It was a warm summer evening on the night of July 10, 2014. I pulled up to the parking lot of Jesus of Nazareth Retreat Center, where the Women’s Cursillo #274 was being hosted. I remember arriving and feeling a sense of apprehension. What was I doing here?
And then I remembered. I’m here because I feel spiritually dry. I was going through the motions at church. You know, attending Mass, serving in the parish, and going to formation classes. That’s what good Catholics do, right? Yet, I felt there was something more to it all that I just wasn’t getting. More to my faith. More to my story with God. Yes, that’s right. That’s why I was there.
So, I arrived that Thursday evening of my Cursillo weekend, nervous, unsure, but willing and open because my desire to walk with God more closely beat out any uncertainty or nervousness I had.
From the moment I arrived to the moment I walked out, I felt unconditional love. I experienced our living God in each smiling face and in each activity over the course of the weekend.
The first day or so, I remember listening to some of the talks and the women who were there and thinking, “Wow, look how beautiful these women’s stories of faith are. They are so brave and open to God at work in their lives. I wish I could be like that.”
By the time Sunday rolled around and I kept listening to God’s messages for me, I realized a truth that I have not since forgotten. I am like that. I too have a God who is at work in my life, and I too have a beautiful faith story, a story written just for me by a God who loves me unconditionally.
I journeyed inward that weekend and encountered God in a most intimate and lasting way. I heard God speak to me so clearly and loudly: “You are loved. You are worthy. You are mine.” I began to see myself the way God sees me, and as a result, a whole new world opened for me.
Choosing to make a Cursillo weekend is more than choosing to go on a retreat. It is about giving yourself the gift of a weekend spent in the loving embrace of God.
My Cursillo weekend was probably one of the most transformational experiences of my life. Nine years later, it is still alive in me, and I carry within my heart the many messages I received that help me remain deeply and intimately in God’s friendship.
If you’re interested in learning more about St. Paul’s Cursillo Program or would like to sign up for a weekend, please go to: stpaulscursillo.org/upcoming-events
Angie-Lee Vazquez is currently the Pastoral Associate of Mary, Mother of the Church in East New York, Brooklyn, and a member of the St. Paul’s Cursillo Women’s Spiritual Team.