Cursillo is the original three-day movement and has since been licensed for use by several mainline Christian denominations. Some of these groups retained the trademarked name. While others modified its teachings and chose a different name. Cursillo maintains a registered trademark for the National Cursillo Center in Jarrell, Texas.
Cursillo focuses on teaching Christian laypeople how to become effective Christian leaders over the course of a three-day weekend. The weekend includes fifteen talks, called rollos, presented by priests and sometimes by laypeople. The weekend focuses on participant questions, and answers by the Priests or Laypeople, and hence, taking what they learned back into the world for the “fourth day.” The method stresses personal spiritual development, as accelerated by weekly group reunions after the initial weekend. The Church of the Apostles proudly acknowledges its affiliation with this Organization.
Cursillos first appeared in Spain in 1944. A layman named Eduardo Bonnín participated in the early years of the “short courses” in Majorca and helped develop the Cursillos to the point that it became an active renewal movement in the Church. In 1957, the movement spread to North America, when the first American Cursillo function occurred in Waco, Texas
Until 1961, the Spanish language was the only language used at the meetings. That year the first English-speaking weekend occurred in San Angelo, Texas. The movement spread rapidly with the early centers carrying the Cursillo to a nearby diocese, and therefore, by 1981, almost all of the 160 dioceses in the United States introduced this Movement.
The Cursillo Movement in the United States became organized on a national basis in 1965. The National Secretariat formed and the National Cursillo Office (currently in Jarrell, Texas) opened. Cursillo became joined to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops via the liaison of Bishop Emeritus Carlos A. Sevilla S.J. from the Diocese of Yakima, and through the Bishops’ Secretariat for the Laity in Washington, D.C. The Reverend. Alex Waraksa, The spiritual adviser for the movement in the United States, maintains an office in the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Finally, Cursillo, recognized and honored by the Holy See, became a member of the International Catholic Organizations of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome.