The Group Reunion

The Cursillo offers a precise method of perseverance for us to continue the process of conversion in which we deepen our friendship with Christ. This method is Group Reunion and Ultreya. The method, designed and developed for the group reunion, is for the purpose of nurturing and supporting the process of conversion – a small group of friends who meet on a regular basis to become better friends and better Christians.

Why are small groups effective? If the groups are small – three to five people – even when some members are away, the others can still meet. Because of the size of the group, there will almost always be a variety of opinions or points of view. It should hopefully never evolve into a mutual admiration society, nor should any one member dominate the group through misuse of a member’s knowledge, experience or monopolizing the allotted time available. When the meetings are regular, usually weekly, for about an hour, they establish themselves as part of a weekly routine. It is important that they are convenient for everyone in the group – convenient in time and place. If a meeting is hard to get to because of distance or someone’s work schedule, their commitment to the group won’t last. It’s also important that the members are friends–or becoming friends. Compatibility is very important to a good group. The reunion is not an intellectual exercise. It is an effort of the mind as well as of the heart. The group members are friends who want to encourage and develop those friendships. You can’t do that with someone with whom you don’t get along or with whom you have a serious personality clash. Friendship is at the very core of group reunions, and, in friendship, the members must have the freedom to leave the group if they wish especially to move to or form another group which may better suit their needs. Friends are sincere and honest. Friends give themselves to each other in trust. The things they share are at the heart of the friendship. They are personal and so should remain within the group. Confidentiality is an important characteristic of the group reunion. The creation of a group is voluntary – formed by invitation, initiative or from the splitting of an expanding group.

What happens at a group reunion? You are already acquainted with the tools you need – PIETY, STUDY and ACTION, and it is the sharing of these that underlies the discussion and sharing. We may not always put these labels on our spiritual experiences as we share them with our group friends.

There is no hidden agenda. In Cursillo, the group does not gather to DO but to BE… The group does not intend that its members have the same opinions, the same backgrounds, or similar feelings about social issues, nor does it require that they undertake any actions or projects together. The aim and purpose of the Group is nothing more (and nothing less) than to allow the ‘friends’ to relive or share together, what they have each lived separately in their own environments each week. This simple fact is often overlooked, leading the group focus to other things like study of church doctrine, bible study, or becoming a prayer group.

A useful little guide is the GROUP REUNION folder which helps you to look at your week in terms of your piety, study, and action in the form of several questions that help promote sharing. How you use this guide or which form your discussion takes is completely up to you and your group of friends. You may wish to follow it closely or hardly at all! Whatever style your group finds comfortable in the sharing of piety – how you have tried to see and acknowledge Christ in the persons, places and events of your everyday activities; study – how you have sought out ways and means to know Christ better, and action – how you have been motivated by Christ in the things you say and do – successes as well as failures. Remember that the purpose of your group sharing is never to present a ‘shopping list’ of your actions but to simply share together as friends what you have lived. Your life in Christ is discovered and made clear as you share and reflect on real life. Your regular sharing of what is happening spiritually in your life will help you to continue the process of conversion in which you deepen your friendship with Christ and this process helps you come to know God’s unreserved love.

When one member is sharing, the attitude of the others must never be dogmatic, instructional or argumentative. You should accept their experiences and add them to your own, rather than evaluate or judge them in the light of our own. From the sharing of our everyday experiences, it becomes clear that we are all ‘students’ within this conversion process. Group Reunion should always be a haven for equality, respect and dignity, patterned after Gospel values and lived in friendship. To insure this inner climate of friendship, and the dignity, respect and freedom that flows from it, which is essential to the ongoing conversion process of all the members, it is considered essential that every group reunion remains connected to a genuine ULTREYA and that each member takes personal responsibility for the stability and focus of the group. Precisely because permanent group reunions run the risk of turning into mutual admiration societies, or self-centered and self-focused, or under the direction and control of one strong personality, they should always be exposed to the ‘universality’ and ‘diversity’ provided by the ULTREYA. The Ultreya is the gathering of the groups or the reunion of the group reunions. The groups and their members participate in it for the same reasons that they go to their permanent group reunions; to share what everybody and every group lives. They don’t go to acquire knowledge nor receive instructions. Ultreya group reunions, by design, must be ‘spontaneous’ if they are to sustain conversion.

What do I have that I can bring to my Group Reunion? Bring your best (your full commitment) to the group reunion. Be open, honest and generous in sharing your life in Christ. The most important element is your own disposition, your attitude – your decision to live your life with idealism (the joy of one who is loved by Christ), commitment (attention to God’s will) and charity (deep care and concern for the interest and needs of the members of the group). We go to our group reunion, not to see what happens, but to make it happen.