What is an “Ultreya”? It’s a Spanish word, derived from the original Latin, meaning Onward! It was in common use by pilgrims to greet and to encourage one another along the way. In the Arlington Cursillo community, it’s typically a gathering of people at a parish or for all Cursillistas in our diocese.
Typically, an Ultreya in the Arlington Diocese consists of a sharing of a faith journey; music; group reunion with three to five other attendees; food; and prayer and intentions. The sharing may sound something like this witness by Joyce Metzler of Fredericksburg:
Note: Joyce Metzler, who was part of the 132nd Women’s Weekend at Missionhurst in Arlington March 17-20, 2011, talked about the experience at a Cursillo InfoNight at her parish, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Fredericksburg.
Hello. My name is Joyce Metzler, and I made my Cursillo St. Patrick’s Day weekend in 2011 at Missionhurst in Northern Virginia. For me, Cursillo has been such an opportunity for me to grow in my faith, more than I thought I could, and it all began when I said “yes” to going on the Weekend after being invited at the St. Mary’s Parish Stewardship Fair.
When I first arrived on Thursday evening, I have to admit I was a bit nervous; even the usual outgoing person I am felt like the kid on the first day of school, nervous and excited all at once. I knew very little about what was to take place that weekend. But the few other people from Cursillo I knew seemed to be on fire for Christ—I wanted to be like that, to emulate that. But I needed help, and knew the Cursillo community could get me there.
During the first evening, we heard a talk by Kathy, our spiritual director, and were asked to take an inventory of our life and examine it against our relationship with Christ. “How would you rate your intimacy with Christ?” she asked us.
I thought that I really didn’t know how to answer that question, and felt I must be the only one in the room with such a blank response in my mind. Later Thursday evening, we were told we couldn’t speak to one another for the rest of the evening—have you ever not spoken at all for several hours on end? Well, I never had, but it hit me quickly why we went through this exercise—so I could really take that inventory of my spiritual self, to think about how I had come to where I was and where I wanted to go with Christ. There were many opportunities for personal reflection throughout the weekend, but that first night was the first time I had been asked such a resounding and straightforward question on a topic I usually reserved for private prayer.
On Friday, we were able to hear sincere and heartfelt witnesses from those who made up the team, and to discuss our reactions to the talk with our table. That first night of anxiousness, excitement, and silent personal reflection were the perfect introduction to what was to be an unforgettable weekend where I learned to share my faith with others and to vocalize my spirituality with other Catholics.
I can tell you looking back that I have grown in leaps and bounds in my relationship with Christ since Cursillo, because of Cursillo. In Father Rooney’s homily a few weeks ago, he said, “If you’re not growing in your faith, you might as well be dead!” If you want to grow in your faith, if you want to be able to answer in the affirmative that you have a positive, enriching, and spiritually nourishing intimacy with Christ, I urge you to consider making your Cursillo in the coming months and becoming part of an awesome Catholic community.