Western North Carolina
Via de Cristo
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. This instrument of renewal
originated in Spain under the name of "Cursillo". It has been in North Carolina
since September, 1976. It is a highly 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. This renewal movement is presented as a united effort of laypersons
and clergy to aid congregations in the development of Christian leaders.
- A Via de Cristo Retreat is an encounter with Christ in which the participant becomes a
part of a community abounding in Gods grace . It enhances and strengthens our
personal relationship with Christ, with our Christian brothers and sisters and with the
Christian community. The Via de Cristo Retreat is coming face to face with Christ.
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 a group of people who can deal with
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
- The Via de Cristo Retreat itself is centered around fifteen talks (5 each day) with five
given by pastors and ten given by laypersons who are part of a team, who have previously
attended a Via de Cristo Retreat and had weeks of leadership training. The talks deal with
living ones life in Gods grace. After each talk, the candidates discuss the
main point of the talk in small groups. The atmosphere in a retreat weekend is intended to
and does resemble the early Christian community.
- The effectiveness of the retreat proceeds from the natural means used (talks,
discussion, group participation, singing, laughing, worshipping, etc.) in combination with
the grace of God. The Via de Cristo movement recognizes the need for helping and
supporting each other - the Christian community - and this is the manner in which the
movement is structured.
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. In short, the person who attends a
retreat should recognize that being a Christian involves responsibility as well as
privilege. It is highly desirable that the pastor of a candidate has previously attended a
Via de Cristo Retreat so that the movement within a parish has proper pastoral support and
- There are retreats for men only, women only
and co-ed weekends. Couples and single men and women are welcome to participate in a
- The Men’s, Women’s and Mixed week-ends are
held at Camp Dogwood and cost $100 per person.
After the Retreat, what?
- After the Via de Cristo Retreat, participants are expected 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 life on earth.
- Perseverance is a part of any method of renewal. In the Via de Cristo movement, the
community spirit is continued after the three days through "reunions" of a small
group (2-5) who meet weekly to encourage one another in their quest for spiritual
improvement 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
- 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.
May I attend a Via de Cristo Retreat?
- For Further Information contact:
Western North Carolina Lutheran
Via de Cristo Movement
P.O. Box 512
Hickory, NC 28603
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