Following the Spanish Civil War at the end of the 1930’s a pilgrimage to the shrine of St James in Compostela was arranged in order to encourage the Christian faith in young people and help change their damaged society to one that was fully centred on Christ. Leaders of the pilgrimage were prepared through short courses, called Cursillos, which improved their knowledge of faith, leadership and the organisation of the pilgrimage.
One of the leaders, Eduardo Bonnin, was passionate with the idea of the Cursillo. With help he developed a three day Cursillo structure which aimed to remedy the ‘ignorance of faith, the superficiality of ritualism and the apathy of non-faith commitment in daily life’. This idea has since spread across the globe and is active in most of Europe and the Americas, as well as parts of Africa and Asia in all most main stream denominations in one form or another.
On February 6th 2008 Eduardo Bonnin, founder of the Cursillo movement, died following a short illness at the age of 90. The date was significant as it was Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent, which marks the road towards true freedom. It was also 68 years to the day that Pope Pius Xll made a speech to priests and parishioners in Rome. Speaking of the Love of God and how important it was to take that love to those distant from the Lord, those who were “far away”. Eduardo was very moved by the Pope’s words and based the guidelines of his life on what the Pontiff had said.
Born in Palma, Majorca in May 1917, Eduardo was the second of ten children born to his parents Fernando and Mercedes. His family lived knowing the love of God and the importance of sharing that love with others. Eduardo was very much his own man and while his love for the Lord was absolute he had deep concerns that the message of Christ was being presented in a “soulless” way.
Following nearly nine years in the Spanish Army, during which Eduardo was exposed to many desperate and profound situations, he dedicated his life to the service of Christ and was clearly led by the Lord to develop the now universally known three day Cursillo course. Cursillo presented the message of Christ in a different way, not without soul but with friendship, humility, understanding and love. It established a “Rule of Life” that has been adopted by Christians across the globe.
The first Cursillo took place in August 1944 and although the movement remained reasonably active, it was not until January 1949 that Cursillo really took off and this amazing movement began to spread across all Christian countries and be accepted by all major Christian denominations. The Fourth Day had arrived and Eduardo’s own Fourth Day was spent completely following the Cursillo model of Piety, Study and Christian Action.
Eduardo’s Fourth Day message remains and British Anglican Cursillo is truly a meaningful reflection of the wonderful ministry of this amazing man.