Via de Cristo (The Way of Christ) is a 3-day spiritual retreat intended for people who live a strong and active Christian life and also for those who seek to be renewed and strengthened in their relationship with Christ. The objective is to inspire, challenge and equip local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches and communities.

Immanuel Lutheran has hosted a metro area Via de Cristo weekend for men and women and supports the ministry of Via de Cristo (and the youth version - TEC). 

Next Weekend Opportunities:

Men: October 17-20
Women: October 24-27

It will be held at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in West St. Paul.

If you would like more information on Via de Cristo and what these weekends are about, please contact Janell Weum,  or Mike Berdahl,


History of Via de Cristo

  • The movement originated as “Cursillo®” in the late 1940’s in the Spanish Catholic church and moved to the United States in the late 1950’s.
  • It began in the Lutheran church when lay people and clergy attended a Catholic Cursillo in 1971, both in Iowa and Florida. The first Lutheran sponsored weekends were held in 1972 in Iowa and Florida and have now been held in over 25 states and some foreign countries. Via de Cristo is the Lutheran expression of this method which is currently being used in many denominations including: Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches.
  • In January of 1980, the first set of Lutheran-sponsored Cursillo weekends were held in Minnesota at Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina. The Minnesota Episcopal Cursillo Community supported and helped establish Cursillo in the Lutheran Community in Minnesota.
  • In 1986, the National Lutheran Secretariat, representing all existing Lutheran Cursillo communities, voted to become ecumenical and changed our name to Via de Cristo, meaning “Way of Christ.”
  • Via de Cristo was started in Salt Lake City, Utah in October, 1995 with the assistance of Minnesota Via de Cristo. The first two weekends were held and staffed by a team from Minnesota and a few members from Utah who had attended Via de Cristo in Minnesota.

Purpose of Via de Cristo

  • Via de Cristo is based on the fundamentals of Christianity, concentrating on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ. The focus is not on Via de Cristo itself, but on one's relationship with Christ and the local church.
  • The objective of the movement is to inspire, challenge and equip local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches and communities.

What happens on a Via de Cristo weekend?

  • A Via de Cristo weekend is three days in length, beginning on Thursday evening and ending the following Sunday evening. The participants live, study, worship and commune together daily.
  • Fourteen talks are given, nine by lay people and five by clergy. Following each talk, small round table discussions focus on the main points of the talk and a poster is drawn. The talks, in an overlapping fashion, present the Christian life, based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.
  • These talks give those attending a living understanding of basic Christian truths. There is music and singing, food and fellowship, a time for laughter and for prayer.

What happens after the weekend?

  • You may attend Via de Cristo only ONCE in your life, but you are asked to build on it for the rest of your life. After you have attended a Via de Cristo weekend you are considered a Fourth Dayer (meaning the rest of your life), and you are encouraged to:

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

  • Via de Cristo also offers two ongoing means of perseverance:

1. RENEWAL GROUPS, small groups of men or women who meet regularly to study, pray, share and help one another in their quest for spiritual development,
2. ULTREYA, gatherings of the local church Via de Cristo community for encouragement and fellowship.

Who should attend a Via de Cristo weekend?

  • 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 weekends are usually paired, with men attending the first weekend, and women attending the second weekend.


Keep an open mind and heart in making your decision to attend Via de Cristo. Many of those who have attended also wondered whether they should go. Now that they have attended, they want to share this wonderful gift from God. Please understand that their experience attending Via de Cristo was unique, and all the conversations in the world will not become a substitute for your weekend. You need to experience a weekend yourself to obtain its full and life enriching value.

Contact Information

If you would like more information on Via de Cristo, please contact: Immanuel Lutheran Church Liaison Mike Berdahl 612-839-5141