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- Question 11
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What is a palanca?

In the Cursillo Movement we often talk about "palancas".  What does it mean?

Palanca is a Spanish word which means lever

Archimede levant la terre
"Give me a leaver and a
fulcrum and I will lift up
the Earth " (Archimedes)

A lever (palanca) is a fixed body, typically a metal bar, pivoted on a fixed fulcrum used to move or lift a load.. We use a lever to overcpalan ome a resistance.

A hoist (palanca) is a device used for lifting or lowering a load by means of a drum or lift-wheel around which rope or chain wraps. The load is attached to the hoist by means of a lifting hook.

In the Cursillo Movement, we use the word palanca to designate the spiritual force represented by voluntary prayers and sacrifices which are done individually or in community with the aim of obtaining the grace of conversion.

In the same way that the lever enables a person to lift something which is beyond his or her strength, the prayers and sacrifices allows the apostle to accomplish more than he or she could alone. The palancas help to overcome the resistance to grace for those for whom we pray.  Palancas help to make life arise in abundance.

This is a mystery of faith. To offer a palanca is to put into practice the dogma of the Communion of Saints. As mentioned by Pius XII in his Encyclical on the Mystical Body :

"It is really an awesome mystery, which we will never meditate enough, that the salvation of many is dependant on the voluntary prayers and sacrifices of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body".  

(Encyclical on the Mystical Body

All cursillistas are invited to "do palancas" especially on the occasion of cursillo weekends which are happening in their diocese.

What do we mean by "sending palancas"?

To "do palancas" is to offer prayers and sacrifices. A palanca takes place in each one’s personal inner life.

However, in the CM, cursillistas often make known their palancas in a letter to the participants of a cursillo. They also express, in that letter, their friendship and wishes for the success of the cursillo.

This is what we call "sending palancas" 

It is obvious that sending cards of good wishes, posters, or email are not in themselves palancas, (and that sending these words of friendships must not make us forget the essential : the palancas themselves). However, sending such a letter becomes often an occasion to offer palancas and this testimony of friendship can have much impact. Therefore at the MCFC, it is a custom which is strongly recommended.

Sending palancas through Internet

Since the advent of internet, sending palancas has taken different forms and dimensions.

réseau InternetHenceforth, through Internet, we can reach very easily and very quickly cursillos which are taking place in other dioceses.

And, conversely, the candidates and members of the team of a cursillo which is taking place here can also be reached from anywhere in the world.

While creating a network of prayers and sacrifices even larger, this new possibility has also the advantage of bringing to candidates, the image of universal church. They will discover that they are participating in a gathering of people in faith and charity which goes well beyond geographical borders.

Note: to invite our readers to pray for the success of Cursillo weekends and to promote the sending of palancas, we publish each week a list of the 3-day cursillos which have been brought to our attention and which are taking place in various parts of the world. See :