My name is Father Shawn Hughes, I made my Cursillo in March of 2018 and I was at St. Joseph’s table…
I was immediately struck by the profound Catholicity and Scriptural grounding of all of the rollos and their profound rootedness in the reality of our fallen human nature. They so beautifully encapsulated St. Augustine’s pithy profound prayer: “Lord Jesus, help me to know myself and you.”
The very first rollo, delivered by Kevin O’Brien, forced all of us, even myself as a priest, to reexamine my ideals: who I was, what I was doing, where was I going? This talk was followed by Father Terry MacKenna’s very clear, articulate presen-tation on habitual and sanctifying grace. His careful explanation of grace being God’s free gift of His favour; that, being made in His image and likeness, we are participants in the very nature of God. It is in that free gift of grace we become members of the Mystical Body of Christ and as members we are not alone. We are sons and daughters of the Father, not on an island, but together with others, called to grow in the ideal with which the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ challenges us. The gospel helps us live up to become the man or woman God has created us to be.
As a priest I very much appreciated the profound vocation of the laity called forth in Cursillo. The weekend highlighted that the laity and the clergy have the same mission; to make Christ present in the world. The same mission, but different in its execution, complimentary, would be the theological term we use. It was emphasized that what is of most value is to be able to proclaim with St. Paul that, “I no longer live, but Christ lives within me” Gal 2:20
One of the most riveting aspects of Cursillo’s pedagogy came with the slow realization that it really never ends. The Fourth Day is the rest of our lives lived in fellowship with fellow Cursillistas who are committed to supporting, sustaining, and encouraging each other and who are committed to taking the Gospel to the environments in which they find them-selves: home, recreation and work. It became irrefutably clearer and clearer as the weekend progressed that we are God’s instrument to help others in the salvation of souls.
I have found the Reunion Group one of the most nourishing parts of my Cursillo. I gather with three other men every couple of weeks to pray together, share our struggles and triumphs and encourage each other in our personal living the Christian apostolate. This is such a beautiful opportunity to see Christ in others. It is also a beautiful opportunity to reflect Christ to others when they cannot see him themselves. Already after only a few meetings I feel a deep Christian love for each of the members of my reunion group.
As Reino, Kevin and Gabriel spoke about the ongoing living of Cursillo my mind immediately travelled to the men of my parish who were not on the Cursillo and by the end of the weekend I had a list of seventeen names of men I knew would be open to Cursillo and once on a weekend would be set afire.
I have said to my parishioners that I hope that all of them will, in time, be able to have their prayer, faith practice and under-standing rejuvenated by experiencing Cursillo for themselves. Finally, I can’t convey strongly enough the gratitude in my heart for the team who came from Toronto to lead us. The generosity of spending the three days with us, witnessing, teaching and encouraging, in itself was a powerful testimony of what the Lord, through Cursillo, has done in their lives. Truly, truly beautiful.
De Colores!! Fr. Shawn Hughes
Excerpts from Fr. Hughes’ witness in FULLY ALIVE – VOLUME 18 Issue 1 NUMBER 79 15