What is Pilgrimage?

Why me? Why now?

The Chicagoland Pilgrimage weekend, formerly known as Chicagoland Cursillo, is a three-day short course in Christian living and leadership. The weekend is much more than a retreat. Many participants experience unconditional love, freely given, and return home more aware of their daily walk with Christ and their role in reconciling creation. The three day journey is a gift and part of a lifelong calling to serve and worship Christ.

The Pilgrimage weekend is open to all Christians, regardless of tradition or church affiliation. The weekend is co-ed. Material covered and practices are consistent with the Reformed, Protestant tradition. Though the weekend is led by non-ordained believers just like you, there are at least two clergy actively participating and available for individual council.

During the once-yearly Pilgrimage weekend (beginning Thursday at 5:00 pm, and continuing through early Sunday afternoon), participants worship, study, eat, pray, sing, discuss, and laugh together. Yes, some may feel awkward at first, but soon many feel awake, energized, and for the first time acutely aware and grateful for being a truly loved, unique, and a precious child of God. No advance study or preparation is required to participate. You need not be a current church member or belong to a specific denomination or tradition. You only need to be a follower of Christ and called to come. Scholarships are available.

Learn more about what happens after you apply to attend, what happens during the weekend, and what can happen after the weekend. Note: these links will take you to our parent organization, the National Council of Presbyterian Pilgrimage-Cursillo.

Short talks and small-group discussions make up the bulk of the Pilgrimage experience.

Each day of the weekend has a theme.  Day 1 is Liberated by Christ. Day 2 is Transformed by Christ and Day 3 is Sent by Christ.

On Day 1, themed Liberation, we hear about Christian ideals and the human journey, grace as an invitation from God, the body of Christ which is the people of Christ, Faith as a response to Grace, and practicing the presence of Christ in our daily lives.

On Day 2, themed Transformation, we hear about strategies for an effective study practice, and how we are all united in Christ by the sacraments, how action is a reflection of our commitment in love, that we are all hindered in our walk by sin and that we are nonetheless called to be Christian leaders in our community and congregations.

On Day 3, themed sent by Christ, the importance of reconciling the world back to Christ by evangelism is shared.  Our life in Christ that is fed by, and springs from, continual renewal of our faith and faith walk is discussed. And, thoughts about Christian community are shared using the Pilgrimage weekend, itself, as a taste of the ideal Christian community and the Church alive.  

But there is much more to the Pilgrimage weekend than just talks. Many say they have never laughed so hard or felt so loved. To most, this is a weekend unlike any other retreat. It is a life-transforming experience inviting us to strengthen the Christian community of our Church and homes as we persevere in our walk with Christ. An important aspect of community formation practiced at the weekend is daily worship, communion, singing, prayer, small-group discussion, and shared meals.