The History of Tres Dias
The Three Days (Tres Dias) had it's beginnings in the turmoil
and destruction of civil warfare and the Second World War, which left Spain with
empty churches and a sense of aimlessness and diminished dreams. Late in the
1940's, a sense of revival was stirring within the Roman Catholic Church. Small
group of of friends in various Catholic action groups began to share their faith
regularly to help one another. Pilgrimages were organized whereby men and women
could rededicate their lives toward Christian ideals. Bishop Juan Hervas, who
was active in action groups and renewal activities with the men on the island of
Majorca, and Eduardo Bonin who was involved with re-organizing pilgrimages, met
through these sharing groups. They began to see how the church could benefit and
the lives of people could be changed through studying and sharing their lives in
With a broadening vision of what these small Reunion Groups could accomplish,
weekly meetings produced periodic retreats where the reality of living a
Christian life was intensively taught and experienced through support of the
Reunion Groups. These retreats became known as Cursillos de Christiandad, which
means "short courses in Christianity." Originally, the retreats grew out of the
Cursillos were open only
to men. After the tragedy of war in Spain, the church was composed of few men.
Since the objective was to revitalize the church, this meant bringing men back
into the activities of the church.
The Cursillo movement was confined to Spain until the late 1950's when a group
of men from the Spanish Air Force who were training in Texas and in a share group, conducted the first Cursillo in the United States.
The movement began to spread across the United States among Spanish-speaking
The first English-speaking Cursillo was not held until the early 1960's.
When Protestants began attending weekends, Roman Catholics saw the need to make
the experience available to Protestants which led to the development of the
inter-denominational Tres Dias Movement, leading to the following timeline:
November 2-5, 1972: The first Tres Dias weekend was held in Newburgh, NY (at the
Oblate House -- the same location where Mid-Hudson weekends were held
until 2001 when the Oblate House was sold and later demolished!). Dave McManigal, a Protestant who had attended a Roman Catholic Cursillo and who was
led to be instrumental in forming Tres Dias, was the first Rector. Others
involved in starting Tres Dias were Helmut Maier and Bob and Mary Essert.
there Tres Dias spread into New England, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The
earliest communities were Pittsburgh, Fairfield County (Ct), Northern New
Jersey, Long Island, Maine, Central Connecticut, New Hampshire and South
Spring, 1979: With the encouragement of the Mid-Hudson Secretariat, John
McKinney formed an ad hoc "National" Secretariat with Jim Thornley, Anton
Wellbrock, Gerry Hoernes, and Bob Decker. That group produced initial
drafts of a "National" Constitution and "Essentials of Tres Dias". All
other communities were invited to participate and refine the drafts.
July 11, 1980: The Constitution and Essentials were ratified and adopted
in Poughkeepsie, NY by all of the participating communities. The
secretariats of the communities were chartered as local secretariats. John
McKinney was the first president. Subsequently, Tres Dias was incorporated as
a not-for-profit corporation in New York state.
Dias became "International" when communities were chartered in Korea and
As of 2005, there were over 60 Tres Dias communities
worldwide, with additional communities in various stages of the chartering
process. The International Secretariat, which serves as the Board of
Directors of Tres Dias, meets three times per year.
In addition, there is an annual meeting of all Secretariats (The Assembly) each
July. For more information on the worldwide aspects of Tres Dias, go to the
international Tres Dias website at
Tres Dias is unique in that it is a Christian experience open to all who
are in agreement with the
Statement of Belief
and who desire a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Tres Dias is not
sponsored by any single Christian denomination.
1) The goal of Tres Dias is to inspire believers to return to their home
churches revitalized to take on leadership roles.
2) Tres Dias believes that the key to the successful Christian
walk lies in small group sharing: The periodic gathering of small groups
of friends for mutual sharing and accountability. (In Tres Dias lingo,
Share Groups are called "Reunion Groups").
3) There are no secrets in Tres Dias. The weekend
activities are guided by the previously noted "Essentials of Tres Dias" which is
posted for public viewing on the International Tres Dias Website (www.tresdias.org).
4) The process is quite simple: While respectfully
downplaying those things that divide us, Tres Dias attempts to remove
denominational barriers by focusing on those things that unite us:
The Triune God,
The unconditional love of God,
The belief that salvation is a gift of God's grace received
through personal faith in Jesus Christ
In other words, we can put aside denominational differences and
come together at the foot of the Cross to share, learn, and worship our Lord and
As this movement continues to grow, we pray that it will continue to be faithful
to God's Spirit. May we be among the Christian leaders God is using to
revitalize His people.
Although Tres Dias is a
powerful tool which God has used consistently, it must NEVER take the
place of, or be a substitute for worship in your own church. Rather, it
should enhance your regular church commitment!