The Via de Cristo is designed for those Christians who, having been informed of the aim of the Via de Cristo method, believe the Via de Cristo can strengthen them in their faith and bring them closer to Christ in their ministries. In short, the person who attends a Via de Cristo should recognize that being a Christian involves responsibility for apostolic endeavor, and should therefore have both the human foundation and moral reserve to accept this responsibility. Single men or women may attend a Via de Cristo. For married couples, ideally the husband and wife should attend consecutive weekends. If that is not possible, it is still preferred that the husband attend prior to the wife.
Via de Cristo is ecumenical, and any weekend should fins a mixture of attendees from various Christian churches. There will be people like yourself, who are curious, searching, discovering and growing.
Included will be team laymen or women who spend weeks working and praying together preparing for the weekend, and becoming a community.
Spiritual Directors - pastors who serve as part of the team, will be present. The laymen and clergy who comprise the team spend weeks working together preparing their talks. It takes careful planning because the time is short and the subject extensive. People from all walks of life grow closer to one another during the Via de Cristo. They listen, discuss, sleep, eat, and sing in a jovial, family atmosphere.
"On Thursday night I walked into what looked like an ordinary building. When I left on Sunday, I walked out of a palace."
"Going into my weekend, I felt my life consisted of many walls; many barriers. leaving Sunday evening, I looked back and saw nothing but crumbled walls."
"My friend told me the food was good. He was right. You can't compare soul food with anything else.
"I feel like I have been plugged into a power source."
What happened to them happens to many who attend a Via de Cristo weekend. Everyone receives something different from their weekend experience.
Cursillo began in Spain in the late 1940's, and came to the states a few years later. It began in the Lutheran church when lay people and clergy attended a Catholic Cursillo in 1971. In 1972, totally unaware of each other, two Lutheran Cursillos were held within one month of each other. The first was in Miami, Florida, and the second in Atlantic, Iowa. Once they discovered each other, plans were made to bring them together, along with some others.
In 1986, Lutheran Cursillo was changed to Via de Cristo as a commitment to ecumenism.
Today, there are about forty secretariats (Via de Cristo communities) in the United States, plus Costa Rica, Finland, New Guinea, Latvia and Bolivia.
Prairie Sonshine Via De Cristo of Central IL. © 2013 |
Prairie Sonshine Via De Cristo of Central IL.
Via de Cristo, a Spanish phrase meaning "The Way of Christ", is a short course in Christianity. It is a three day experience that takes a New Testament Look at Christianity as a life style. It is a highly structured weekend, designed to help Christians examine their faith and through their faith impact their environments for Christ. Via de Cristo is presented as a combined effort of laity and clergy and is ecumenical in nature.
A Via de Cristo weekend is not: a revival meeting, group therapy, sensitivity training, a church school, or personal retreat.
The basic atmosphere of a Via de Cristo differs greatly from the individual solitude of a retreat. It is a very structured weekend, where the teachings of Christ are discussed in an atmosphere of joy.
The Via de Cristo weekend begins on a Thursday evening and ends on Sunday evening. During your three days, you live and study together with enthusiastic singing, spontaneous fellowship, meaningful worship, and personal and corporate prayer.
The Via de Cristo is centered around 14 talks, four given by clergy and ten by laity. After each talk, small group table discussions focus on the main points of the talk. These talks present various aspects of the Christian life, based on the person and teaching of Jesus Christ as an ideal. Via de Cristo offers those in attendance a living and personal understanding of basic Christian truths. The talks include: Ideals, Habitual Grace, Laity, Actual Grace, Piety, Study, Graceful Days, Action, Obstacles to Grace, Leaders, Environment, Life in Grace, Christian Community in Action, and Total Security in the Fourth Day.
Participants on each weekend will find that Via de Cristo offers a potential for personal growth, an experience of Christian community, a tool of renewal for the church, an opportunity for discovering more of the meaning of life, and a sharing in the creative process of becoming, recognizing that we are "fellow strugglers" not "finished products."
They will also discover that Via de Cristo can be a launching pad to encourage action in the church, in the world and discover a focus of responsibility and mission beyond Via de Cristo.
After the weekend experience, attendees are commonly called pilgrims. After the three days is the fourth day - the balance of the pilgrims' life on earth. During this time they are expected to apply the fervor and spirituality which the Via de Cristo has generated in them to bring others to Christ.
The community spirit is continued after the weekend through reunions of small groups of men or women who meet weekly to encourage one another in their quest for spiritual improvement and their ministries.
Periodic area wide celebrations give all pilgrims a chance to meet and renew the spirit of a Via de Cristo weekend.
A Via de Cristo is made only once in a lifetime, but after a Via de Cristo one may serve on a team if desired.