Two things helped me through that weekend and helped me get the most out of it. One was the advice I was given beforehand, which I described in a talk I gave to a Cursillo crowd a few years later:
I was told the weekend would be a good thing, but, like most of you, I didn’t have a clear idea of what it was all about. I also had been told to take away from it whatever seemed useful and to not worry about the rest. Oh, and I had been told I would probably hate the music.I did hate the music, by the way.
The other saving grace was the presence of a priest who was notably more liberal than the other clergy involved in putting on the weekend. I had someone I could talk to openly and without embarrassment.
Despite some ambivalence toward Cursillo, I have served on several teams that have run weekends, and I think I made significant contributions to the success of those programs. Under former Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan—in a diocese, Cursillo operates under the auspices of the bishop—I saw Pittsburgh Episcopal Cursillo become increasingly conservative and devoted, cult-like, to its sponsor. Unsurprisingly, I found myself not being invited to be a member of Cursillo teams.
When the followers of Bob Duncan (who had, by that time, been deposed by The Episcopal Church) voted to remove the Diocese of Pittsburgh from its parent church, most of those active in Cursillo in the diocese left The Episcopal Church and, necessarily, the Cursillo movement within The Episcopal Church. I am still receiving e-mail messages about events sponsored by “Pittsburgh Episcopal Cursillo,” but that name is a misnomer. The events are products of the “Anglican” Pittsburgh diocese lead by Archbishop Robert Duncan and conducted, no doubt, using funds and materials properly belonging to our Episcopal diocese.
In these circumstances, reviving Cursillo in the Episcopal diocese has been on the to-do list of rebuilding activities to be accomplished, though it has been the responsibility of no one in particular. No more. Cursillista Celinda Scott—Cursillo uses lots of funny words that are a product of its Spanish beginnings—who recently rotated off the Standing Committee, asked and received permission from that body to begin a revival of Cursillo in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. An initial meeting to chart a path forward has been announced by the diocese. It will take place this Thursday at the diocesan office, and Bishop Kenneth Price, a Cursillista and provisional bishop of the diocese, will be in attendance.
Cursillo could have a bright future training leaders in our diocese, and I hope that it can become a centrist, non-political player in the rebuilding of a strong Episcopal presence in Southwestern Pennsylvania. There is much work before us.
Links of Interest: