St. Elizabeth Seton Holds Cursillo Ultreya for Cursillistas

By J.C. Vega

The Ultreya event occurred Saturday morning, February 10, 2024, at the parish hall of St. Elizabeth Seton Church. Its purpose was to reunite all the “Cursillistas”, those who have made their “Cursillo”. For those who don’t know, Cursillo in Spanish means “Short Course”, and is an abbreviation for Cursillos de Cristiandad. “Short courses of Christianity” is an apostolic evangelical movement of the Catholic Church conceived in Spain between 1940 and 1949, beginning with the celebration of the so-called “First Course” from January 7 to 10, 1949 at the Monastery of Sant Honorat, Mallorca. It consists of an intensive three-day weekend of freeing yourself mentally and emotionally, while connecting with God in a deeply personal way through prayer, daily Mass, talks, group sharing, and discussions, strengthening your devotion to God and your relationship with Him and supporting others on their own journey.

An Ultreya is a post-Cursillo event intended to encourage others on their journey to a closer personal relationship with God. “Ultreya” in Spanish means “Onward and Upward!”, and it serves as a word of encouragement on our personal journey.

On Saturday February 10th 25 people who had previously made their Cursillo in locations throughout the country gathered around a big breakfast potluck. After breakfast, the attendees were given an introduction to the day’s events and were led in prayer by Joanna Smith, who explained the importance of evangelizing and how Cursillo has impacted her own life. She’s been Catholic all her life, and when she met her husband Phil, he willingly converted to the Catholic faith — without her asking him to! She was pleasantly surprised by his decision and you could see her smile light up as she explained this to the audience. Joanna made her Cursillo in November 2022, and she loved the joy and peace it brought. Even conversation with others at this event encouraged one to have more of an extensive relationship with God and to have Him more in your thoughts.

After the presentation, we broke into discussion groups to share our Cursillo experiences and the impact they have had on each of our lives. Deacon Craig was our “witness” and spoke about how he, as much of a sinner as the next person, has found joy and peace through Jesus even in his personal struggles.

He talked about how challenging it is to find peace and joy, especially during difficult times such as his wife’s death, but we must strive to be Christ to other people by demonstrating His love: praying, loving one another, and staying hopeful are the elements of peace and joy.

Deacon Marty then spoke next. He reiterated how important it was to find joy in God and that we can find happiness all around, and that true genuine joy comes from within. He loved the event and hearing and seeing everyone who had made a Cursillo sharing their experiences.

The Ultreya ended with a closing prayer and a serenade of “De Colores”, the theme song and chant of the movement, with guitarist Brian Cavanaugh and vocal support by Phil Smith. “De Colores” is a Spanish folk song which translates to “In colors”. Its significance is the expression of happiness and celebration that the world is full of many different colors. After the song and the closing prayer, the event came to an end.

Ultreyas are open to any Cursillista as well as anyone interested in making a Cursillo. In the Phoenix Diocese, Cursillos are held two or three times a year. There is a Cursillo held separately for men and women.

The next Ultreya event at St. Elizabeth Seton Church will be 9 AM – 11AM in the Parish Hall on Saturday, May 11, 2024, after the 8 AM Mass. We hope to see you there!

If you are interested in learning more about Cursillo and its local events, please contact Joanna Smith, 480-206-8359,, or Sister Mary Beverly, 480-703-5458,



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