Learn about the history of the MCC

The history of MCC

The Movement of Cursillos in Christianity (MCC) was born in Spain, specifically on the island of Mallorca, between 1940 and 1949 . It arose as a result of the work, concern and apostolic effort of a group of lay people and priests who formed part of the Diocesan Council of the Catholic Action Youth (JAC) of Mallorca. In those years, intense preparations were being made for a great national pilgrimage of the JAC to Santiago de Compostela, which was to be held in 1948. Various activities were organised, among them the celebration of “Cursillos de Adelantados de Peregrinos”, led by members of the National Council of the JAC, and “Cursillos de Jefes de Peregrinos”, in parishes, led by members of the Diocesan Councils. In these workshops, the possibility was perceived of developing something new, something that would allow the essential content of Christianity to be grasped in all its intensity even by those who lived on the fringes of religion2 . An arduous work of searching, reflection and maturation was carried out from which, with the Grace of the Spirit, something new emerged, which took shape in what is later called “Cursillos in Christianity”, with features of the previous Cursillos, but different in its approach, purpose and meaning.  

Therefore, at the beginning of the Movement we find the action of the Spirit in a group of people who share a mentality and who begin to work for the same purpose: to give a Christian backbone, to make the world more Christian, making people more Christian. With a minimum of organisation and structure, they worked out an effective method to achieve their goal. In this group of initiators of the Movement, the lay people, led by Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló, were particularly outstanding. Among the priests were Mons. Sebastián Gayá Aguilera and D. Juan Capó Bosch. And with them the then Bishop of Mallorca, Monsignor Juan Hervás Benet. 

In January 1949 the first Cursillo de Cristiandad was held in the monastery of San Honorato in Mallorca. In that year alone, 20 Cursillos were held and in five years they reached a hundred. In this period the evangelising effectiveness of these new Cursillos was defined, the School of Leaders was consolidated, the channels of follow-up in the post-Cursillo (groups and Ultreya) were outlined, the first Secretariat was created, in short, the Movement of Cursillos in Christianity was clearly configured. 

The MCC was born with a universal vocation and, starting in Mallorca, it spread throughout the world. It first entered Spain in 1953 (Valencia). Both through personal initiatives and through the activities of the National Council of the JACE, the Movement spread to various dioceses in Spain. In 1955, with the transfer of D. Juan Hervás to the diocese of Ciudad Real and the publication, in 1957, of the Pastoral Letter “Cursillos de Cristiandad, Instrument of Christian Renewal”, a decisive moment for the acceptance of the Cursillo Movement and its national and international diffusion took place. 

From Spain, the Cursillo Movement first of all went to the Americas. Numerous lay people and priests, who participated in the Movement in various dioceses in Spain, were enthusiastic about its evangelising potential and, by different means, transferred it to the countries of Latin America. The first country to receive the Cursillo Movement was Colombia, through the CA, where the first Cursillo outside Spain was held, which was also the first Cursillo for women (1953). Very quickly, through various channels (both in Spain and in other Latin American countries), it reached the rest of the countries and by 1963 it was practically in all of the countries in the Americas3. In Europe, the diversity of languages was a problem for the spread of the MCC. It arrived from Spain, firstly in Portugal, Austria, and Italy (1960), from Austria to Germany (1961) and then to other Central European and other countries (Ireland, England). A new impulse of the MCC was given when, from Austria, in 1974, it was introduced in the countries of Eastern Europe. In Asia it began in the Philippines in 1962, arriving from the United States. In Australia it began in 1963, first among Spanish immigrants and then, with the help of a group of Cursillistas from the United States, in 1965, it began to develop among the local population (in English). From the Philippines, where Cursillo became firmly established, it was introduced in other Asian countries (Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand). Although in a more limited way, MCC has also been initiated in some parts of Africa: workshops were held in former provinces of Portugal (Angola, Mozambique) and in countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria, Rhodesia (from the USA and Ireland), Guinea, Benin and Togo. 

Simultaneously to this process of geographical expansion, the “institutionalisation” of the Cursillo Movement is taking place, i.e. the creation and consolidation of diocesan, national and international structures. The first step is always the creation of the Diocesan Secretariats, as the first and most necessary organisational structure, a channel for the link with the diocesan Church and with the Bishop. The National Secretariats are also born as a consequence of the need to coordinate and unify the life of the Cursillo Movement in a country, in order to maintain and develop the same identity. The first National Secretariat was created in Mexico in 1961, after the First National Conference in that country. This was followed, in 1962, by those of Venezuela, Spain, Portugal, Brazil,… In the same year, more than twenty National Secretariats were created4 . In addition, the need for connection and coordination between the different National Secretariats was perceived and therefore, at different times and places, international meetings and gatherings of various kinds (Latin American, European, English-speaking countries…) were held. These international meetings gave rise to the International Groups of the MCC (Latin American, European, Asia-Pacific and North America-Caribbean) and the World Organism of the MCC (OMCC), as “an organism of service, communication and information”, constituted by the International Groups of the MCC. In 2004, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed the canonical recognition of the OMCC as “a structure of coordination, promotion and diffusion of the experience of the Cursillos of Christianity, having private juridical personality” and “the approval of the statute of the above-mentioned body5 . 


Beginning of the Cursillo Movement

In the beginning of the Cursillo Movement there is certainly an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but an inspiration that was received and shared by a group of people, lay and consecrated, who were the ones who developed this new form of evangelization that was later called “Cursillos in Christianity”.

It happened in Mallorca, in a certain ecclesial and social context. In the post-war situation in Spain, when there was a “social Christianity”, in which there was no authentic Christian life. Within the framework of Catholic Action and its pastoral project. With a special group of young people, well formed, with apostolic concern and a desire to seek new proposals to bring the experience of God to others. In this group stand out those who are considered the INITIATORS OF THE MOVEMENT: Eduardo Bonnin, laymen, Sebastián Gayá, priest and Juán Hervás, the bishop of Mallorca.

In the video you will see D. Faustino Armendariz, former

Ecclesiastical Advisor of the World Organization of the Cursillo Movement (OMCC), explaining in more detail the process of initiation of the Cursillo Movement.

Play Video about Capa - Quem somos - OMCC

Pilgrimage of the Virgin of Lluc

Eduardo Bonnin

Diocesan Youth Council of Catholic Action of Mallorca

Manuel Aparici, President of the Spanish Catholic Action Youth