A Birthday Worth Celebrating

Did you know that November 2nd marks the anniversary of the very first Tres Dias weekend?  It was held at Our Lady of Hope Seminary in Newburgh, New York, from the second through the fifth of November in 1972. Pittsburgh was the second community to be established, and our own community here in Fairfield County quickly followed.   According to David McManigal, the organizer and rector of the first weekend, Tres Dias was originally given a different name.  In an article he wrote and published on the Tres Dias International website, David describes the meetings that gave rise to the weekend and its name.

“Bob and Mary Essert, who were active and tireless workers from the outset, had read about an ecumenical  Christian community in France, known as Taizé.  They suggested “Taizé Weekend” as a working name, and those present agreed.  I accepted the task of contacting Taizé for permission to use the name, and immediately sent a letter to the Prior of Taizé.  At the next meeting, the response from Taizé declared that the name was theirs alone, and no other use of it would be countenanced.  Therefore, back to the original search for a name, we went around the table seeking other ideas.  Several were suggested and rejected out of hand because they didn’t “sing” as one attendee put it.  Then someone, I believe it was Otto Tatar, suggested that we call the weekend just what it is: ‘three days.’  Strongly in favor of honoring the Spanish origin of the Cursillo movement, I translated “three days” to Spanish: Tres Días.  That name was adopted by acclamation.”  (http://www.tresdias.org/Miscel/History/Genesis_of_Tres_Dias.htm)

The article is worth reading in its entirety because it reminds us of how the Holy Spirit moves and works through us, not just on the weekend, but everyday.  David was not alone in his mission to bring the experience he had at a Cursillo weekend to others.  It was a friend of his who encouraged him to go on that weekend, and it was a series of meetings with him and others that led to the creation of that first team.  The training came from a Cursillo de Cursillos weekend, a train-the-leader event, but the path from Cursillo to Tres Dias was a bumpy one.  All he thought he needed was a list of the Protestants who had attended Cursillos, but without the support of the Cursillo community and the Catholic Archdiocese, David was stopped dead in his tracks.  The Holy Spirit kept at him and he kept at the Cursillo Council.  When he was about to give up, the permission came, and he was able to gather the people together.
Twenty-eight years later, we continue to feel the presence of God’s Spirit with us on the weekend, and every time we gather together.  Unlike David, who had trouble finding the names of people who could help him get started, we have a list of people who attended nearly two hundred weekends since we began our journey together so many years ago.  With all that talent, all the treasures of the Holy Spirit within us, and a little time, imagine how many mountains we could move.  So, as we remember our roots this November, it would be a good time to remember our weekends, those we attended as candidates and team members, and let’s get with the Spirit again.  Come celebrate our beginnings by attending a Secuela, signing a Bioo to be on team, and bringing a friend or two to Christ.  Happy Birthday, Tres Dias!