History of Via de Cristo
The movement originated as "Cursillo"
in the late 1940's in the Spanish Catholic church and moved to the United States
in the late 1950's. It began in the Lutheran church when lay people and clergy
attended a Catholic Cursillo in 1971, both in Iowa and Florida. The first
Lutheran sponsored weekends were held in 1972 in Iowa and Florida and have now
been held in over 25 states and some foreign countries. Via de Cristo is the
Lutheran expression of this method which is currently being used in many
denominations including: Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed
What is Via de Cristo?
VIA de CRISTO is a Spanish phrase
meaning "Way of Christ." VIA de CRISTO is a highly structured three day
weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christian people and
bring them to a new awareness of living in God's grace. It is a combined
effort of lay people and clergy toward renewal of the church.
What is the purpose of Via de Cristo?
VIA de CRISTO is based on the
fundamentals of Christianity, concentrating on the person and teachings of
Jesus Christ. The focus is not on VIA de CRISTO itself, but on the local
church. The objective of the movement is to inspire, challenge and equip
local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches and
What happens at a
Via de Cristo Weekend?
A VIA de CRISTO
weekend is three days in length, beginning on Thursday evening and ending
the following Sunday evening. The participants live, study, worship and
commune together daily. Fourteen talks are given, nine by lay people and
five by clergy. Following each talk, small round table discussions focus
on the main points of the talk and a poster is done. The talks, in an
overlapping fashion, present the Christian life, based on the person and
teachings of Jesus Christ. The titles of these talks indicate their
content: Ideal, Piety, Study, Sacraments, Action, Obstacles to Grace,
Leaders, Environment, Life in Grace, Christian Community, and Total
Security. VIA de CRISTO gives those attending a living understanding of
basic Christian truths. There is music and singing, food and fellowship, a
time for laughter and for prayer.
What happens after the
You may attend Via de Cristo only ONCE in your life, but you are asked to
build on it for the rest of your life. After you have attended a Via de
Cristo weekend you are considered a Fourth Dayer (meaning the rest of your
life), and you are encouraged to 1) Expand your inner spiritual life
through study and church participation, 2) Become more active witnesses
for Christ in your daily life. Via de Cristo also offers two ongoing means
of perseverance: 1) REUNION GROUPS, small groups of men or women who meet
regularly to study, pray, share and help one another in their quest for
spiritual development, 2) ULTREYA, gatherings of the local church Via de
Cristo community for encouragement and fellowship.
Who should attend a Via de Cristo weekend?
Via de Cristo is intended for lay people from every walk of life, for
pastors, for people who live strong and active lives in Christ, and also
for those who seek to be renewed and strengthened in their relationship
with Christ and the people around them. Via de Cristo is open to married
couples, and single men and women.
Keep an open mind and heart in making your decision to attend Via de
Cristo. Many of those who have attended also wondered whether they should
go. Now that they have attended, they want to share this wonderful gift
from God. Please understand that their experience attending Via de Cristo
was unique, and all the conversations in the world will not become a
substitute for your weekend. You need to experience a weekend yourself to
obtain it's full and life enriching value.
Download a brochure about Journey
in Faith Via de Cristo