beem (272-6894.)


Leaders' School Weekend Orientation

An extra Weekend Orientation program is being planned for May 7 and 8, 1999. If you have an interest in learning more about Cum Christo, sign up. If you are interested in a leadership position, sign up. If you are interested in being eligible for a team, sign up. If you are interested in refreshing your understanding of this wonderful movement, sign up.

20 participants are needed by mid-April to commit to the logistics of the Weekend Orientation program. Call Rita King at 882-1208 to sign up.


Contacting Us

There is no paid staff for Columbus Cum Christo. All leadership positions are volunteer positions. When calling individuals please call in the evening at home. When leaving a message at the Cum Christo office number include an evening phone number where you can be reached. For less urgent messages, a letter sent to the PO box is sufficient. You can e-mail the Lay Director at

Did you know that the office number provides a fax on demand service for team lists and candidate lists? There is also an option for hearing about upcoming events.

In evolving our Internet site, we are experimenting with a simpler address. Next time you visit try



SPONSORS: Please remember your commitment to "Pre" and "Post" Cum Christo clean up. Cleaning begins at 7:00 p.m. the Monday before and the Monday following the weekend. If you are unable to help, you need to secure someone to take your place.

FOOD: Please call VERONCIA WOLFE 445-6137 (H) or 443-8800 (W) if you are planning to donate any food for the Weekend. As always, your help is WELCOMED and NEEDED.

KITCHEN: Please call VERONICA WOLFE 445-6137(H) or 443-8800 (W) to volunteer either as a day steward or to help prepare a meal. Fridays are particularly hard to staff. If you are not a sponsor, nor the spouse or immediate family member of a team member participating in the Weekend and have time available, please call to offer your help.

PALANCA: GENERAL Palanca is introduced to the Candidates on Friday afternoon. Don't neglect this important type of Palanca. Try to get your PERSONAL Palanca to the Center early so that it can be sorted and evenly distributed to the Candidates and Team.

DO PALANCA FOR THE CANDIDATES AND TEAM: Palanca notes should be at the Center by Saturday a.m. of the weekend (Sponsor/Spouse/Guardian Angel by Friday p.m.). If you are a spouse, sponsor or guardian angel, indicate so on the outside of the envelope to ensure delivery to your candidate at the appropriate time. Please take the time to write extra Palanca letters addressed "Dear Babe Chick." Attach a note indicating that these letters are extras for those candidates who may be short on Palanca notes. Palanca from strangers is powerful stuff. Help the new babe chicks feel the love of our Community through Palanca.

SERENADE: Sunday - Will begin promptly at 6:00 a.m. Please do not bring children. Optional Breakfast at TeeJay's on Dublin Road immediately following the Serenade. Please join us.

CLOSING: The Closing will be Sunday, April 25, 1998, 7:00 p.m. at St. Anthony's Catholic Church, 1300 Urban Drive, Columbus, OH. To offer assistance with Closing arrangements and refreshments call Jim and Dee Dee Bradley at 891-3776. Bringing children and guests is inappropriate. Only Cursillistas should attend closings. A map to St. Anthony Church follows:



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