It was 23 years ago that I said YES to my sponsors and boarded that big yellow bus parked on 5th Street in Conshohocken. I was eager and trusting. I hopped up to my seat and looked forward to the surprises that God had waiting for me-wherever I was going.I have said YES to another invitation- the position as Lay Director. I feel I may have boarded yet another kind of bus: I am trusting and eager to be in service.
With prayer and trust in God, and with you as my community, I accepted in February the invitation as Lay Director of Philadelphia Cursillo. March 1, 2015 marked the beginning of my service: a 3 year apostolate as lay director. I know that my ability to lead is in direct proportion to my openness to God’s grace and to God’s humble spirit of service to others. For this, I will need your prayers, your friendship, your guidance and patience. You are my companions on this journey.
I met my first cursillo companions long before my weekend. For years my sponsors were watching, waiting, listening and praying. I remember hoping that I would be invited to this ‘special prayer group,’ but I wasn’t so bold to ask or confident I would be worthy. In 1993 I became part of the Cursillo community. I was quickly humbled when I realized I needed to get serious about my faith: I didn’t know the answer to that most important question! It was October 29, 1993, and I sat at St. Matthew’s table (Sts. Philip & James Parish) in the rollo room of St. Mary of Providence Retreat House in Elverson, Pa. On that Thursday night of silence, the cursillo community became part of me. I looked around and found God friends, people engaged in that intimate conversation about our ‘Godness.’ A great AHHHHH settled in. All these years later and I am still so thankful for my sponsors, table leader, rectora and team. And most especially, I am thankful for you, the cursillo community that is in consistent effort to grow the kingdom of God right HERE, right NOW. We are all on that bus together!
So onward to the kingdom we go! I look forward to working diligently, in body and spirit, to serve the Philadelphia Cursillo and assist in fulfilling its mission.
Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, That Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain. Prayer of Jabez 1 Chron 4:10
Pope Francis’s presence among us was truly a blessing. Mention of this visit has infiltrated just about every conversation we have had --- with Catholic and non-Catholic alike. It’s one of those events that we should ponder in our own minds and reflect over in our own hearts. But it’s time to ask ourselves: “Now What?”.
In Washington, New York and Philadelphia, we listened as Pope Francis proclaimed loudly and clearly that all of us have been called by our baptism to be evangelizers, i.e., to bring the Good News of Jesus to others. A difficult task, indeed, but it is, with God’s help, our task. And we are to do this as a community of believers, supporting one another and learning from one another.
With the joy that this past week has given us, we look to the Holy Father who has challenged us with his messages, teachings and homilies. And, we are definitely called to respond.
These three aspects of our future --- evangelization, community, Church teachings --- should be a priority in our Christian lives, in our Cursillo lives.
Cursillo, by its very nature, sends us out to proclaim in word and action, the Good News of Jesus (EVANGELIZATION), and we do so together (COMMUNITY) all the while deepening our knowledge and understanding of the Gospel (CHURCH TEACHINGS) and building up and strengthening our community.
In light of all this, I invite you to the next School of Leaders Session at which Fr Martin McGeough, C.M. will be a presenter. This Session will take place on Saturday, October 24th, beginning at 9:00 am and ending in time for the 12:05 pm Mass in the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. We will meet in St. Catherine’s Building of St. Vincent’s Seminary, 500 East Chelten Ave., Phila., PA 19144. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Fr. Jack Kane, C.M.
I am Father Gasper Genuardi, known to many as Fr. Gappy. I am honored to be appointed the spiritual director of the English speaking Cursillo in Philadelphia.
Many years ago, I made my Cursillo Weekend. Cursillo profoundly impacted me and it is one of the reasons I am still a priest today. I met my friend, Jesus, there and my life has never been the same.
Do you remember your cursillo? Do you remember the moment you heard the message and accepted the invitation to be a living witness to the love of Jesus? How are you affecting your environment today; at home, at the office, especially at the parish?
The Cursillo method comes to us through our fourth day and helps us to answer those questions. It helps us to live our Christian calling to be ‘gospel’ in our environments. My life as a cursillista has been filled with making friends, being a friend, and bringing those friends to Jesus. My environments have been in my family, and in the 14 parishes I have served. I can go into almost any parish and say, ‘De Colores,’ and find a lector, an usher, or at least someone who has made a cursillo.
As Christian leaders we must look for opportunities to share Jesus’ message of love with others. Although we live life among the hustle and bustle of fast paced technologies and information, cursillo slows us and connects us to one another in its basic method of sharing our prayer, study and action.
Our Holy Father Francis is a beautiful example for a cursillo- fostering prayer, witnessing Jesus’ love and compassion, proclaiming our Catholic faith, and evangelizing those we meet each day.
I ask you to continue to be gospel. Do great little things well for Jesus, wherever you are planted. For our cursillo movement to flourish, we still need you to say yes to work a weekend. We need you to make palanca every day with your prayers and sacrifices. And we need you to reach out to make friends, be a friend, and bring that friend to Jesus. “Christ has no body now but yours.” Please pray for the upcoming weekends, for the team and for the candidates.
I close with a prayer by a very young old person.
Lord, now that I am growing old, keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody’s lives. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details: give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and the love of rehearsing them is growing sweeter as the years go by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken. Keep me reasonably sweet: a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see beauty in unexpected places and splendor in unexpected people. Amen.
If you and I can grow older with that kind of spirit, we will live stay young forever. ‘Seeing God’s beauty in unexpected places and God’s splendor in unexpected people,’ we can grow our cursillo community.