The History

Via de Cristo (Vee-ah day kreesto) is the Lutheran expression of the Roman Catholic Cursillo, meaning Short Course in Christianity.  The Via de Cristo name, meaning Way of Christ, was adopted in 1986.

Cursillo had its beginning in the late 40s on the island of Majorca in Spain.  Bishop Juan Hervas sadly noted that the men of his parish had very little to do with the life of the church, while the women were growing spiritually.  To counter this, Hervas designed a three-day study course for men to give life to the teachings of the Church.  It was so successful that it spread, eventually to the United States.

The Catholic community began holding weekends in the early 60s.  Lutheran pastors attended the weekends to examine the movement.  The first Lutheran weekends were held in South Florida and Iowa in 1972.

Although Lutheran by name, Via de Cristo is interdenominational, serving to renew men and women of all Christian faiths.

Here in East Central Florida, we have drawn believers from throughout Brevard and Indian River Counties, as well as, from the Orlando and New Smyrna Beach areas since 1982.
The Focus

The three-fold focus of Via de Cristo is on your own local church:

  1. Supplementing what we learn in our own congregation.
  2. Equipping us to help strengthen the faith of other Christians and through them, strengthen their families, their congregations, and the communities in which we all live, work, and play.
  3. Encourage all men, women, and children to grow through:
             - Worship
             - Bible Study
             - Congregational Involvement
             - Stewardship
             - Renewed Sacramental Life
             - Sharing the LOVE of Christ through Apostolic Action
The Purpose

The purpose of Via de Cristo is to provide a way that every one of us can become increasingly empowered, equipped, and energized, through the Holy Spirit, to become more effective servants and leaders in the body of Christ.

By proclaiming the truth of Jesus, presenting the grace of God, and allowing for the work of the Holy Spirit, Via de Cristo is an instrument to encourage each of us to persevere and grow in our faith, become an effective channel of God's love to others, and strengthen our personal walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pilgrams, i.e., laypersons who have completed their Via de Cristo weekend, are encouraged to strengthen their "partnership" with their pastors.

All activities during the Via de Cristo weekend including the talks, the meditations and worship are undergirded with prayer and are totally dependant on God.
What is Taught

The Via de Cristo weekend begins on Thursday evening with a Send-off, where the local Cristo community gathers to welcome candidates, then send them off to the weekend site, where they will stay for the entire weekend.

Once there, everyone gets acquainted with each other, enjoys a snack, sings, and participates in a service of Quiet Reflection.

The next three days include a number of talks, followed by table discussions, worship, and fellowship.  Communion is offered every morning in chapel.

The weekend concludes on Sunday late afternoon, with a Closing ceremony.

The main part of the weekend centers around eleven talks given by laypersons and four by pastors.  Some of the talks utilize personal experiences and are a living witness to the talk subjects.
Worship Services

Each morning before breakfast, everyone gathers for prayer, the reading and sharing of Scripture, Communion, singing, and a sermon,  which is usually a 'shared homily' with comments from participants as to the meaning and application of The Word.

Each evening before bedtime, all Pilgrims gather again for prayer and a brief devotional.

Additionally, each day everyone goes to the Chapel to pray and to meditate on lessons which they have learned during the various talks.