ULTREYA !

 

Onward !, Upward !

"Ultreya" was the shout of the Pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostella in Spain. It is a shout of encouragement - keep climbing, keep going - which Pilgrims called out as they reached the Monte de gozo (Mount of Joy) and caught a first glimpse of the shrine. The first Cursillistas made a pilgrimage from Mallorca to Santiago de Compostella in the early forties, under very hard conditions (bad trains, not much food or water); to keep their spirits up and to encourage one another they used "Ultreya".

(Recounted by Fr. Sebastian Gaya, a priest who was on that pilgrimage)

"Ultreya" is used as a greeting between Cursillistas, to encourage one another to keep going onward and upward, and is also used for times when the Cursillo community meets to share and rejoice together.
A "Primitive Ultreya" is a meeting where Cursillistas share and pray together.
An "Ultreya con Fiesta" usually also includes singing and food in addition to sharing and prayer.

Ultreya !

Origins of the phrase "Ultreya" within the Cursillo Movement

As related by Emilio Fra (Alcala de Henares, Spain)
Extensively reworded by Scotty Ward, Episcopal Cursillo, Diocese of Washington, DC

In the area of Mallorca, Spain, Catholic men would strive to deepen their spiritual growth through a pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela. This shrine was located on a mountain called "Monte del gozo". The pilgrims would have to take a long and difficult journey in order to reach this shrine.
The pilgrims, when they first arrived at Monte del gozo, would shout "Ultreya!", because it is the first place you can see Santiago de Compostela in your path.

ULTREYA literally translates as "To go on". This jubilant exclamation was said from one pilgrim to another in order to encourage themselves.

The origin of the exclamation within the movement dates from the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the 1940s (when the Cursillo movement started). The pilgrims from Mallorca took up the expression "ULTREYA" to encourage one another, because the conditions along the way (in very bad trains, with not much food or water, etc.) were really very hard.

"I know all this because I have heard it from Mr. Sebastian Gaya a priest who was actually on that pilgrimage."

* Scotty's note: As related by word of mouth from Eduardo Bonnin, a founder of the movement, another appropriate translation is "Charge!".

 

Dr. Rollinson

Department of Religion
ENMU Station 19
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated: March 11, 2007