Palanca is a powerful word and a powerful force within Cursillo. Just ask anyone who has made a weekend and you'll hear time and time again, that palanca is the most meaningful part of their three day experience and it's impact on their Fourth Day. That's saying a lot, when you consider that each and every part of the weekend is so meaningful to the unfolding journey.

Palanca is the Spanish word for LEVER. In Cursillo, the levers that lift candidates towards God, are prayers and sacrifices made for them. Sometimes, although our intentions are solid, we lose sight of the lever and instead, concentrate on the form in which that leverage is revealed.

We can get so caught up in the style or form, that we lose the point of what palanca is and should be. Unfortunately, this introduction to palanca becomes somehow stamped in the minds of the candidates and takes on a life of its own as it is then embraced and shared with candidates on future weekends.

According to the Leaders Manual false palanca falls under the guise of 'nice things' such as flowers, candy and even letters of good wishes. . .letters with comments such as: 'have a great time'. 'wish I were with you'. . .'as I write this, I'm recalling my own weekend' ... etc.

Far better is a note that reveals prayers and sacrifices. Examples might be: 'I'll attend Mass for you during your weekend;' 'I'll skip coffee and dessert while you're there;' I'll rise early and recite the rosary for you each day.'

Another way is to write a general letter to include not just one but all candidates in your prayers. You may want to work with members of your permanent group and offer this special prayerful approach for the candidates.

And let's not forget the team; they're present to carry out the work of the Lord and have spent weeks in formation to be certain true messages (not stories) are delivered to the candidates. Palanca is needed for them as well.

When you think of palanca, think of LEVER and remember the levers of support are prayers and sacrifices. Let's all recommit to support this and in so doing, properly define the true meaning of palanca as it is passed on to future candidates.