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History > 4.The Movement Takes Shape

The Movement Takes Shape

The Group Reunion

How the Group Reunion was instituted by necessity, and then from Eduardo’s intuition and one of his observations.

5 amisTo anyone who has researched the history of the MC, it is obvious that the Movement was born from a group of people. It was a group of people who created the Movement and not the Movement which created the groups. Until 1949, after their experience, the participants to a Cursillo kept on meeting and talking together and had frequent friendly and intense gatherings which had no structure at all. And in those, Eduardo saw the essence of the post-cursillo.

Seeing the fast pace of the Cursillos after January 1949, the founders started to think of a new type of post-cursillo for the candidates who did not join Catholic Action. Gradually, the Group Reunion method came about from a simple event. On a Monday, while on Plaza Mayor of Palma, Eduardo was listening to young men talking with enthusiasm about their weekend, their adventures with girls ... which were not their sisters adds maliciously Eduardo. It was from that moment that he started dreaming of holding get togethers with his friends which would be just as spontaneous and enthusiastic but with more serious subjects. So was instituted the Group Reunion: a weekly get together of sharing between friends, about one’s contacts with God, one’s spiritual quest and one’s apostolical action.

The acceptance of the new method was not easy. It was feared that a collective spiritual direction would distract from the spiritual direction given by a priest as instructed by C.A. for all its members. However, Eduardo and Father Gayá were convinced that friendship sharing within groups was a vital need for christians, and that is why they fought so hard for the small groups. At the end of 1949, during the Annual Meeting, the Group Reunion was incorporated as a specific and essential element of the Cursillo method.

Origin of the Ultreya

How the Ultreya was instituted to fraternize within larger groups, to open up to the Church and for mutual support.

amisWhen all cursilistas were joining C.A., perseverance was not a problem since they were supported by the School of Leaders and they also received support at the weekly meetings. But when the Movement was offered at large, the Group Reunion did not fulfill the cursillistas’ desires to fraternize with more than their small groups. Furthermore, the Group Reunion was not enough to make people conscious of the reality of the Church; it could on the contrary create ghettos. Thence came the idea of establishing weekly meetings, opened to all cursillistas, no matter which group they belonged to. The results of the gatherings would be like the meeting of pilgrims on the road to Compostela which they had lived the previous year. It would be a gathering to encourage one another and to share the joy of being united in the same pilgrimage.

"Ultreya"is an ancient spanish word used by Compostela pilgrims as a salutation and encouragement on the path. This word, most likely from the latin ultra , meant "Onward", and was used to name one of the C.A.’s bulletins. It was only in 1953 that "Ultreya" was used as the name of a meeting.

A Training School

The "School of Professors": unpretending and aimed at the rollos.
Under Eduardo’s guidance, basic documents are concieved for the School.

teamworkThe school which gave birth to the Movement was first named School of Professors (at first the presentors were called professors) and took over from the School of Leaders of Catholic Action. For years, the school was restricted to those selected by the diocesan council. - The mentality of the time, and especially within the Church, was far from being democratic. - Still, the original thought was to build the School as a meeting place, a place for coordination and for thinking for those who had a role of leadership within the Movement. In reality, for many years, the School for Professors was strictly a place of rehearsal for the presentors. It was reduced to its bare minimum.

Eduardo finally agreed with this type of School because then, the much more spontaneous Ultreya was going well, and he secretly hoped to be able to change the School some day. To reach his goal, he held multiple small meetings with the most influent people to reflect on the Movement. He set up informal meetings with them in his office. The documents prepared by the group of researchers had a large influence. The authors were very conscious of the fact that their texts had to be revised by the ever vigilant Father Capó. To comply with his strict demands, they had to rework their texts again and again. Finally, this group of thinkers brought about one of the most important texts of the cursillista literature.  It served as a basic documents not only for the School of Professors of that time but also, later on, for the book "Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement".