When I think about my Cursillo experience, I am reminded of what the Lord said to the prophet Habakkuk in about 600 B.C. as the Chaldeans were about to take over Jerusalem:
“Look over the nations and see, and be utterly amazed! For a work is being done in your days that you would not have believed, were it told.” (Habakkuk 1:5)
I started my Cursillo experience in March of 1984, mainly because of a peace and happiness I witnessed in a football coach I worked with at Helias Catholic High School.
I heard he had made a Cursillo, and my wife and sponsor said I needed it.
What I came home with was a method to achieve that peace and happiness which included a lifestyle change that I have enjoyed for the past 35 years.
I am utterly amazed and thankful for the work God has done and continues to do as I live out my fourth day.
On that weekend, God gave me an authentic ideal of making Him the center of my life.
He promised me the grace to help make that happen.
Through the help of the team, I was presented a threefold process of Piety, Study and Action so I could achieve my ideal.
They also gave me a method of small grouping and ultreya to stay committed to this process.
So as I left that Sunday evening, I felt like I had the tools to achieve this peace I was looking for and I trusted in the process.
When I returned home to Jefferson City, my sponsor and I started on our journey.
It was not quite as simple as the team had presented. We had difficulty finding others to join our group.
We tried changing times and sponsoring other men but nothing seemed to help.
Fortunately there was another group meeting in St. Peter Church where we were and they had been meeting for over 10 years. Their example gave us hope to keep persevering and forced us to rely on God’s help to make this key ingredient of grouping a reality.
We also had an active ultreya we could attend each month, which gave us encouragement and support.
After five years, in 1989, I took a new job in Columbia and happened to be on a Cursillo team the same year we moved.
I met a man on the Cursillo weekend who was from Columbia and needed a group. He and I started grouping on Friday mornings at Sacred Heart Church, but again we ran into difficulty getting more group members.
We changed the time to Saturday mornings and added a few new members. With God’s help, this new time seemed to work.
Now we have a stable group of eight to 10 members who meet each week and go through the process of piety, study and action, all seeking the same ideal of drawing closer to God.
These men have inspired me to make churchgoing a daily occurrence instead of a weekly obligation.
They have encouraged me to pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet daily and make visits to the Blessed Sacrament.
The group also inspired me to read religious books by Catholic authors such as Scott Hahn and Matthew Kelly, and other faith-enrichment material.
I was encouraged to do the daily Bible readings, which has changed my life. I can hardly start a day now without reading the
Scripture readings and meditating on their message.
Finally, these men through their example have showed me how to bring Christ to others.
They have challenged me to start Bible studies, help with RCIA, adult education, marriage preparation and do service work for the parish and community.
I even was blessed to teach theology at my alma mater, Helias Catholic High School, for the last 11 years of my career.
What started out to be a weekend of trying to find some peace and happiness in my life has turned out to be a lifelong experience of attaining that joy through the help of my Cursillo friends.
I am truly amazed and would not have believed it if I had been told on that Thursday evening in March of 1984 this experience would guide my life the rest of my days and bring me the joy I have experienced.
All I can say is “Thank You!” and “God is good all the time!”
I am truly excited about staying on this incredible journey and what the future may bring.
Mr. Dunn presented this reflection at the Cursillo School of Leaders in June of this year.