August-October 2013
In this Issue                                                                    click title to jump to the story.
The President's Letter

Hello again to all Pescadores around the world!
The Assembly this past July was a wonderful event, and it was really great to see people from  around the world sitting in that great sanctuary of the Homewood Church of Christ near Birmingham, Alabama.
    As I was speaking to the Assembly about the growth that Tres Dias has experienced over the past 30 years and where we might be in the next 30, I commented that the room we were in would probably not be big enough to hold us. We had about 150 in attendance at this year's Assembly, drawn from our current roster of approximately 100 communities. Based on our projected growth, we will have expanded to include more than 500 communities in that 30-year time frame.  At that point, we could easily have 1,000 in attendance for Assembly!
    The Assembly approved a modification to the census method that has been in place these past 30 years. Under the old method, we asked the communities to count "active pescadores" every year, and we based the community's  dues  and the number of votes it received  on that number.  It was very difficult for many communities to determine this number. Moreover, we did not have the ability to audit a community's reported number, as there was no definitive method of determining "active pescadores."  After several years of effort, we developed a method based on "new pescadores in a calendar year."
    For example, if your community held four weekends last year and had 30 new pescadores per weekend, your count will be 120. To complement the new method, we developed a tier structure to determine the dues owed and the votes you receive for proxy and floor votes at Assembly.

Tier 1    1 - 50    $50.00    1
Tier 2    51 - 75    $200.00    2
Tier 3    76 - 100    $300.00    3
Tier 4     101 - 150    $600.00    4
Tier 5    151 or more    $1,000.00    5

As you can see from the table, the 120 new pescadores will place you on tier 4. Your community will receive 4 votes for proxy ballots and floor votes and you will owe $600 in dues.
    We believe this system will make paying assessments much easier, and it will help us  monitor how well each community is doing. If we see a major drop in the number of new pescadores, we have resources we can bring to bear to assist that community in recharging its activity level and getting back to that dynamic status that will help it reach out to the world with the message of God's Grace!
    Thank you again for your wonderful service to God through the ministry of Tres Dias.

Yours in Christ,

 Bruce Cato 

President, Tres Dias International Secretariat 

Book review

The Cursillo Movement in America:
Catholics, Protestants,  and Fourth-Day Spirituality

By Kristy Nabhan-Warren
University of North Carolina Press, 2013

Reviewed by Don Bohl
In her preface to this exhaustively researched and richly anecdotal account of the fourth-day movement in America, Kristy Nabhan-Warren remarks that the men and women who have experienced a Tres Dias weekend "may know some of the history of their movement, but what they do not know is that it is part of a global movement that traces its origins to 1944 Mallorca, Spain."
    Quite likely, many participants in our sister organizations, Walk to Emmaus,  Via de Cristo,  and Episcopal Cursillo, are equally unaware. We tend to see ourselves as separate movements, perhaps even believing that no one else uses roosters and rainbows as symbols, holds up a three-legged stool to talk about "piety, study, action" or sings "DeColores" on the way to dinner.
    Indeed, the Tres Dias Website provides a one-page history of  Tres Dias, explaining how Eduardo Bonnin, a layman, was led to create the first Cursillo de Cristiandad in the aftermath of Spanish Civil War. That history goes on to tell how this 72-hour "course in Christian living" flew to America on the wings of the Spanish Airmen who staged the first US Cursillo in Texas, and how  a handful of leaders in Newburgh, NY, negotiated with the National Cursillo Center to create an ecumenical weekend open to Protestants as well as Catholics.
    But the Tres Dias history page says nothing about how other organizations struck an agreement with the National Cursillo Center to replicate the weekend, about how Catholic Cursillo has  spread internationally, or about the numerous mavericks and spin-offs: Teens Encounter Christ, The Great Banquet, Christ Renews His Parish, Kairos Inside, and others.
    The Cursillo Movement in America sets the record straight, showing how the organizations in the movement are closely related, drawing from the same method, guided by the same Spirit, and each bringing Christians closer to Christ in its own way. This, then, is a seminal work, documenting the Cursillo movement as a major development in American religious history and placing that development in a central position, rather than on the sidelines. It is an important work for historians. It is also important for those of  us in the movement who want a broader view of  our past as well as our potential future. Kristy Nabhan-Warren provides both.
      Readers should understand that this is a book of ethnographic research, meaning that the author  set out to identify the spiritual history of the movement as written in the lives of the people who are living it. She examined written historical records, but more importantly, conducted hundreds  upon hundreds of interviews, when possible with the founders of each movement, and if they were no longer living, with leaders and also participants--a lot of participants. She grounded herself in Bonnin's writings and went on to interview those who had known him. And she experienced a Catholic Cursillo and a Kairos weekend and takes the reader inside each, describing the day-by-day progression and her personal response to each event. Tres Dias readers will be struck by how closely the Cursillo weekend parallels our own, in both format and spiritual dynamics.
    The portrait of Bonnin is especially interesting. She paints a portrait of a "slightly built, bespectacled Mallorquin" with his zest for life, sense of humor, and "abiding passion for helping laity develop their spiritual lives." We learn that the 72-hour Cursillo de Cristiandad he developed was motivated by politics as well as piety, as he attempted to distance himself from the Spanish Catholic Action movement of the 1930s and 1940s and that movement's affiliation with extreme right-wing politics of the Spanish Catholic Church and national government.
    We also learn that Bonnin liked to fold origami birds during meetings, traveled widely in American and elsewhere to support both Catholic and Protestant secretariats, and (by the way) never insisted that men experience a weekend before wives.
    But the vitality of the book is in the descriptions of each organization in the fourth-day movement and the interviews with people who have experienced weekends in each. Clearly, Kristy Nabhan-Warren is a woman of faith as well as a researcher, and she writes with reverence and with respect for how these weekends have changed lives. As she notes, the history of the movement is not filled with "co-incidents," but with "God incidents," a phrase she picked up from her interview with Tres Dias founder John Mckinney.
    In her final chapter, the author steps above her ethnographic immersion to reaffirm her central purpose, to define the Cursillo movement's place in the history of religion in  twentieth century American. She notes, for example, that the movement took root when ecumenism was in the air (Vatican II). This was also a time of the "small group movement" as well as growth in non-denominational church bodies.
    She goes on to say that ecumenism has been one critical success factor in the movement's growth. Moreover, each organization's appeal beyond denominational boundaries may influence future growth, as mainstream denominations suffer declining membership and nondenominational churches take root. Walk to Emmaus (Methodist) and  Via de Cristo (Lutheran) operate with a denominational reference, but welcome team and candidate participation from other denominations. Tres Dias, of course, was founded on a basic ecumenical premise-"To celebrate what all Christians have in common and respect the differences." For this reason, she believes that Tres Dias has the best prospects for significant growth.



Kristy Nabhan-Warren is the V.O. And Elizabeth Figge Fellow in Catholic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Virgin of El Barrio, Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism.


A Weekend Story 

The Power of Three


Erin McCallon-Estremera

On a sunny, comfortable afternoon in May, three friends gathered together and began their three-day journey inward.

     When I was considering the Tres Dias retreat and very much undecided, I learned that another member of my church had made the decision to attend the weekend. Okay, I thought, maybe that would work, I mean, I would know at least one other person there. A few days later while still undecided, I heard the news that another member had also made the commitment. Suddenly, the decision for me to attend was rock stable. There is a certain power in three.

     God works for us, Jesus works in us, the Holy Spirit works through us - this is a breath mantra that I often turn to when praying for my home church and church family. At some point as we made the drive from my home church to the retreat center, I became aware of my breathing. In that moment, instead of allowing my mind to wander, I prayed the prayer above, matching the rhythm of my breath with the centering words; inhale.... "God works for us," exhale.. "Jesus works in us," inhale. "The Holy Spirit works through us." I continued the pattern until my mind was free of outside distractions and focused on stillness. Father, Son and Holy Spirit--there is a certain power in three.

     Three days seems strange for a retreat. I mean. . . overnight retreat, weekend retreat, even a week-long retreat for the super-spiritual soul! But three days? What's up with that?

     Day one of Tres Dias, I was anxious about the journey. I experienced a flutter of excitement when we arrived and were greeted by friendly, helpful women who gave us a warm, sincere welcome.

     Day two of Tres Dias, I found myself questioning whether I had made the right decision to attend. Was I fully present? Could I participate without anticipation? What was falling apart at home without me there?

     Day three of Tres Dias, I had absolute confirmation from a loving God that I was on solid ground - right where I needed to be. Did you know that The Federal Trade Commission's rules state that a consumer has until midnight on the third day to cancel without penalty, a contract for any purchase over $25.00? I don't know how they arrived at that number, but there is a certain power in three.

     "No matter the length of the legs or the unevenness of the ground, a three-legged stool will always stand firm and solid," we were told. Piety, study and action. Our egos were checked at the door - we were called to empty ourselves of ourselves and move only to the calling of God's will, and on occasion, a bell. We were challenged to transform our learning into knowing, and our knowing, into sharing, another way of saying piety, study, action. There is a clear and certain power in three.

     Three girls, three days, three-in-one God, three legged stool, three meals, the power of three is all around us ...One of the most persistent models of preaching is a three point sermon. It's a good model. Two points seem like too few, four seem like too many.  Although not a sermon, I feel empowered to leave you with these three thoughts. We came, We learned, We serve.

     On a sunny, comfortable afternoon in May, three friends returned to their homes for their fourth-day journey, outward.


De Colores!


Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the May-June issue of the Fairfield County Tres Dias newsletter.



Welcome these Newly Chartered Communities!

(Chartered between September 2012 and July 2013)


Brazos Valley Tres Dias, Normangee, TX

Heart of Texas Tres Dias

Lehigh Valley Tres Dias, Allentown, PA

Irvine Tres Dias (Korean), Irvine, CA

Lviv Tres Dias, Ukraine 

Northern California Tres Dias, Sacramento Area

Tres Dias of Danmark, Denmark

South Central Kentucky Tres Dias, sponsored by Western Kentucky  


And cheer on these emerging communities and their sponsors!



Chiclayo (Peru) Tres Dias, sponsored by Peru Tres Dias

Northwest Foothills of Georgia Tres Dias, sponsored by Tres Dias of North Georgia

Kansas City Tres Dias, sponsored by Sabine Creek Tres Dias

Kingston Ontario Tres Dias, sponsored by

Midwest Kansas Tres Dias, sponsored by St. Louis Tres Dias

Northeast Georgia Tres Dias, sponsored by Tres Dias of North Georgia

Northwest Arkansas Tres Dias, sponsored by Music City Tres Dias

South Central Kentucky Tres Dias, sponsored by Western Kentucky

Tres Dias con Dios (Spanish), sponsored by Southeast Tennessee

Voronezh, Russia, sponsored by Moscow Tres Dias




Future Meetings

October 11-13, 2013: SecretariatCleveland OH TD
March 7-9, 2014: SecretariatSabine Creek TD (45 min NE of Dallas)
July 25-27, 2014: Assembly & SecretariatTD of North Georgia (Atlanta area)
October 2014 (dates TBD): SecretariatNorthern VA TD
March 13-15, 2015: SecretariatWaiting confirmation
July 10-12, 2015: Assembly & SecretariatAbundant Life TD, Rockford, IL
October 2015 (dates TBD): SecretariatTBD
March 4-6, 2016: SecretariatTampa Bay TD (location TBD)

The Colors of Tres Dias International is published by the Services Committee of the Tres Dias International Secretariat.  Ned Heffington chairs the commitee and serves as associate editor and proofreader.
Our objective is to publish six issues a year. To read prior issues, use this link:


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