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- Question 23
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How many cursillistas worldwide?


[translated from French]

I am looking for the number of cursillistas in the world?
Serge Lestage


To answer your question, the figures we can provide concern those who have already taken part to a Catholic Cursillo since the beginning of the Cursillo Movement. So our answer will not include members of Movements that have spread in other Christian Churches even if they were formerly or are still called "cursillistas" (As Anglican Cursillo, Episcopal Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, Tres Dias, Via de Cristo, etc.). Moreover, since you ask the number of cursillistas "in the world", our answer to your question does not address the number of "Practicing Cursillistas today" because, outside of our borders, such an estimate is impossible.

Here are some figures. In Canada there are about 150,000 cursillistas since 1963, with 75.000 participants to Francophone weekends (members of MCFC) and roughly the same number to cursillo weekends given in English or other languages (by the CCCC). Some countries have a much higher membership. In Brazil, 3.4 million have experienced a Cursillo weekend. The United States count about a million (besides the fact that this country has been the nursery of many Movements based on the Cursillo method). The Philippines had already reached their million in 1995. In Mexico, there are over 500,000; in Spain, 300,000; in Italy, 200.000; in Argentina, 175,000; in Venezuela, 125,000. In Puerto Rico, the statistics are astonishing concerning a particular diocese : in the diocese of San Juan alone, the record of 2000 cursillo weekends is about to be reached, and we are told that they average 50 candidates per weekend!

But... to properly answer your question, we have to review over 60 countries where the CM is implemented. Unfortunately, for a great number of countries we have no statistics or obsolete statistics. The figures given above are better known because they belong to countries where the Cursillo Movement is widespread. They provide an overview but obviously we can not rely on them to make an overall calculation. Nevertheless, even with this caveat, may we suggest you have a look at the data of our "Statistical Tables" under Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Maybe one day we will have the result of the survey that the OMCC (the World Organization of the Cursillo Movement) has undertaken to achieve a comprehensive directory.

But it's always good to remember that it's not quantity that counts in an Apostolic Movement, but the quality of the members ... and that, nobody can ever evaluate. ;-)

Serge Séguin.