History of the OMCC Statute

Read the OMCC Statute



Now the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth.

(Lumen Gentium 33)

The creation of the OMCC and the construction of its Internal Regulation

“To make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth”, as the Second Vatican Council asks them, the laity need to discover their vocation and exercise it appropriately. The ecclesial movements which they integrate should be the instances where they can be formed and launched into the task of building the Kingdom according to their role in the common mission of the Church.

Born with the aim of evangelizing in response to its charism and according to its own method, the Cursillo Movement was organized, first in its two basic structures – Diocesan Secretariat and School of Leaders – and then felt the need to deal with the unity of criteria that it should follow to develop properly in each country and in each culture. That led to the creation of the National Secretariats.

In the 1960s, the need for connection and coordination between National Secretariats became apparent. Therefore, international meetings and encounters of various kinds were held in different times and places, thus giving rise to the International Groups (cf. FICM3, No. 24).

This was the origin of the Latin American Group (GLCC), the European Group (GECC) and the English-speaking Group (GHI) – which years later would split into the Asia Pacific Group (APG) and the North American and Caribbean Group (NACG).

After three World Encounters and two World Ultreyas, the existing International Groups met from 23rd to 27th June 1980, at the V Inter- American Encounter, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and agreed to create a WORLD ORGANISATION OF THE CURSILLO MOVEMENT – OMCC, as “an organization of service, communication and information”, establishing that the OMCC headquarters would be rotating, changing International Groups and countries, every two years. Years later, at the OMCC Meeting held in Caracas, Venezuela, from 11th to 13th August 1986, it was agreed to increase the OMCC terms of office from two to four years.

Resolution No. 6 of said Encounter reflects an important decision: “The V Encounter unanimously ratified the agreement made by the representatives of the European Working Group (Monsignor José Capmany and Miguel Costales), the representative of the English-speaking Group (Gerald Hughes), and the Director of the Latin American Office (Andrés Dauhajre), by which a WORLD ORGANISATION OF THE CURSILLO MOVEMENT (OMCC) is definitely constituted and started, which organisation would be a service, communication and information body, without any intentions of exercising management, guidance, authority or control.”

Within the framework of the Fourth World Encounter of the CM, in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1988, the OMCC Internal Regulations – in force to this day – were approved. It was these Internal Regulations that served as the basis for the process that culminated in the Canonical Recognition of the CM.

The Internal Regulations have 13 chapters and cover virtually everything that the OMCC should be and do to serve the CM worldwide. The Internal Regulations describe the nature and purpose of the OMCC, its composition, its objectives, its service, its headquarters, its Executive Committee, its meetings, its responsibility for World Encounters, official publications and their translations, its role as representative of the CM and the financing of its activities.

While the Internal Regulations served as the set of criteria by which the OMCC would help the CM around the world to develop its ultimate purpose in union and harmony with the Church, the very fact that the CM belonged to the Church called for official recognition by the Holy See. This claim was noted both by the CM leaders and by the Church herself, since applying for such recognition is generally the first step taken by an “association of laity” (this is how the Church calls groups or movements), and the CM not only had a “certificate of citizenship”, as Paul VI had said, but was also “old” enough to go after the recognition.

To obtain all these things, the most important and therefore worthy of special attention are the Christian laity: namely, those who have been incorporated into Christ and live in the world. For it is up to them, imbued with the spirit of Christ,  to be a leaven working on the temporal order from within, to dispose it always in accordance

with Christ. (Ad Gentes, 15)

The initiative of pursuing the official approval by the Holy See

Germany took office as the OMCC seat on 30th May 1998, in Rome, during the I Vatican World Congress of Ecclesial Movements. Since then, the subject of canonical recognition came up several times, both from within the Movement and from the Pontifical Council for the Laity. One example: at our GET meeting in Vienna, two priests from former communist countries (Rumania and Croatia) told us that when talking to the diocesan hierarchy or parish priests the question would arise if Cursillo had canonical recognition.

A letter sent to Cardinal Stafford asking his help in clarifying our status with the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL) got an immediate answer: he would be very happy to assist in any possible way, and he would send a letter of encouragement for the OMCC meeting in Tampa, Florida, in 1988, on the subject. At that meeting the subject was brought up and very passionately discussed. It was decided not to ask for recognition for the Cursillo Movement as a whole, but for the OMCC – the body which took on responsibility for the Movement at worldwide level.

The Cardinal Stafford was invited to preside at Holy Eucharist during a meeting with the GET team in Rome, on 3rd December 1999. At that meeting, the Cardinal urged us to apply for canonical recognition, as he felt that having pastoral recognition by late Holy Fathers and many bishops around the world, it would be very desirable to also have this official affiliation with the Hierarchy in Rome. He also mentioned that we were quite unique among the movements for not having thought of this recognition, and that the Pope was very much in favour of the ecclesial movements.

The Internal Regulations approved at the IV World Encounter in Caracas, in 1988, were left with Prof. Guzmán Carriquiry, under- secretary of the PCL, who agreed that these would be a good basis for the Statute but needed to be brought into the proper canonical form.

It is worth mentioning that, in March 2000, the OMCC-EC President, Mrs. Frances Ruppert, received a letter from Eduardo Bonnín stating as follows: “I found the meeting you had with Prof. Carriquiry (and Cardinal Stafford), about Cursillos becoming properly affiliated to the Council for the Laity, quite interesting. I have always been of the opinion that this would prove most beneficial. Actually, the late Cardinal Pironio, a few years ago described this possibility as quite advisable. I honestly think that this would not in the least diminish the fidelity to the foundational charism nor hinder the method or condition of our freedom.”

An OMCC meeting was called for 28th July 2000, in Rome, coinciding with the III World Ultreya. At that meeting the question of the canonical recognition was the main subject. A very lively discussion took place, and the Presidents of the four International Groups voted that the process of preparing the Statutes should begin.

It was also decided to take the opportunity to have another meeting with Prof. Guzmán Carriquity, attended by Mario Gonzales, from Venezuela, Fr. Martin Bialas and Frances Ruppert.

The preparation of the Statutes began by consulting two canon lawyers, Prof. Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ, Dean of the faculty of canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome, and Rev. Dr. Joseph Ammer of Regensburg, Germany, who worked several years as a canonist in the curia in Rome.

There have been several canonical changes and correction by Prof. Ghirlanda SJ, but not deviating from our Internal Regulations. Minor proposed changes touching on Cursillo policy were discussed in our team meetings and voted on. After a second revision by Prof. Ghirlanda SJ, we sent the draft, in February 2001, to the International Groups asking for their comments.

In general, there was consent, except for minor changes by the International Groups, which were considered. There were however, from the beginning, strong concerns from the USA, particularly from Louis Robbio, US English co-ordinator, and Tom Sarg, the administrator of

the US Cursillo Movement. Louis had already brought a position paper against it to the Tampa meeting. They both seem to fear interference from the diocesan bishops. Several points have been adjusted to accommodate their concerns – for instance in No. 6 of the Preamble – giving a stronger weight to the National Secretariats.

The resulting draft of the Statutes was presented at the OMCC Meeting, held on 18th– 21st October 2001, in Berlin. The proposed alterations were worked into the document and the revised text was sent again to the four International Groups and the new OMCC team.

In March 2002, the Italian Version of the Statutes was sent to the Pontifical Council for the Laity asking for canonical recognition, and in February 2003 we received a letter from Mons. Stanislaw Rylko, Secretary of the PCL, asking for further alterations to the Statutes.

After a revision of the Statutes, based on the paper from the PCL, by P. Martin Bialas, CP, Frances Ruppert and Father José Beraldo, an appointment with the PCL was set. On 30th April, the Brazilian OMCC Team, together with members of the International Groups, as well as Fr. Martin Bialas CP and Frances Ruppert, had a meeting with the Council and presented the revised document.

In the Church there is a diversity of ministry but a oneness of mission. Christ conferred on the Apostles and their successors the duty of teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in His name and power. But the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world.

(Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2)

The Canonical Recognition and the Statute Approval:

a long journey1

The members of the OMCC-EC of Brazil started their task concerning the Canonical Recognition process, by acknowledging the whole job done by the OMCC-EC of Germany, who spare no efforts – both personal (time) and material (money) – towards a target long aimed at by all the Cursillistas of the world: the official recognition of the existence of the Cursillo Movement itself, and of the Movement’s endeavour to walk on the same path of the Church.

As it was mentioned in the previous chapter, following the guidance of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL), a thorough revision of the OMCC Statute project was carried out, in Germany, from 24th to 26th April 2003. On that opportunity, the initiative of seeking the OMCC Statute approval was encouraged and praised by Mons. Rylko who stressed two fundamental aspects of the Statute:

a) Its approval would prove the official recognition by the Church of the existence of the Cursillo Movement itself, even though the Statute dealt with is not of the Cursillo Movement but of an Organism that co-ordinates it.

b) Its approval would seal the ecclesial communion about which the Pope has repeatedly spoken to the Ecclesial Movements.

The OMCC-EC called the First Ordinary Meeting, to take place in Barranquilla, Colombia, and sent to the four International Groups the respective agenda which included the discussion about the Statute already delivered to the PCL. The meeting was attended by GLCC, APG, GET and some special guests invited by the OMCC. The NACG sent the OMCC a letter justifying their absence. On that opportunity some new additions to the project were made.

In its letter dated 27th June 2003, the PCL included a number of remarks about points to be altered or introduced in the Statute, which was immediately implemented. Then, new points for revision of the project arose, including the need of an overall review by an Italian canonist in order to adequate the text both to the requirements of juridical form and language, and to specific points related to the Italian language, the official and original language in which the project had been written. Accepting the suggestion made by the National Secretariat of the CM in Italy, all the relevant material related to the project was sent on to Prof. Mario Colabianchi, from the Diocese of Fermo.

On 17th November 2003, Fr. Beraldo attended an audience at the PCL with P. Miguel Galindo, handing him the project revised in Italy. In subsequent e-mail messages, other minor suggestions were sent to the OMCC by the PCL and each of them was incorporated to the project. Eventually, on 12th January, the project then incorporating the final revision was handed to the PCL. Again Fr. Beraldo had a long audience with P. Miguel Galindo. Both worked another two hours and a half going over the text delivered, concluding that there were just some minor aspects of numbering and checking some Italian terms still due.

Back in Brazil, the project was submitted to an Italian priest and sent back to Rome, as a final form, but once more the text received another series of remarks (including the recommendation of eliminating the suggestions made by the First Ordinary Meeting previously incorporated). Forwarded back to Rome, on 7th April, the text was again the object of another e-mail by P. Miguel Galindo, pointing slight inaccuracies concerning orthography.

Finally, on 12th April 2004, the final text of the OMCC Statute project, together with a letter from the OMCC President, Francisco Alberto Coutinho, was faxed to the President of the PCL, Mons. Stanislaw Rylko. And thanks to God and the prayers, sacrifices and dedication of so many, in the morning of 23rd April, through a letter from the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Monsignor Stanislaw Rylko, the President of the OMCC Executive Committee, Francisco Alberto Coutinho was communicated of the final and official approval of the OMCC as a “structure of co-ordination, promotion and dissemination of the experience of the Cursillos in Christianity, with private juridical personality, approving its Statute at the same time.” Simultaneously, the PCL, with the accordance of the OMCC, established the date of 11th June 2004, for the signature of the OMCC canonical recognition, to take place in Rome, at 11 am.