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.
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.
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.
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 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:
Grace II (Pastor)
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:
Means of Grace, Word and Sacrament (Pastor)
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:
Life in Grace (Pastor)
Christian Community in Action (Layperson)
Total Security in the Fourth Day (Layperson)
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:
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:
Meetings of the local community for encouragement, fellowship, and study, andFriendship/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.
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.