What is Via de Cristo?
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Via de Cristo is a Spanish term meaning “Way of Christ.” It is a three-day leadership school with a New Testament look at Christianity as a lifestyle. Via de Cristo is a highly structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christian people, and through them, their families, churches, and the environment in which they live and work. It is a united effort of laity and clergy to aid congregations in developing Christian leaders to more effectively serve Christ in the church.
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 in Iowa and in Florida. The first Lutheran sponsored weekends were held the following year in both Iowa and Florida and have been held all across the U.S. and in several foreign countries.
The name Via de Cristo was adopted by the Lutheran Community in 1986 and by the Indiana Lutheran Community in 1988. Some other denominations offering weekends include Episcopalians, Brethren, Methodists, and Presbyterians with weekend names such as: The Great Banquet, Way of Christ, and Emmaus Walk. The Indiana community held its first weekend in May 1984. Brothers and sisters from Ohio and Michigan communities assisted in establishing our movement. In 2003 the Indiana Lutheran Via De Cristo changed its name to INKY Via De Cristo to better reflect the Indiana and NW Kentucky communities it serves.
Who Should Attend?
Via de Cristo is intended for lay people from all walks of life as well as for pastors. Good candidates for a Via de Cristo weekend are people living strong and active lives in Christ and those who are seeking renewal and strengthening in their relationship with Christ and persons around them.
There are separate weekends for men and women. In the case of married individuals, the husband attends first. The Via de Cristo is not structured to solve one’s deep-seated personal problems. It is designed to provide to those attending a deeper understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
What Happens on a Weekend?
The Via de Cristo weekend begins on a Thursday evening and ends on the following Sunday evening. During the weekend, you will attend morning and evening chapel services and celebrate communion, pray, sing, enjoy fellowship, eat delicious food, make new friends, and discuss talks given by laity and clergy.
The talks center on the grace of God, the reality of grace to others. The topics of the talks are: Ideals, Grace I, Laity, Grace II, Piety, Study, A Day in the Life, Sacraments, Apostolic Action, Obstacles, Leaders, Environment, Life in Grace, Christian Community in Action, and Total Security in the 4th day.
Each participant experiences the weekend a little differently but all have the opportunity to deepen their relationship of Jesus Christ.
What Happens After the Weekend?
You may attend a Via de Cristo weekend only once but you are invited to build on it for the rest of your life. This period after the weekend is known as the “Fourth Day.” You are asked to do two things during your Fourth Day:
- Expand your inner spiritual life through study and church participation.
- Become a more active Christian in your daily life.
The Fourth Day community stresses two means of perseverance:
- Group reunion – a small group of two to five friends who meet together weekly to reflect on their spiritual growth and to encourage each other in discipleship. Visit our Reunion group pages, there’s probably a group in your area, or better yet, check with your sponsor!
- Ultreya – a meeting of the larger Via de Cristo community on a regular basis. The INKY Via de Cristo Ultreya’s meet at various churches on scheduled Sundays four times a year. The group enjoys fellowship, worship with communion, singing, sharing and of course a great meal.
We urge you to participate in these two activities because they will help you remain strong in your faith and commitment to serve God.
Summary and Next Steps
We ask that you give prayerful consideration for attending a Via de Cristo leadership weekend. Please keep an open mind and heart as you make your decision. Many who have attended also wondered if they should go. Now that they have attended, they want to share this wonderful gift from God with you. Read what a recent group of attendees had to say about their weekend experience on the testimonials page.
INKY Via De Cristo offers several weekend retreats per year, three in the Spring and three in the Fall; the three consist of an all Men’s, an all Women’s and a Coed. Locations vary and they are can be either north or south. You need not attend the Coed with your spouse. (You don’t even need to be married to attend the Coed!) For a calendar of upcoming weekend dates check the calendar of events. If married, it is recommended that husbands attend first followed the next weekend by the wife. However, don’t let that stop you. Many times the wife has gone first. Singles by choice, divorce, or those who’ve lost a spouse are welcomed warmly.
If you have questions please visit the FAQ page. If you would like more information, please contact a Secretariat member. You can locate a Secretariat member by going to the ‘Contact us’ page found at the bottom of this page. For applications to print & send, or to fill out online click the applications in the Quick Links section.