School of Leaders

Friends In Christ:

Today I want to explore the purpose of the School of Leaders (SOL) in the Cursillo movement. For all of my friends who here who are either non-Catholics or who have not attended one of the 3 Day Weekends, I would prayerfully ask that you ask God for the discernment as to how this material might offer practical usefulness in any other Christian endeavor. After all, we share in common the call to bring Christ to all of the ends of the earth!

Since the inception of the Cursillo Movement, the School of Leaders has gone by different names. It has been called Professors School, Leaders School, and School of Leaders. In Portugal it was even called School of Respondents. In the Cursillo Movement, today in the United States, it is the School of Leaders.

Did today’s gospel reading give us a glimpse of the perfect Cursillo School of Leaders?

“Turning to his disciples in private he said, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you,

many prophets and kings desire to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but

did not hear it.”Lk 10: 23-24

Why do I ask that? Well it has been said that in medieval times, schools were places where disciples were formed as followers of the master.

Nowadays, this evangelical significance of the word school has been forgotten. We tend to give the word to much intellectual meaning. School has been understood in the Cursillo movement in accordance with the earlier meaning. Here men and women seek ways of imitating the Master (Jesus Christ). In other words, SOL is a school of holiness.

We read in the Fundamental Ideas of Cursillo (FICM) that “the Cursillo movement originated within a School, and it was through the constant and coordinated efforts of the leaders of that school that it acquired its form as well as its drive towards growth and improvement.” (paragraph 530)The School of Leaders came first. It gave birth to Cursillo. It is an instrument of apostolic outreach to people who have lived the experience of a Cursillo weekend. It brings us together so we can take on the responsibility of being leaders in the Church, movement, and the secular environments.

There are three convergent dimensions of the School:

  • A School of Holiness
  • A School of Community
  • A School of Formation


The School is intended to be a gathering of Christians who have set out in search of holiness and who are finding their way by following and imitating their one and only teacher, Jesus Christ, united by a common experience of Cursillo. Pope John Paul II called holiness our prime and fundamental vocation.


The School should be a community of Christians united in an atmosphere of Group Reunion. The School introduces its members to the life of ecclesial communion so that they can be a sign for the world, a magnetic force drawing people towards belief in Jesus Christ. The SOL should provide a united atmosphere where there is an ideal climate for dialog because we make Christ the center of our lives. Finally, the School strives for a greater commitment by its member to the ultimate purpose of the Church…the Kingdom of God.


The School forms its members according to the union which exists from their being members of the Church and directs them to a response to the call to growth and a continual process of maturation of always bearing much fruit. Finding its blueprint in Pope John Paul II Christifideles Laici the School must, without departing from the kerygmatic approach, give its leaders a catechismal formation.

  • Spiritual Formation
  • Doctrinal Formation
  • Formation in Human Values
  • Formation of a Social Conscience
  • Formation of an Apostolate

The purpose of SOL is to intensify the living of what is fundamental for being Christian:

  • Teaches the principles
  • Provide the spirit to carry them out
  • Sound out questions or problems
  • Inspire and strengthen the core group
  • Deepen the conversation of its members
  • Prepare future leaders

The strategy of the School of Leaders is to form a community whose members are committed to spearheading core groups that will leaven with the Gospel their secular environments.

Who Should Attend

So who should attend the School of Leaders? The Leaders Manual on page 60 says “Though all Cursillistas are called to leaders in their own environments, only a small percentage of them are called to be leaders in the environments of the Cursillo Movement itself. And those who do feel called by God to be leaders in the movement are called to make serving the Cursillo Movement their primary apostalate and to give all of their spare time to it.

While the Cursillo material recommends that the SOL be held weekly, due to the size of most dioceses, it is more frequently held monthly. it is from the SOL that all team members are chosen. The SOL challenges us to grow in our friendship and community and to deepen our understanding of our faith through the Doctrinal Talks. Finally through the Techniques Talks we truly learn the meaning, purpose, methods and strategies of the Cursillo Movement as our founders desired us to know the movement as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit in its formation.

Sometimes the SOL has been misused. Attendance at the SOL was seen as a way for someone to “punch their ticket” to be able to serve on a Cursillo Team. Nothing could be further from its intentions. One attends first because they feel called by God and as a leader of the movement they are committed to growing in authentic Christ centered community to study our faith and movement to ultimately bring souls to Christ. The School should last about two hours and the agenda should include:

  • Opening Prayer and Leaders’ Group Reunion
  • Doctrinal Presentation and Discussion
  • Technique Presentation and Discussion
  • Work by the Sections
  • Section Reports and Announcements
  • Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

No Cursillo can be an authentic, functioning Cursillo Movement without an authentic, functioning SOL. The servant leaders called to SOL work to support all other Cursillistas in their quest to bring the world to Christ.Cursillo or the similar movements have been such an incredible gift and blessing to all of us, as was witnessed in the various testimonies shared the other week. Some of us in addition to being called to change the various environments in which we live, are also called to be servant leaders to this movement. Imagine how the 12 apostles sat in community, eagerly absorbing and internalizing Jesus’ teachings, this is the same spirit in which those of us who have been called to leadership should embrace the SOL. It is our opportunity to absorb and internalize the teachings of Jesus, our Church, and our movement.Just like the apostles had the chance for three years to sit at the feet of the Master and learn from Him, some of you are being called to discipleship in the movement. Are you being called?


  • Has God blessed you with the talents to be a leader in the movement?
  • Is Jesus calling you to make Cursillo your primary apostalate?
  • If you are called, are you prepared to “clear your schedule” so that you can serve the movement with 100% of your efforts?
Brian Pusateri
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