Good News! Via de Cristo

About Via de Cristo

What is Via de Cristo?

Via de Cristo, a Spanish phrase meaning "Way of Christ," is a spiritual method for the renewal of Christian Life.

The Via de Cristo method includes an inspirational three-day weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christians and bring them to a new awareness of living in God's grace.

The purpose of Via de Cristo is, above all, to see the world reconciled to Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:20). The Via de Cristo method assists individual Christians to actively be the Church. Laypersons are encouraged to strengthen their partnerships with their pastors, to be "extensions," building up the body of Christ.

Via de Cristo is a movement within the Church of Jesus Christ. The focus is not on Via de Cristo, but on the local church -- your church and my church. The objective of the movement is to inspire, challenge, and equip local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches, and communities.

Through the Via de Cristo method, we are encouraged to persevere and grow in our faith, to become an effective channel of God's love to others, and to strengthen a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Who should atttend a Via de Cristo?

Via de Cristo is intended for lay people from every walk of life, for pastors, for people who live strong and active lives in Christ, and also for those who seek to be renewed and strengthened in their relationship with Christ and the people around them.

Via de Cristo is for Christians who seek more joy, purpose, and meaning in their faith. It is for those who desire to grow in their faith and learn more about prayer, Bible study, and sharing their faith with others.

Via de Cristo is open to married couples and single men and women. In the case of married individuals, both husband and wife are encouraged to attend a Via de Cristo weekend to strengthen their relationship as one in Christ Jesus. It is strongly recommended that the husband and wife attend the same set of weekends. If that is not possible, the husband is encouraged to attend first.

Weekend Talks

The main part of a Via de Cristo weekend centers around 9 talks given by laypersons and 5 by pastors. The talks include personal experience and are a living witness to the talk subjects.

 
Thursday
 

In Thursday's worship, two meditations are given: Know Yourself, an introspective look at our lives, what motivates us, and how we stand in relation to our God; the second is on the prodigal son parable in Luke, and how the Father sees his relationship to us, always happy to welcome us.

 
Friday
 

Friday morning's meditation is the "Three Glances of Christ," in which Jesus gazes at the Rich Young Ruler, Judas, and Peter in the midst of their denial with a look of love and longing. Five talks follow that day:

Ideal (Layperson)
We are encouraged to examine our priorities in life. What is our ideal? What goals do we set to reach it? What steps do we take to achieve it? Is it attainable?

Grace (Pastor)
God's "Ideal" is to love His creation. Grace is God's free gift of love to us. The Father is seen as always loving, always giving freely, no strings attached, always creating newness.

Laity (Layperson)
The nature of the church is defined; the local community is the nurturing, sending Body of Christ. Pastor and Laity work together to accomplish the mission of Christ -- to "go and tell." Ministry is the vocation of every believer.

Grace II (Pastor)
God's grace, showered on all, also is poured out in real, tangible ways in each of our lives -- in relationships with spouse, children, friends. God's Spirit is in us to enable us to believe and to love. God's grace overflows our lives to touch other lives through our ministry to others.

Piety (Layperson)
Various kinds of piety and piousness are presented, both false and genuine. We discover that we are practicing some forms of piety, even though not feeling "pious." Piety is seen as totally directing our entire life to God as we worship, study, grow, and serve.

 
Saturday
 

Saturday morning's meditation is "The Figure of Christ." Here Christ as both God and Man is presented. Jesus is the "word made flesh dwelling among us." Jesus is completely God, existing before He created this universe, and completely human; He was born as any other child, He lived the life we live, and He willingly died, and rose from the dead, bearing God's grace to us in love. This theme is enlarged upon during the talks:

Study (Layperson)
The role and need for study in nurturing our spiritual life are explored. The goal and purpose of study, with the obstacles to overcome, are discussed along with the resources available to enrich our understanding of the faith. References to books, Bible studies, devotionals, tapes, etc. are provided.

Means of Grace, Word and Sacrament (Pastor)
God's word is a living, active presence in our daily living and His word is also enfleshed in sacrament. Here Christ is seen to be THE Sacrament. As in water, bread, and wine, earthly elements in which grace is imparted, so in the earthly body of Christ is God's grace made real and personal, "given for you." Baptism and Holy Communion, the two Sacraments, are discussed at length. Some emphasis is also given to the special times in our lives in which we experience the love and grace of God in deeply meaningful ways, for example, birth, confirmation, marriage, and death.

Action (Layperson)
The apostles' action in "going into all the world" is the model for examining our evangelical vocation. We are encouraged to act in a way that fits our personality to "Make a friend, be a friend, and make another a friend of Christ." (Friendship evangelism)

Obstacles (Pastor)
The things (sin) that keep us from being aware of God's grace and following Him are presented: the devil, the world, our flesh. We are the ones who do not allow Christ's atonement to overcome the obstacles; God's grace is sufficient.

Leaders (Layperson)
The definition and qualities of a leader are presented as well as the spiritual qualities of a Christian leader. No one possesses all of the qualities, but each possesses enough to be used in ministry to influence and lead others to Christ.

 
Sunday
 

Sunday morning's meditation, " Christ's Message to the Via de Cristo participant," begins with the account of the transfiguration and ends with the descent from the mountain back into life and ministry. Likewise we will descend from the mountain and go back to home, job, community, church, and the nitty-gritty of our daily lives. The five talks that follow build on this theme:

Environment (Layperson)
What individuals can do to relate to, enrich, and/or change the environment in which we live, work, and play; how we can be a leavening agent in our families, at work, at church, in small groups, with our friends; how we can bring Christ into all environments.

Life in Grace (Pastor)
Sustaining our life of action takes regular feeding and encouragement and training -- all provided within the community of faith, the church. Worship, prayer, family devotions, and a weekly plan of action are presented. We are encouraged to be part of a small group to support, encourage, and nurture each other while living in God's grace.

Christian Community in Action (Layperson)
Here the content of the Action Talk is enlarged upon. The heart and soul of Christian Community is apostolic action, something we never do alone. There is strength in community which empowers us to act. Practical resources are offered.

Total Security in the Fourth Day (Layperson)
How we find security in life is compared with the total security we have been promised by God. We tap that security through others of the Body of Christ in all walks of life by sharing our pilgrimage, encouraging, building up, strengthening, and loving each other. How to form a small group is presented. After this third day, we resume our daily lives --on the fourth day. Our vocation (calling), issued in Baptism, moves us to mission. It won't be easy. We are encouraged to be a leaven, not a bomb, in our home community, and to serve without being discouraged.

   
After the Weekend

You may attend a Via de Cristo weekend only once in your life, but you are asked to build on it for the rest of your life. Via de Cristo is not a retreat, or a substitute for a retreat. Via de Cristo does not end when the weekend ends.

After you have attended a Via de Cristo weekend, you are considered to be living your Fourth Day -- the rest of your life. After attending your weekend, you are asked to do two things in your Fourth Day:

  1. Expand your inner spiritual life through study and church participation, and
  2. Become a more active witness for Christ in your daily life.

An effective Fourth Day is the fulfillment of the Via de Cristo method. It is the tree that produces the fruit.

Via de Cristo offers two ongoing means of perseverance:

Ultreya -

Meetings of the local community for encouragement, fellowship, and study, and

Friendship/Accountability Groups -

Small groups of men or women who meet regularly for a short period to help one another in their quest for spiritual development.

Participation in these two groups is a voluntary part of Via de Cristo but is strongly encouraged.

About the Weekend

A Via de Cristo weekend is a three day course to review Christian fundamentals, discuss ways to live them actively, and learn some practical tools to keep them vital.

The Via de Cristo weekend begins on Thursday night and ends the following Sunday night. During the three days, those attending live and study together. Each day there is prayer, worship, communion, and much singing. All for the purpose of gaining a deep, permanent, living awareness of one's faith and the response that comes from such awareness.

The Via de Cristo weekend is centered around 14 talks, five given by pastors and the rest by laypersons all of whom are part of a team who have attended a previous weekend. The talks present the Christian life, based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Those who attend take notes and have small roundtable discussions about the talks. In the evening table groups share the content of their discussions with the whole group. Usually there are four to six table groups of six or more persons each. Deep friendships and lasting relationships may be formed among table groups.

Each morning before breakfast, the community gathers for prayer, Scripture, and a brief meditation. The team and participants engage in worship and Holy Communion. The sermon is usually a "shared Homily" with comments from all on the meaning and application of scripture. Each evening before bed, the community gathers for brief devotion and prayer.

A brief closing ceremony is held on Sunday afternoon, in which we are reminded of our place in the mission of Christ on earth -- that we have been called for a purpose.

Via de Cristo gives those attending a living understanding of basic Christian truths. There is music and singing, food and fellowship, a time for laughter and prayer.

All activity during a Via de Cristo weekend, including the talks and meditations, is surrounded in prayer and total dependence on God.

Please keep an open mind and heart in making your decision to attend a Via de Cristo weekend. Many participants return from a Via de Cristo weekend with the desire to share that experience with others. Each person's experience attending a Via de Cristo weekend is unique. Your Via de Cristo weekend will be a gift from God, for you alone.

Upcoming Weekends

There are currently no scheduled weekends.

Participants

If you are a participant on an upcoming weekend, you may find our Essentials to Bring on the Weekend brochure helpful.