The forgotten Catholic alternative to Alpha

SIR – With regard to Fr David Palmer’s query about Alpha (Letter, September 15) I would like to ask him if he has heard of the Cursillo movement. This was developed after long and careful trials on the island of Majorca, but has subsequently spread across the world. It contains everything he asks for and more.

It consists of a three-day course with a local follow-up. It is lay-led with active support from clergy and Religious. Parish clergy in this country tend to fight shy of it as they think it will involve them in activities beyond their capacity. But in parishes where Cursillo has been embraced the parish priest discovers that not only is his congregation larger and more committed, but also that he has more volunteers.

I encountered the Cursillos in Christianity in Holland in 1982. I had been a Catholic for some years and was still searching for my place in the Church. I was invited by the American Nato chaplain to join him on a course he was supporting the following weekend, and my life changed forever. The years that followed were some of the best and most fulfilled in a very interesting life. I am so grateful for the exposure to life lived in Christ in Christian community, for talents discovered and hitherto unused skills put into action for the service of the Good Lord and His Church.

Cursillo was born in the 1940s for a very different Church. What is taught is still relevant and so needed today. But the time commitment, etc, needs some work to make it more acceptable for today’s busy lifestyles.

Anne Morgan-Jones (Mrs)

Calne, Wiltshire

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