Cursillo is a Spanish word meaning "little" or "short" course. It begins on a Thursday evening and ends on Sunday evening. During those three days the Cursillistas (those attending) live and work together, listening to talks given by priests and laity. As the daily celebration of Eucharist is a central feature of the Cursillo experience, the weekend is best suited to Catholics.
One definition states: "The purpose (or goal) of the Movement is to make Christian community possible in neighbourhoods, parishes, work situations and other places where people live the greater part of their lives. It makes possible for anyone in the world to live a Christian life in a natural way."
The Cursillo Movement is a powerful instrument of renewal in the Catholic Church. Its aim is to concentrate closely on the Person and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Cursillo gives those who attend it a living understanding of basic Christian truths and the desire to serve the Church. Furthermore, it provides a means to continue the Christian formation that just began in the three-day exercises.
The first Ottawa Cursillo was held in 1966, the same year Pope Paul VI designated Cursillo a renewal movement of the Church and named St. Paul as its patron.