Via de Cristo’s History
While South Carolina Lutheran Via de Cristo (translated from Spanish as “Way of Christ”) began in 1991, its original roots trace back to a Spanish movement within the Catholic church in the 1950’s know as “Cursillos de Cristandad” (translated as “Short Course in Christian Living”). Referred to simply as “Cursillo”, members of the church sought a way to make the Gospel a significant and a living force within the religiously and politically oppressed Spanish society.
During this time, the church developed the idea of “penetration of the environment” by small groups of dedicated Christians who would, by their work and witness, change the character of workplaces, communities, and society itself. Small groups of men began meeting weekly to pray, encourage each other, and plan for the future. As the number of these groups started to grow, the church began to hold three-day retreats as training sessions on what is fundamental to being a Christian and on how to live out the Christian life.
The Cursillo movement spread to Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic communities of the United States in the 1950’s and began to grow in the Protestant Church in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Via de Cristo soon emerged as the official Lutheran expression of Cursillo in February 1986.
The purpose of Via de Cristo
In today’s world, can Christianity penetrate all areas of our secular lives? Can it live there? Can it grow there? Can it transform the world in a way that is more fruitful than the past, yet in keeping with the times? Those in the Via de Cristo movement think so! Via de Cristo proposes no new type of spirituality – only a simple method through which one’s grace-filled life may, in a natural loving way, be lived and shared with others.
What happens during the weekend?
Each retreat weekend is designed to be highly structured to strengthen and renew the faith of Christian people. Retreat participants (known as Pilgrims) live, study, sing, pray, and worship together. Another key aspect of each retreat are the numerous talks given by team members and clergy. Individuals are asked to keep an open mind throughout the weekend as each person’s experience of the retreat is unique.
On the first day (Thursday), we ponder God’s love and compassion for us and condition our soul for what is to come. Retreat participants are encouraged to look closely at their inner selves, examine their conscience, and meditate on Christ’s love for us. We are reminded that God loves us and is waiting with open arms to receive us.
On the second day (Friday) participants come face-to-face with themselves and try to answer the question, “Who am I?” Talks giving throughout the day focus on our called mission to be the Church, responding to God, and how we as God’s children might live daily in His grace and love. The idea of “Palanca”, a spiritual level of prayer and sacrifice, is introduced to the group.
On the third day (Saturday) individuals seek to answer the question “How can I live a conscious and growing life in Christ?”. We become more aware of being the People of God and the Body of Christ. We are reminded of the empowering love of the Holy Spirit who lives and works in us.
The fourth day (which begins on Sunday) actually lasts the rest of our lives. After each retreat is over, individuals are encouraged to seek out local Christian communities (known as “Ultreya”) that remind and encourage us to live out our call to be a witness of God’s love each day. Participants are also encouraged to become involved in reunion groups where individuals can inspire each other to continue growing in a life of grace.
Interested in attending?
We invite you fill out a registration form using the link below. While each person may attend a Via de Cristo retreat only once, it is an experience that lasts a lifetime! Have additional questions or want to invite a team member to come and speak about South Carolina Lutheran Via de Cristo at your next church event? We invite you to contact us today!
God loves you and so do we!