50th Anniversary Celebration

Report on the 50th Anniversary Celebration 201450th-anniversary

“A Glorious Unfolding”

The date was August 9, 2014. The place was St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield. The occasion was an anniversary celebration. The outcome was the gathering of hundreds of Cursillistas, representing a movement that has spiritually nourished over 5,800 Catholics in Central Indiana for a half century.

Rob and I were asked by John Ameis, the 2013 CICC Lay Director, to take on the task of formulating, planning, and implementing a celebration. His request immediately sparked a conversation in which we excitedly started brainstorming ideas. We wanted to come up with an event that would draw the community’s attention to the blessing of 50 fruitful years of Cursillo in our home state. John left all of the particulars of the event up to us. Many of our original ideas were generated in question form as we contemplated this milestone anniversary. What was the exact date of the first Cursillo Weekend in Central Indiana? Could we pick the date for the celebration to coincide with the exact date of Cursillo #1? Could we find Speakers, who made their Cursillo in each of the five decades? Do you suppose we could actually find a Cursillista from that first Cursillo? What was that Weekend like? Where was it held? Did they have a large number of candidates? How many people were on Team? How was the Team chosen? When did the first Women’s Weekend take place? Do you suppose any of those Cursillistas are still in Group Reunion?

The glorious unfolding began. We would spend months trying to find the answers to our curiosity questions. Meeting and conversing with beautiful people, that we met along the way, not only answered our questions but also allowed us to get a real taste of the rich heritage of a Movement that we’ve been a part of, lived and loved, for 24 of those 50 years.

The quest to find answers to all of our historical questions led us to the task of tracking down old rosters, along with the Weekend photographs, in order to provide us with the recorded history we were searching for. Many phone calls were made. Numerous emails were written. Lots of Weekend pictures and rosters were mailed to us. Continuous prayers were offered. And the pieces of the puzzle started coming together. The most integral piece was in finding the roster from Men’s Cursillo #1 with the date written at the top: August 6 - 9, 1964. The celebration date was set.

Shortly after accepting this assignment, Rob and I traveled to a Saturday wedding in Brown County. The next day, we went to Mass at St. Agnes Parish and we were ushered into a pew that put us right beside a fellow Cursillista, Pat Knarzer, Cursillo # 50, who happens to be a very good friend of Bev Mischler, Cursillista from Women’s Cursillo Weekend #1. Bingo! We were off to a great start.

The roster for Women’s Cursillo #1 also led us to Fr. Patrick Keith Hosey, who was one of the many priests who served the women on that first Weekend. Fr. Hosey was the first invitee to commit to being at our 50th Anniversary Celebration.

While scanning the men’s rosters, the name “Frazee” kept appearing on many of the early ones. Rob kept saying, “If we could just find Ron, John or Don Frazee, they could give us a wealth of information about those early days of our local movement!” Unfortunately, before seeing their names on the rosters, neither Rob nor I had ever heard of any of these three Frazee brothers. So we continued to pray.

As Rob and I prayed, we also continued to reminisce. Paul Suding, Cursillo #29, came to mind. Paul was Lay Director of the CICC when Rob and I were new Cursillistas. We had contact information for him because Rob had worked Team with Paul in the past, and he and his wife, Bonnie, Cursillo #14, were conducting Leader’s School when we were attending in the 1990s. So Rob decided to give Paul a call just to talk about the celebration and share ideas. In that phone conversation Paul immediately said, “Well, I know Ron Frazee so I can call him. Rob, in his astonishment, exclaimed “You know the Frazees!?!?!” Paul said, “I sure do. John was the Rector; Don was my Table Leader; and Ron was a Kitchen Cha on my original Weekend! I can call Ron”. Bingo again! The plan was unfolding.

Jim Weaver, #40, was living his Cursillo before Rob and I made our Weekends, and he has remained active in the Movement ever since, so Rob called Jim. He suggested that Rob travel to a Group Reunion of “Old Timers” (a name they gave themselves), who meet in Carmel, in order for Rob to connect with men from the early days of our Cursillo Movement.

Byron DeCapua, who made Cursillo #7, was there that day. Rob learned, during the meeting, that there was a time in our movement when the Weekends came to a halt. There were no Cursillo Weekends held in 1975, in order for the Movement to be re-established according to the founding purpose and method. Rob was telling those men what we had in mind for the celebration, and he mentioned the pieces of the puzzle that we still had yet to find, when Byron put Rob on a mission to contact Bob Buckner, Cursillo #4. Bob had been a key person in the re-organization of the Movement,
after it had gotten off track in the 70s. As it turned out, we were very blessed to have both Bob and Byron present at the day of celebration on August 9th, 2014.

Byron, who was one of our decade Speakers, was visibly filled with emotion as he shared, with those in attendance on August 9th, the Close Moments of his Cursillo experience that has spanned 48 years. He is still active in Group Reunion and he credited that experience as being instrumental in helping him be a good husband and father. I don’t believe that there was a dry eye in the place. Byron’s witness touched all of us, who have treasured our own experience of Cursillo, in a very special way.

Rob and I liken our orchestration of the 50th Anniversary Celebration to that of planning our three daughters’ weddings. It began with a noble commitment, an engagement for a special event that would take place in the near future. There was excitement as we thought about, and talked about, how we would like to celebrate what it is that we planned to honor. It involved sending invitations and tallying RSVPs; planning a Liturgy; preparing food for the reception; and enlisting the help of clergy, musicians and speakers. And, as was the case with the weddings we’ve planned, as the celebration unfolded, we could honestly say, it was all worth the effort!

When we thought of music for this event, our first thought was ‘Tony Avellana’. Tony, Cursillo #62, serves our local Movement as the Director of Music. However, that was not the reason we wanted him for this celebration. He was one of the first people we contacted when planning the event, because we wanted to make sure he would be there. Tony, and his music ministry, is so attractive that we knew others would join him in this celebration. Sr. Cathy Ann Lepore, Cursillo #95, and Virlee Weaver, Cursillo #25, didn’t hesitate to help provide this vehicle of worship. Tony’s love of the Lord is so evident; and his way of praising God through his music is inspirational; and he has a way of drawing others into worship which was exactly what we wanted, and needed, to make the celebration complete. Tony did not disappoint. He led us through the entire celebration, from start to finish, in the most beautiful way … exactly what Rob and I had pictured… a glorious unfolding!

The 50th Anniversary Celebration of Cursillo in Central Indiana culminated in new and renewed friendships, propagation of the faith and lifelong memories. Hundreds of Cursillistas, from across five decades, gathered together at the Table of the Lord during the opening Mass. Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of the Lafayette Diocese, was the principal celebrant and homilist. Father Patrick Keith Hosey, Father Paul Graf, Father Marty Peter, Deacon Frank Roberts, Deacon Michael Gray, and Father Glenn O’Connor, Spiritual Director for the CICC, joined Bishop Doherty at the altar. Father Glenn was presented with a “DeColores” stole, complete with the colors of the rainbow and the Cursillo in Christianity symbol engraved on it, immediately before the morning Mass, in appreciation for his many years of dedicated service to the Movement.

Bishop Doherty, in celebrating the commitment of Cursillistas, talked about how Christians are called to stand “sentinel”, ready to serve and witness for Christ. He encouraged all of us to pray to recognize the moments when God signals to us, and to pray that we adequately perceive God’s intentions for us. He instructed us to call upon God for strength to do that which we are called to do; and to pray for peace in those situations and circumstances we can’t control. Sitting in the church that morning, listening to Bishop Doherty break open the Word (and speak to my heart), was certainly a Close Moment for me personally! I imagine that it was a Close Moment for all present.

We were encouraged to constantly improve in our roles, to stand guard, as we mature in our faith journeys. The fact that August 9 was the feast day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a true Catholic sentinel, was no coincidence.

Rob and I sat in the front pew, along with our son Ben, so we were unaware that the church had swelled with many Cursillistas filling the pews behind us. Rob’s Close Moment came at Communion when he saw the numbers of people come to receive the Lord in the Eucharist. He said that it was one of those precious moments when he felt God’s presence and was filled with such joy! He later elaborated on that by equating it to the line in the movie “Field of Dreams” … Build it and they will come. He worked long and hard to find every single roster and photograph from the 111 Men’s Weekends, and the 100 Women’s Weekends, that had taken place up to that point. And he came very close to recovering all of them, with the help of Dale Platteter, Cursillo #42. Rob worked diligently, and unceasingly, in this roster/photograph recovery effort, not only for the sake of the celebration day, but for the sake of preserving Central Indiana Cursillo History. Another Close Moment came when Dale told us the story of where one the missing rosters had been found. Mike and Linda Miller, Cursillo # 69 and #53 respectively, had lost almost everything in a fire that destroyed their home. They had recovered a metal file cabinet (one of very few things that had survived the fire) and in it was the roster for Men’s Cursillo #69. Emmanuel.

Nancy Halsema (Cursillo #73), with the help of her husband Bill (Cursillo #82), was one of the first to come aboard to help with the celebration. Nancy volunteered to plan, prepare and serve the food for the celebration. That was no easy task. Nancy was as surprised as we were by the number of attendees. She had generously planned lunch for 200 people, and when we saw, at Mass, that the number was closer to 300, Nancy simply pulled food from her dinner plan and sent her dear husband to the grocery.  The meals were complete with two beautiful and tasty cakes appropriately decorated with our Cursillo logo and colors, thanks to Mooney Czyzewski (Cursillo # 100).

I certainly don’t want to accentuate the work in all of this, but it’s the work done that makes the culmination so glorious. What I want to emphasize is the glorious unfolding of an event that was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, and implemented by people who cheerfully work for the Lord.

The Speakers spoke from their hearts, recalling the highlights of their Cursillo experience, and educating us as to our history by simply telling their stories. Byron DeCapua, #7, made his Cursillo in 1966 and went on to work 10 weekends on Team, with the last one being in 2007. To hear his stories, accounts from a man who has stayed active since the beginnings of our movement, was a blessing hard to put into words. Phyllis, #6, and Bill McKinney, #12, both made their Cursillo in 1967. They are the parents of Father Mike McKinney, who now serves the CICC as Spiritual Director. They spoke about their family life following their Weekends, and they were of great encouragement to the young parents who were present. Lillian Grzezinski, Cursillo #13, kept us entertained with her many stories of the women of Cursillo in the second decade. All warmed our hearts. And we got to hear a personal account from the highly sought after, Ron Frazee, Cursillo #15. What a joy it was to listen to him! The third decade was represented by Paul Suding, #29, and Mary Lynn Walker, #30. They both spoke with obvious love for Cursillo. Both of them had such a major impact on our movement, by their heavy involvement and service to the CICC, in the fourth decade. Mary Lynn’s demeanor radiated peace as she spoke of her life lived in Christ, while simultaneously living the Cursillo. Bruce Calstedt, Cursillo #45, told stories of The Cursillo Campouts that dated back to the 1990s. He had a photo collage illustrating the memorable moments around the campfires, the fishing, hiking, swimming, and the outdoor Cursillo Community Masses. Dick Shriver, Cursillo #51, now Lay Director for the Knoxville, TN Diocese, shared his love for the CICC. We miss him around here! And in subservient obedience to my dear husband, I also served as one of the Speakers for the event.  It turned out to be somewhat cathartic for me, because it caused me to take the time to really reflect; discover so many golden nuggets; and appreciate the enormous gift that the Cursillo in Central Indiana has been to me, to my husband, to my children, and now to my grandchildren who are all benefiting from “the tools”, provided by Cursillo, that have built the Christian Catholic life we live.

A Saturday vigil Mass was concelebrated, with Fr. Glen O’Conner and Fr. George Plaster, at 5:30 pm, followed by dinner and Ultreya, with two more inspirational Speakers. Dan Hoyt, Cursillo # 31, was not only inspiring, he was downright entertaining as he talked about the effects of Cursillo on his life with his wife and 9 children! We laughed until we cried as we listened to him. Mark Scheller, Cursillo # 98, ended our celebration with a heartfelt witness to his love for Cursillo and God’s Amazing Grace!

There were too many Close Moments to give a full account, so we are in the process of trying to make video viewing of the Talks available for those who were unable to be present. There are bits of information, in those Talks, that are invaluable to preserving the history of the CICC in its first 50 years!

Perhaps Rob Reuzenaar, Cursillo #64, summed it up best, when interviewed by The Criterion reporter, he simply said, “We thank God for seeing this celebration come to fruition.”

DeColores!
Anjie Reuzenaar, Cursillo #50, Table of Hope