Decolores En Cristo

Our History

From Cursillo to DeColores en Cristo

"De colores....rollo....abrazo...ultreya...a person listening to crucistas talk among them might be tempted to assume that DeColores is a secret society with a Spanish flavor. However, any one of the hundreds of thousands of cursillistas and crusistas will explain that DeColores is a retreat, a movement, and most important a method of spirituality.

Cursillo (meaning short course) began in 1949 when bishop Juan Hervas and a group of dedicated laymen were seeking a way to renew the diocese of Majorca, Spain. They developed a spiritual renewal method consisting of a weekend retreat and several forms to follow-up. This method remains essentially unchanged.

The first cursillo weekend in the United States was held in Texas in 1957. During the next four years Spanish language weekends were held throughout Texas, in Phoenix, Arizona, New York City, and in Lorain, Ohio.

The first English language cursillo was held in San Angelo, Texas in 1961. That same year, the movement spread to California, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Washington State.

In December of 1964, cursillo #13 was held in Muskegon at Our Lady of Grace Church with Bill Weidman as rector. Catholics, desiring to share this unique experience with their non-catholic friends and clergy, began sponsoring those of varied faiths to weekends. This began on a very small scale and at a slow pace, but by the mid 70's, hundreds of men and women, laypeople and the clergy from virtually all major denominations, had made a cursillo struggling with the fact that the cursillo in the Muskegon area was no longer fulfilling it's original purpose to the catholic diocese, but at the same time believing in the interfaith experience that had evolved. De colores en cristo was born.

The English translation is "the colors of Christ". There are other denominational cursillos..., Presbyterian, episcopal, etc.., as well as cursillos in other countries. De colores were born in the spirit of interfaith communion of the love feast... the agape. It is important to realize that the de colores movement was born of love and not law.

The first de colores were held in Muskegon in 1980. In 1981, the first de colores was held inside the walls of Muskegon correctional facility, An attempt was made to hold two weekends each year. This was possible for many years until over-crowding in the facility interfered. Two weekends were held in Camp Geneva in Holland and others in Grand Rapids. In January 1985, de colores officially expanded to Grand Rapids with that secretariat being the first offspring. Other areas in Michigan with secretariats include Detroit, southwest Michigan, Michigan West Shore Ministries, Traverse City, and Effingham, Illinois. Who knows where god will take this movement next.

God has blessed de colors with dedicated leadership, laity and clergy, protestant and catholic. With requests from across the country desiring this interfaith experience it is sure to continue to grow. De colores were founded in the cursillo "method", but there have been some changes and refinements since that first weekend in 1949 to accommodate the interfaith experience. For example, the catholic cursillo is centered on the mass, while de colores are centered on the word.

You are here today because a group of dedicated men was given a "vision" of a method of renewing their catholic diocese in Spain. Another group was given the "inspiration" to translate the method into the English language, and another group had the "courage" to work together across denominational barriers and boundaries to bring us to where we are today.

Just as the men and women in 1949 are a part of this history, so are you. For who knows where the lord will lead de colores en cristo tomorrow?


The CURSILLO Cross, as we know it today, was started by four men who worked at Howmet Corporation around 1964 or 1965. It was then the Misco Division, Plant No. 2, located in Muskegon. The men had made a CURSILLO and came up with the idea of making a cross for the weekends. Then men pulled their resources together and, with the help of a local tool company, a die was constructed for the wax patterns.

There was an interim period of a few years, around the early seventies, when expansion and growth was going on at Howmet. Tooling was moved to various plants, and the wax die used for making the patterns was misplaced. Until it was finally located, the crosses were made out of aluminum in a foundry somewhere in Muskegon.

One wax pattern of the cross is injected at a time. They are inspected and eighty patterns are wax welded to wax gating bars to form clusters. When the clusters are finished (usually ten clusters at a time) they are run through a Mono-Shell process. The Mono-Shell material forms a mold all around the wax patterns. The molds are then dried and the wax is melted out. The molds are then run through a preheat furnace and baked at about 2100° F. At the same time, the metal is heated to about 2800° F. The mold is pulled out of the furnace and the metal is poured into the mold. After the mold is cooled, the shell is removed by a cleaning process. The crosses are then cut off from the gating bar. The crosses are then cleaned in another process to remove the balance of the Mono-Shell material. They are then belted all over and made ready for painting.

The crosses are then painted with various colors of Tester’s Hobby paints. The crosses are painted using flat toothpicks. The small end is dipped into the paint and then dropped into a window on the cross. The excess paint is removed and front of the cross is re-polished.

The rings are put on and the leis are crocheted and tied onto the crosses. They are then delivered to each De Colores en Cristo weekend.

From the time the crosses are injected into the wax die and go through all the processes, through to tying on the leis, there are many, many people who work on them and there are many man hours spent on each cross. The value of each cross is approximately $85.00 or more.

The cross was designed somewhat in the same fashion as the Jerusalem Cross. It has thirteen windows, which represents Jesus at the top window and his twelve apostles below. If you look straight at the cross, you can see the Jewish insignia that represents our Lord.

The Jerusalem Cross is made of brass or bronze, and each cross is painted with the same colors. The CURSILLO Cross is made from a super alloy used for making turbine blades and vanes, that are used in jet engines. The alloy we use for the crosses, however is scrap alloy.

The crosses are painted using fifteen various colors, and not one cross is painted using the same colors. The chances of finding two crosses with the same colors in the same windows is about one chance in fourteen million. The colors represent all the peoples of the world. Jesus did not stick with his own race – he reached out and touched everyone – all colors.

The leis are multi-color yarn and are crocheted to a length that, hopefully, places the cross next to your heart – so wear your cross with pride and keep Jesus close to your heart always.

De Colores,
From the Cross People