I have always prayed for the success of the candidates before working on a Cursillo weekend – that they be as ready and receptive to our program as we all are. I am sure, I have never seen a Cursillo weekend start off as smooth as the 232nd did. It is possible that the Team members, the Angels, Spiritual Team members have experienced that, but I have not. For me, the weekend always seems to start off with a great deal of uncertainty (and a bit more apprehension) than I witnessed on this particular weekend.

Nevertheless, I knew that this weekend would be extraordinarily special for me. My son, Matthew, was making his beautiful Cursillo weekend. Personally, I started my day going to 9:00 AM Mass to pray for the Men of the 232nd Cursillo. I found myself picking up dry cleaning after Mass, holding hands with Charlie, the owner, praying for my son and all the Men of the 232. Yes, Thursday morning started off pretty good so far. Realizing that Matthew’s weekend would be in God’s hands, I knew I would have to distance myself from feelings, questions, or involvement with the success or failure of his experience. “God, You got this,” was going to be my mantra.

I left my home at 3:00 PM to pick up one of the candidates who, unfortunately, was experiencing car trouble. After scooping up Ray, I met with Angel Tim out in Farmingdale, to have dinner before heading up to Huntington for the start of the weekend. As I walked through the doors of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, Rich Grillo (our all-knowing loving oracle) was seated at his post at the Greeter Table – and the miracle begins. I was embraced by Steve Hernandez, who told me that we would be working a table together: the St. Joseph’s Table. Steve was a candidate on my table when he made his weekend. Our packets, with schedules and instructions, were handed to us – our table candidates were revealed to us. Brian Cavallo, our Rector for this weekend, delivered a message that began ringing in my head. He was dedicating this weekend to his recently departed-for-paradise Mom. This was my first WOW.

It struck me that it was a great team of horses being led to the starting gates of the Cursillo Derby. An amazing Angel Team was assembled; an amazing Table Team was assembled; an ALL-STAR SPIRITUAL TEAM was assembled with Joe Amato, Bob Monahan, Tom Butler, and super star Jimmy Barker. Our person holding the lever to begin the race into Jesus’s arms was Fr. Richard Zuk, who was with us the entire weekend. Fr. Rich blessed us with his undivided direction, love, wonderful warmth with faith, and his spectacular, contagious, contagious SMILE. My second WOW…

Most important was the weekend Candidates. These men were the Jockeys on their spiritual horses. Some, as on every weekend, reluctantly mounted their spiritual horses awaiting the start of the 232nd Cursillo. Once the lever was pulled (and especially I), we were off with these men, riding us into the arms of Jesus. Fr. Zuk joked at his first Mass for us that, “Maybe you will be drinking the Kool Aid.”

My gosh, by midday Friday (to my complete astonishment), my table with Steve Hernandez was beginning to show signs of being on fire. Steve and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and said, “So it begins.” We looked around at the other tables and, sure enough, the whole room was buzzing. After Reactions on Friday night, I was overwhelmed with how receptive the Men of the 232 were. THEY ALL COMPLETELY TOOK OFF FLYING DOWN THE TRACK TO JESUS’S ARMS. Thank you once again, Fr. Zuk, for pulling that lever that allowed this amazing spiritual group of men to want this gift we were presenting to them, and for us to witness it so early in their weekend. This truly is what we (on this God given mission) pray for, yet it was happening so soon. I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude, as did (I am sure) all of the Team on this Cursillo mission. When all our Men of 232 stood and gave Fr. Zuk a long-standing ovation at the final Mass of the weekend, it was the cherry on top of the closing Sunday.

On a personal note, I thought I would lose it emotionally many times on the weekend as my beautiful son was fulfilling a lifelong prayer of mine in making a Cursillo. I managed to contain myself right up to the last moment when Jim Barker presented my Matthew with his final gift of the weekend. All Cursillistas know what that gift is.

IT’S JESUS IN OUR LIVES  – My Lord Jesus, You never fail me = WOW WOW WOW