HISTORY OF THE FILIPINO CURSILLO
DIOCESE OF OAKLAND
By Myrla Raymundo, MBA
In 1972, the Filipino Cursillo came to the East Bay. Fr. Greg Vinuya, Benny Ruiz, Jose Calub and Larry Gapay, who took their Cursillo in the Philippines, organized this Cursillo movement here in Alameda County.
Cursillo Nos. 1 through 3 were held at St. Mary’s Church in Oakland. Fr. Loy Baltazar followed with his direction of Cursillo Nos. 4 and 5 using the original Cursillo team of Brothers Benny Ruiz, Jose Calub and Larry Gapay.
Fr. Paul Maher was designated the first Spiritual Director of the Filipino Cursillo in the Diocese of Oakland. When Fr. Paul Nourie was assigned to St. Mary’s Parish, he took over as the Spiritual Director for the Filipino Cursillo from l974 through l982. After Fr.
Nourie was transferred to another parish, Sister Felicia Sarati single-handedly guided the community
The Filipino Cursillo developed its own character, yet could interchange team members with the “Anglo” Cursillos, since they have common workshop roots and are conducted in the English language. The Cursillo weekend is a huge assembly of Cursillistas. They attend the candlelight ceremony to greet candidates on the first night of their Curisllo, which the Filipinos consider one of the high points of the weekend. The same congregation of Cursillistas join the early morning Mananita and the Clausura
The growth of the Filipino Cursillo became significant in the mid-70 as some
improvements were instituted. For example, shorter rollos were emphasized to give the candidates more quiet time for reflections and “Marriage Talk” became an integral part of the weekend.
To date, more than 4,000 have graduated from around 79 Cursillo weekends. From these graduates, teams were formed to perpetuate team (group) reunions. Teams
come from different geographical locations in the Diocese of Oakland. The frequency of group reunions ranges from once a week to once a month. Ultreyas are held once a month in different assigned churches, presently, at the Cathedral in Oakland.
The Cursillo Working Committee, which became known as the Filipino Cursillo
Board, now the Secretariat, was formed in l973 under the guidance of Fr. Dan
Danielson and was chaired by Al dela Cruz. Subsequent Chairpersons were Adjie Retodo, Rey Coquia, Diony Gamoso, Vic Revecho, Myrla Raymundo, Conrad
Alano, Rem Declines, Rose Santos, Oscar Tolentino, Fe Quinto, Bayani Santos,
Nimia Renovilla and Cora Pediglorio.
Presently, Mario Camorongan chairs the board, which name was changed to
Secretariat. The Secretariat is composed of the LayDirector, School of Leaders Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Pre-Cursillo Chairperson, Cursillo Proper Chairperson, Postcursillo Chairperson, Newsletter Editor, the Spiritual Director and the team
representatives that meet once a month. Deacon Steve Budnik is the present
The community holds its annual Friendship Dance, the annual Cursillo Picnic,
Halloween and Christmas party to enjoy the company of the new and “old” or
The monthly publication of the “Cursillo Newsletter” keeps the community
informed of significant events in the Cursillo Environment and in the Diocese of
Oakland. Myrla Raymundo was Editor of the “Cursillo Newsletter” for several years followed by Carmen Revecho, who renamed the newsletter as “Mariposa.” Other Editors who followed were Rose Gamozo, Noe Tuason, Tim Pedrosa, Mike Isidro, Alissa Bancil, and Oscar Tolentino and presently, back to Myrla Raymundo.
One of the community’s enjoyable apostolic actions started when a Filipino
Singing group at an “Anglo” cursillo were practicing and missed the early morning Mananita. The RECTOR instead invited them to serenade the Cursillo at breakfast. It was so enthusiastically received and since then the Filipinos have continued this
breakfast serenade tradition, forging an affectionate bond with the Anglo and the Hispanic communities. The Filipino Cursillo goes on.