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The Way and The Eagle May 2016

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As I write this letter in the mellow season of Eastertide, I am reflecting on how different this period is for us in the southern hemisphere. There is a sense of melancholy, of ending or even of death as we face the winter ahead. We might seem a bit stuck in the Crucifixion mood. Unlike our brothers and sisters in the northern hemisphere, we must endure many months of cold and darkness ahead before we can look forward to new life in spring. The feeling of Resurrection seems a long way off, even though we have already passed Easter on the calendar.

President’s Letter

Dear Friends,

 As I write this letter in the mellow season of Eastertide, I am reflecting on how different this period is for us in the southern hemisphere. There is a sense of melancholy, of ending or even of death as we face the winter ahead. We might seem a bit stuck in the Crucifixion mood. Unlike our brothers and sisters in the northern hemisphere, we must endure many months of cold and darkness ahead before we can look forward to new life in spring. The feeling of Resurrection seems a long way off, even though we have already passed Easter on the calendar.

And yet, our Creator consoles us with a palette of colours before we enter the tomb of winter. Our region truly shows us the meaning of our song, De Colores, at this time of year! I am sitting in my garden under a magnificent golden ash and feeling the warmth of an unseasonably warm autumn. This in itself is a mixed blessing, as it also reminds me that the climate is changing and of the need for us to take more care of our environment. We can be proud that Pope Francis is one of the world leaders warning of the danger of ignoring the needs of our common home, the planet, as enunciated in his encyclical, Laudato Si.

 In Cursillo, the year is turning out quite differently to what was planned at the beginning. Changing circumstances have necessitated rethinking our scheduled events, in this our 50th year. Despite best efforts, the Men’s Cursillo weekend has had to be cancelled. The Canberra Women’s Cursillo has also been postponed until May 2017, so as to avoid proximity to the main celebrations for the Golden Anniversary of Cursillo in the Archdiocese. I am sorry about these changes and regret any disappointment caused. The good news is that the Western Deanery Women’s Cursillo will go ahead as planned, from 25-28 August at Galong, led by Marie Ryan and her team. They will appreciate your prayer support as they commence formation and also your invitations to potential candidates.

 Details of the activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary in October are provided in this newsletter and I encourage you to be informed and to set aside the dates. We are also relying on you to advise any Cursillo friends you may have, who are not currently on our mailing list. Our archdiocesan newspaper The Catholic Voice has included a major spread on our anniversary in the May edition, so keep an eye out for that. I thank Joe Jambor for coordinating this publicity as well as Joy Harmer, John Duck and Jo Rummery for their contributions. One of the foundational principles of Cursillo is Friendship, and that is what an occasion like this celebrates. Some of my dearest friends are people I’ve met through Cursillo and I look forward to meeting up with them again in October. The beauty of Cursillo is that we make friends on a deeper level, a spiritual level, because of our friendship with Christ. Even when we haven’t seen each other for a while, we can reconnect instantly and there is great joy in that.

This year I have another occasion to celebrate, which will enable me to escape the cold Canberra winter for a couple of weeks in July. I expect by now you have gathered that I’m not a fan of cold weather! Together with two of my younger sons, I will travel to Boulder, Colorado to celebrate the marriage of my eldest son, Christian to his lovely Alice. Both are environmentalists professionally, who put into practice their beliefs and values of trying to reduce their footprint on the earth. They live simply, they consume as little as possible in terms of material goods and have a great love of nature, spending as much time as possible in the outdoors. I admire the courage of their convictions and they certainly make me think about the way I live my own life. Recently I read an article which posed the question:

 What does the earth ask of you? Perhaps this is a question for all of us.

 The link between our faith and the seasons of nature is explored in the beautiful poem, The Eyes of Jesus, by my favourite Celtic spiritual writer, John O’Donohue, in his book Benedictus. I include an extract here:


I imagine the eyes of Jesus were harvest-brown.

The light of their gazing, suffused with the seasons.

 The shadow of winter, the mind of spring,

 The blues of summer and amber of harvest. 

A gaze that is perfect sister 

To the kindness that dwells in his beautiful hands. 

The eyes of Jesus gaze on us, stirring in the heart’s clay.

The confidence of seasons that never lose their way to harvest. 

This gaze knows the signature of our heartbeat, 

the first glimmer from the dawn that dreamed our minds.

Until next time, I wish you the joy of the season.


De Colores


Reflection from our Spiritual Director

Our common vision as a Cursillo movement is to discover the person of Jesus who walks in our midst often unseen and unacknowledged. Many books have been written and many talks given, which try to explore who this person is and how he adds a new context through which to live our lives. These are way marks along our journey. They can help us to know the map which most easily leads to discover the context and landscape in which we travel. In exploring the way others have travelled we can learn what obstacles are commonly faced, where there are points which offer us refreshment and what can lead us into desert lands. Maps are necessary and useful aids to the Christian life but they do not replace the need for us to explore the landscape not just in theory but also in practice.


The international Conversations held in Majorca during May help us to revisit this map and how it has assisted us to reach this point in our history. These are important moments not only to acknowledge what is fundamental to Cursillo but how it continues to assist us to grow in a relationship of faith with each other. There is also a need to recognise that the journey is never just about our destination but about the people we encounter on the way. How do we see Christ in each other? How do we see Christ in our community? How do we see Christ in our world?

There are often contradictions that we can face which while we have a global vison it is possible to retreat into our own private world and become solitary. There is a possible to see the world as provided solely for our benefit and that people are encountered not as pilgrims but as commodities. We can enter into relationships which are transitory rather than eternal and where we can see people as utilities rather than as souls. These dangers confront us when we miss the point of the incarnation which sees us as body and spirit. We are called to be for the glory of God in the way we live and how we become present to our current age.

The central questions which seem to be present in any time when we gather as a Cursillo movement are how we do not allow ourselves to become privatised and removed from the daily rough and tumble of life. Cursillo does not exist for itself but so that people can encounter Christ in each other. They call us to be people who pray, study and act in a way which reflects that encounter. This is never a solitary journey but one in which we are called to walk with each other. How does our common life embody the person of Christ? How do our hearts burn within us as we journey along the way?

De Colores                   


Fr. John


Western Deanery Women’s Cursillo

Team training will commence mid-May for the next Women’s Cursillo to be held at Galong from 25–28 August with a great group of ladies from Temora, Young, Harden, Grenfell, Canberra and Cootamundra with Fr Mick Burke from Yass as our Spiritual Director.

We ask for prayers and Palanca for our team as we journey through our preparation and also to consider inviting candidates from your parishes to attend the Cursillo weekend.

 Palanca and enquiries for application forms can be sent to Marie Ryan at 9 Matilda Ave Cootamundra NSW 2590, Ph 02 6942 3661 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jeanne Montgomery at 02 6343 2866 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

De Colores

 Marie Ryan


Lay Director


 Cursillo 50th Anniversary Celebrations

The Movement's golden anniversary, in 2016, is a special time of celebration - of giving thanks. We give thanks for God's blessings that has enabled people to experience Cursillo in their lives for the past 50 years. We give thanks for the past efforts of many people that have contributed towards the continuation of the Cursillo Movement in the Archdiocese. Planned activities and initiatives to celebrate the past 50 years of Cursillo in the Archdiocese include:

 A feature article on 50 years of Cursillo in the Catholic Voice

The May issue of the newspaper Catholic Voice featured a centrefold article on 50 years of Cursillo in the Archdiocese. Thanks to all who contributed to this article. You can access an electronic version on the web on A further article later in the year is planned which will highlight celebrations activities.

 Celebration Mass, luncheon and social afternoon - Sunday 23 October, 2016

A special Mass will be at 11.00 am at St Christopher's Cathedral, Manuka celebrated by Archbishop Prowse. This will be followed by a luncheon and a social get together at St Benedict's Parish Hall in Narrabundah. The success of this celebration depends on your support. As a suggestion why not contact cursillistas from your weekend to arrange a get together and reunion on this day. Further information on arrangements will be provided in the coming weeks. Please put this date in your diaries. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for catering purposes, if you can attend the lunch, which will be free of charge.

 Cursillo spirituality live in weekend - Friday 28 October 2016 to Sunday 30 October, 2016, Warrambui Retreat Centre, Murrumbateman

It is proposed to have a special spirituality weekend which will look at the connections between the teaching of Pope Francis and the spirituality of the Cursillo Movement. The weekend is not restricted to just cursillistas and hopefully will have a wider appeal. It will include a variety of activities including morning and evening prayer, daily Mass, an opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, meditations and reflections on the teachings of Pope Francis. Further information on the spirituality weekend will be provided shortly.

Fun times at the Cursillo Revisited, 2014.

Other activities

Complementing these planned activities locally based activities (e.g. Ultreyas) could provide an opportunity for all cursillistas near and far to be involved. To ensure the coordination of all activities please provide details of any planned local activities to either Merran Martin (Tel: (02) 6258 3431 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Joe Jambor (Tel: (02) 6242 7332 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Cursillo 50th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet and Audio Visual Presentation

It is planned to recognise the important milestone of 50 years of Cursillo in the Archdiocese with a commemorative booklet. This project is being coordinated by Joe Jambor. The booklet will include details of teams and candidates from Cursillo weekends held in the last 50 years as well as images of weekends, special Cursillo events and social activities. To date Joe has collected 84 photo images of Cursillo weekends held in the Archdiocese. It is estimated that about 70 photos/images of Cursillo weekends are missing. Joe needs the help of all cursillistas in locating missing photos/images from recent Cursillo weekends.

Please search your photo albums, computers etc for missing photos or image of the following weekends:

  • Canberra Women's Cursillo weekends: 2013, 2011, 2006 (Sept), 2005, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1994 (May), 1993, 1991, 1990, 1988 (Sept), 1987 (Nov), 1986 (Oct), 1983 
  • Canberra Men's Cursillo weekends: 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2001, 1997 (Sept), 1990, 1987(June), 1980, 1976 
  • Western Women's Cursillo weekends: 2011, 2009, 2006, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1989, 1988, 1987 (April) 
  • Western Men's Cursillo weekends: 2001, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1988, 1987 (June), 1980 
  • Coast Women's Cursillo weekend: 2004, 1998, 1993 
  • South Coast Men's Cursillo weekends: 2006, 1981 
  • Monaro Women's Cursillo weekend: 1995 
  • Combined Women's Cursillo weekends: 1999, 1998 (Young Women), 1996, 1995, 1992 
  • Combined Men's Cursillo weekends: 2000, 1999 (Young Men), 1996, 1994 
  • Goulburn Men's Cursillo weekend: 1991 

Photos can either be scanned into a computer and sent digitally (as JPEG images) to Joe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sent by mail to 56 Hollingsworth Street, Gungahlin, ACT 2612. Joe will scan photos sent and promptly return all photos sent.

It is also proposed to include a sample of the recollection/reflections of cursillistas from each of five decades of Cursillo where possible. While Lay Directors' reports of Cursillo weekends in past issues will be used as a source of reference, cursillistas willing to provide their own contribution of 50 to 100 words on your Cursillo experience and the impact of Cursillo has had for you would be most welcome.


Photos and images collected will also form the basis for an audio-visual presentation on 50 years of Cursillo. Joe needs technical assistance and advice on the use of software such as Microsoft Movie Maker.

If you can help please contact Joe by email

 Thanks for your assistance with this. 





Many Cursillo Group Reunions choose to study a book or program together as part of the Study element of their gatherings, particularly during Lent. A new Group Reunion began in Belconnen after the last Canberra Women’s Cursillo. The program chosen during this recent Lenten season was Bridges to Contemplative Living based on the writings of Thomas Merton.  

What has made this process a little bit different has been that one member of the group has written a summary of the discussion after each gathering, which is then emailed to one of our group who is unwell and unable to attend and also to all the other members. Members of the group take it in turns to be the summary writer each fortnight. 

As an example, one of the group, Catherine Anderson, in leading one evening’s session, prepared a beautiful reflection and summary on the chapter entitled "Choosing with Christ to Love the World". In the reflection, she explored a comparison of three people who had a strong sense of place: Gurrumul, Thomas Merton and Teresa of Calcutta. It is well known that Gurrumul, as an indigenous musician, presents a strength of personhood and a voice that comes from his strong connection to the land. Thomas Merton speaks from the milieu of the monastery, where he allowed himself to be emptied and then filled with grace of the One beyond himself. Mother Teresa walked the streets of Calcutta and provided a dignified place for people to suffer and die. 

Catherine reminded the group that all three knew suffering in their lives and yet the ground each stood on was firm and provided a secure place to be as presence for the other. St Paul writes and prays in Ephesians about being rooted and grounded in love. (Eph 3:17) 

Turning then to the readings, we discussed the different understandings people have, as to how Christianity should be lived out in the world. We reflected on a reference from Merton when he refers to the Christ ‘who energises our becoming one with everything’ and ‘that hidden ground of love for which there can be no explanations’. The world is surely in need of the gift of our love. 

We reflected also on prayer, not as a magical tool, but as a constant guide and dependable power, when we cry out to our God for mercy or to intervene in situations that seem impossible for humanity to reconcile. 

Building on this, we turned to Merton’s words: ‘We can no longer afford to barricade ourselves in our Catholic environment and regard it as a little smug fortress of security in a world of pagans’. We spoke of being faithful in our own lives, being a light for and with others and in this way we can help to transform our darkened world. Both Merton and Teresa remind us that for love to be authentic, it is how we live out love with our nearest and dearest in our own particular place.

This shortened version of the summary prepared and distributed by Catherine allows all the members of the group to ponder on the issues raised, as the following week unfolds and so extends the benefit of the study session. There are also questions which might be a focus for such pondering and incorporate the elements of Prayer and Action as well as Study. These might usefully be considered by us all, emphasised as they are in the Cursillo theme of The Study of Environments. 

  • How are you extending the power of Christ’s resurrection to the world? 
  • On the basis of how you actually live your life, how broad and extended is your conception of the world? 
  • How would you answer Mother Teresa’s questions: Do you know your neighbours? Do you know the poor of your neighbourhood? 

Donations/subscriptions for 2016

Each cursillista is asked to make an annual donation of $20. This is our only form of regular income. My thanks to the cursillistas who have already paid their donation/subscription for 2016 and for the generous support of cursillistas who have contributed greater the customary $20 annual donation. 

Your donation/subscription are used to meet the costs of the Cursillo Movement such as the cost producing and sending out "The Way and The Eagle", Cursillo materials, copyright licence fees and contributing to the annual affiliation and insurance fee to the National Secretariat. Importantly, as cost of Cursillo weekends continue to rise, the Cursillo Movement is faced with the challenge of seeking to provide an affordable live-in experience for Cursillo weekends. 

Payment of a donation/subscription can be made in a number of ways:

1. by cheque or postal note (made payable to The Cursillo Movement); or

2. by an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

3. a Direct Deposit made at a Commonwealth Bank

Contact Joe for details

To ensure our records are kept up to date it would be appreciated if advice of your payment be sent with your payment. An advice of payment slip has been provided as an insert in the Way and the Eagle. If paying by EFT or Direct Deposit, please also use a unique combination of Surname, Initial and address as Message/Reference so we can identify your contribution.

 Thanks for your continued ongoing support of our Movement.

 Joe Jambor


Prayers Please

 Please pray for all in our community who are suffering in any way.

 Condolences to Barbara and Rod Gardiner on the death of Barbara's sister Beverley in Sydney just before Easter. A strong faith sustained her throughout a long illness. Please pray also for Beverley's children as they face their loss, as well as the extended family.


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About Us

Cursillo is a movement from the Church that focuses on helping each person to discover themselves, their relationship with Christ and with others.

Contact Details

  • To get in contact please send us an email and one of our organisers will get back to you as soon as possible. De Colores!
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