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Cursillo Movement > World expansion > in Latin America

The Cursillo Movement in Latin America


The Cursillo Movement has been introduced in South America in 1953, five years after the first official Cursillo in Majorca. Ten years later, it could be found all over the continent. Latin American countries have joined together to form, in 1970, the first international group, the GLCC: LATIN AMERICAN GROUP


19 Countries are affiliated to the GLCC:


Some highlights (**)

  • The first American country to host the Cursillo Movement was COLOMBIA, in 1953. Fr Gabriel Fernandez, head of Catholic Action of Colombia, went to Mallorca in 1952, experienced a Cursillo weekend, and returned home determined to establish it in his country as soon as possible. Not only was it the first cursillo weekend outside of Spain, but it was the first ever cursillo for Women, and that aroused much controversy.

    The MC of MEXICO came from Colombia, Texas and Spain, in 1957. In 1962, Father Francisco Suárez and Eduardo Bonnin traveled several times to Mexico, and together they toured the major cities giving cursillo weekends, helping to deploy and meet with leaders of the Mexican CM. It was in Mexico, that same year, that Eduardo Bonnin and Francisco Forteza published "Vertebración de Ideas", an important work on the essence of the cursillo method and the founding charism but that nobody had dared to publish in Spain and has been subject of much dispute.

  • The Cursillo Movement started in BOLIVIA, in 1957, in the Diocese of La Paz.

  • The Cursillo was founded in PERU in 1958.

  • In VENEZUELA, the CM is known for its remarkable dynamism. A few years after its foundation, in 1959, this country could already supply teams to many countries : Miami and Argentina (1962), Chile (1963), Costa Rica (1964), Paraguay (1966), etc. It is probably the best organized country of Latin America : not only does it have its own Cursillo House, but it also administers a Publishing House which publishes the magazine "Tripode" and two religious book per month.
    The culprit of this extraordinary development is Fr. Cesáreo Gil (whose cause for canonization was introduced in Rome) who has been the spiritual leader for 30 years of Venezuela Cursillo Movement. Having given cursillos in many countries, he founded the International Cursillo Review "Testimonio" and contributed to the development of international structures of the Cursillo Movement. It is he who inspired the publication of "The Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement"

  • PUERTO RICO. Two particularities worth mentioning : For one, the Spiritual Adviser is the same one since the foundation in 1961, and it is none other than Father Jaime Capo, brother of Father Juan Capo, pioneer of the CM; and then it is, without a doubt, the diocese in the world which gives the most Cursillos, that is one every two weeks, year long.

  • The Cursillo Movement started in PANAMA in 1961.

  • Founded in 1962, the Cursillo Movement in BRAZIL is among the countries where it has the most widely spread. It has 224 Diocesan Secretariats. In recent years, much emphasis has been given in Brazil on the postcursillo to ensure that the CM is in communion with active and effective pastoral guidance of the Church.
    While seat of the Cursillo Movement World Organization (OMCC) from 2002 to 2006, Brazil has had two major achievements: the official recognition by Rome of the OMCC Statute and the organization in 2005 of the Sixth World Encounter.

  • After a first Cursillo in 1958 which was short-lived, the first official Cursillo in ARGENTINA was held in 1962. (see MCC de Argentina - historia) Since then, more than 4,000 other weekends have been given, and the CM is now active in 56 of its 62 dioceses. Cursillistas from Quilmes, B.A., have put on Editorial DeColores, a website worthy of mention. It makes a significant contribution in the current debate on the history and the foundational charism of the Cursillo Movement.

  • The Cursillo Movement continues to spread like wildfire in South America. 1962 also marks the founding of the CM in GUATEMALA

  • 1962: Founding of the CM in DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

  • 1962: Founding of the CM in EL SALVADOR

  • 1963: Founding of the CM in CHILE.

  • 1963: Founding of the CM in NICARAGUA.

  • 1964: Founding of the CM in COSTA RICA.

  • 1964: Founding of the CM in HONDURAS.

  • 1966: Founding of the CM in PARAGUAY.

  • 1970: Founding of the CM in GUYANA.

  • 1972: Founding of the CM in URUGUAY.

  • The most recent Latin American country to implement the CM is CUBA. The foundation took place in March 1998. A Jesuit priest, Father Augustine Toranzo, Cursillo spiritual leader to Panama, was assigned to the Diocese of Cienfuegos in Cuba. The CM was introduced with the blessing of the Bishop, Monsignor Emilio Aranguren, and the help of fellow cursillistas from Panama. Since 1998, more than 50 cursillo weekends have been given.

Some statistics (to supplement and update)
# of
# of
# of
Argentina 56 1962 4153 166,150
Bolivia 7 1957 1435 21,160
Brazil 224 1962 ? 3,461,540
Chile 24 1963 ? 62,000
Colombia 53 1953 2571 77,140
Costa Rica 4 1964 692 27,690
Cuba 1 1988 50 200
Ecuador 13 1961 685 34,000
El Salvador 8 1962 318 11,490
Guatemala 9 1962 918 36,000
Guyana 1 1970 53 1,101
Honduras 7 1964 566 18,416
Mexico 79 1957 10322 529,032
Nicaragua 7 1963 260 9,114
Panama 6 1961 600 15,300
Paraguay 10 1966 544 18,967
Peru 18 1958 ? ?
Puerto Rico 5 1961 4111 205.555
Rép. Domin. 9 1962 1731 69,230
Uruguay 7 1972 116 3,966
Venezuela 24 1959 3832 123,724
TOTAL (partial) 571   32,957 5,091,575


(*) For more information (with names and addresses of the leaders) see: Directory-OMCC-2012, pp.8-13
(**) Main sources: the National Secretariats websites (cf. Cursillo Worldwide Directory - Catholic Cursillos in Latin America)
+ Cesareo Gill reports on the history of MC, Revista Trípode, Venezuela.