October 1, 2022 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Pictured are Cursillistas from the Sept. 8-11 Hispanic Women’s Cursillo with Fr. Carmelo Jimenez. COURTESY OF DR. VICKY BARNES

September sees first Hispanic women’s Cursillo in the Diocese of Owensboro


De Colores! What a great blessing to have witnessed the First Hispanic Women’s Catholic Cursillo in Kentucky! The presence of these Hispanic women is a testimony of faith for everyone!

I lived my Cursillo a little bit after my husband, Dcn. Tim Barnes, in the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., in March 2019. Cursillo is an apostolic movement in the Catholic Church. It focuses on showing Christian laypeople how to become effective Christians, sharing the good news by the best way of friendship. “Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ,” is the Cursillo motto.

The first Cursillo in the United States was held in Texas in 1957. Cursillo has been in the Diocese of Owensboro for decades, but history was made recently as the first Hispanic Women’s Cursillo occurred on Sept. 8-11 at the Gaspar River Retreat Center.

The Lord granted that the first Hispanic women’s Cursillo be held in our diocese on the day we celebrate the birth of our Virgin Mary, Sept. 8. This weekend was made possible by the hard work and prayers of many priests, deacons and Cursillitas from both the Diocese of Owensboro and the Diocese of Nashville, Tenn. Fr. Basilio Az Cuz of St. Thomas More and I (of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville) were the points of contact. This Cursillo had women from Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru, and the United States.

Fr. Carmelo Jimenez and Fr. Lustein Blanco were the spiritual directors and gave several religious talks for the weekend. The team from Nashville and from Sts. Peter and Paul, under the amazing leadership of Elba Avila from Nashville, co-hosted the Cursillo. The team included Karina Padilla, Betsy Ibanez, Carolina Herrera, Andrea Ramirez, Irma Guzman, Maria Herrera, Ana Regina Andrade, Maria Eugenia Hernandez, Mary Ortiz, Vicki Kinnard, Elodia Mariscal, Maria Sanchez, Susana Flores, Felicia Elliot and myself. Special thanks to Martin Schroeder for driving the candidates from Hopkinsville.

The new Cursillitas who lived the weekend were Yolanda Perry, Ellis Salas, Bertha Rico, Maria Rosas, Maria Macario and Neria Bernal. These women left Gasper River on fire and filled with the Holy Spirit. Some of the phrases heard were, “I am eager to learn more about my Lord,” “Now, I know that Jesus loves me too,” “I am not alone,” “The Lord has blessed us abundantly,” “I have never received so much love and generosity,” and “With the Lord everything is possible.”

The closing ceremony of the weekend was very emotional and included many Cursillistas from Owensboro and Nashville who came from far and near to show their support for the new Cursillistas who chose to say “Yes” to the Lord. As the weekend came to a close and new and old Cursillistas got in their cars to go home, a torrential rain had begun, but there was no fear of the weather, they fully trusted that God had everything under control.

Dr. Vicky Barnes belongs to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville.

Originally printed in the October 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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