1) What is Via de Cristo?
Via de Cristo means “the Way of Christ”. It is a name used by Lutherans for a movement of personal Christian renewal within the Church. Via de Cristo in Spain in the 1940s under the name of “Cursillo”. Via de Cristo has been in North Carolina since 1976. It is a structured, well-thought-out method for renewing the faith of individuals, the congregations from which they come and the environments in which they live and work.
A Via de Cristo Retreat is an encounter with Christ in which the participant becomes a part of a community abounding in God’s grace . It enhances and strengthens our personal relationship with Christ, with our Christian brothers and sisters and with the Christian community.
2) What is the goal of Via de Cristo?
The Via de Cristo has a goal – to change the world, to remake the world in Christ, and to restore all things to Christ. It is important to view the process of Via de Cristo as a movement and not as an organization. The Via de Cristo viewed as a movement means that it is an on-going process. The Via de Cristo movement does not work directly with the problems of the church and society, but works to form groups of people who can deal with these problems.
3) How does the Via de Cristo accomplish its aims?
During the three days of a particular Via de Cristo retreat weekend, participants live together, study together and communicate with one another in order to gain a deep, permanent, living awareness of their faith and of the responsibility that such a deep awareness involves.
4) What happens on a retreat weekend?
The Via de Cristo weekend is an experience in Christian sharing and living. During the 72-hours, fourteen talks will be presented: Five talks are given by Lutheran pastors and nine by lay people. The weekend also includes chapel each morning, communion, small group discussions, sharing, music, singing, laughter, and prayer. The fourteen talks are discussed by the participants in small groups and will include a Christian perspective on the following subjects:
Each of the talks deals with living one’s life in God’s grace.
5) Who should attend a Via de Cristo Retreat?
The retreat is designed for those Christians who, having been informed of the methods and aims of the movement, believe that the retreat can strengthen them in their faith and bring them closer to Christ in their discipleship.
Most of Eastern NC Via de Cristo’s retreats are “co-ed” – for men and women. Once in a great while we will hold a men only or women only retreat weekend.
Our Retreat Weekends are held at Camp Apape’ Lutheran Camp near Fuquay-Varina, NC and cost $150 per person. Financial Aid / Scholarship are available if the cost is prohibitive. Just ask – really!
6) Why do I need a sponsor?
The sponsor is not a gate-keeper or a way to make Via de Cristo “exclusive”. Far from it.
The sponsor is responsible for answering questions the guest has, assisting with registration for the retreat, arranging transportation to and from the retreat, arranging a few surprises for their guest, and connecting the guest to a prayer & share group (if desired) after the retreat weekend.
7) After the Retreat, what?
After the Via de Cristo Retreat, participants are asked to do two things:
(1) Expand their own inner spiritual life.
(2) Become more active apostles of Christ. The “after” activity of the Retreat is known as the “Fourth Day”. The “Fourth Day” is actually the balance of the participant’s life.
Perseverance is a part of any method of renewal. In the Via de Cristo movement, the community spirit is continued after the three day retreat through “reunions” of a small group (2-6) who meet weekly to encourage one another in their quest for spiritual discernment and discipleship. Participation in group reunions, though an integral part of the Via de Cristo movement and strongly suggested as essential for true renewal, is of course, totally voluntary.
It is hoped that participants will become more effective leaders in their local congregations as a result of the Via de Cristo and “Fourth Day” experiences.
8) How do I attend a retreat?