The celebration, which took nearly a year to organize, was held at Our Lady of Solitude Church and St. Theresa Church, both located in Palm Springs.
The Cursillistas began their day with a Mass at Our Lady of Solitude. The Mass was celebrated by Father Einer Ochoa with approximately 140 Cursillistas from around the Diocese. In his homily, Fr. Ochoa invited participants to prove their love to all brothers and sisters in Christ and to loved ones through actions and not words alone.
“As a husband, you cannot tell your wife that you love her and on the other hand refuse to take out the trash,” Fr. Ochoa said. “In the same token, as a Cursillista, you cannot say hello to your brothers and sisters and refuse to give them help when they asked.”
The Cursillistas showed their agreement with his teachings through candid laughs and nodding their heads. Before the conclusion of the Mass, the lay director from each group expressed their thanks, in English and in their native tongue, to Fr. Ochoa, the staff members at Our Lady of Solitude, and the Cursillistas. It was interesting to hear all four different languages at a Mass. More importantly, although the Cursillistas all looked different from one another and came from different cultures, they were united and collaborated with each other to work and pray together. It was a humble and amazing environment.
After the Mass, the Cursillistas quickly organized everyone and prepared for the walk. The Cursillistas, lined up behind the processional cross led by St. Theresa’s youth group, walked approximately three miles from Our Lady of Solitude to St. Theresa. They consisted of children as young as nine years old to adults in their late seventies. For the Cursillistas who were unable to walk, the Cursillo Movement provided transportation so they, too, could be part of the Evangelization Walk. It appeared that all 140 Cursillistas participated in the Walk.
Soon after the Walk began, Art Obregon, who has a commanding presence, acted as the rosary leader. As the celebration continued through the heart of downtown Palm Springs, Obregon and the Cursillistas began to pray the rosary. The Walk took place at midday in warm 86 degree temperatures, and many tourists and locals who were dining at the numerous outdoor restaurants could not help but pause and look at the Cursillistas. Obregon’s gesture of the prayer was well received. As the Cursillistas continued on their Walk, the Filipino Cursillo and the Spanish Cursillo groups sang and prayed to the Lord in between each rosary. During the three-mile Evangelization Walk, Obregon must have completed at least five complete rosaries. It took the Cursillistas approximately three hours to complete the walk and reach St. Theresa.
After they arrived at St. Theresa, the Cursillistas had lunch and prayed together before going home. The Cursillistas had truly demonstrated their faith by following the footsteps of St. Paul the Apostle during their celebration in Palm Springs. In addition, it was an opportunity for the Cursillistas to contribute to the Mass’s collection for Our Lady of Solitude Church. With the blessings and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Cursillo Movement of the Diocese of San Bernardino had a successful Evangelization Walk.
Van Hoang is the Vietnamese Cursillo Lay Director.