Many people make Back to the Mountain weekend an annual pilgrimage, finding it a wonderful opportunity for renewal and to reconnect to the larger Cursillo community.
The first San Diego Episcopal Cursillo "Back to the Mountain Retreat" was held in 1987. The first weekend began at noon on Saturday and ended after lunch on Sunday. It was quickly expanded to include Friday evening and end late Sunday morning after Eucharist.
The structure of the weekends have varied over the years. Early weekends had three talks on Saturday and a fourth talk on Sunday morning. In recent weekends there have only been three Saturday talks. Some Back to the Mountain weekends included a Saturday evening Ultreya, others have had evening skits.
The format has become somewhat standardized with each rector and rectora adding activities to complement their theme. Friday night begins with music, introductions, and clergy reflection on the weekend theme. The evening ends with compline, and then guests may visit or choose to have some quiet time. Often the Blum library is designated as a quiet area for reading and reflection.
Saturday starts with morning prayer in the chapel area followed by breakfast in the dining hall. After breakfast there are two talks with discussion and/or an activity. There is a break between the two morning talks. Another talk and discussion time follows lunch. Arrangements are normally made to have books and other items available for purchase from Saturday morning until the Saturday afternoon break. A long afternoon break is planned to give people the opportunity to go on a hike, drive into Julian, take a nap, visit with friends, or just take some quiet reflective time. Before dinner there is a clergy reflection, Eucharist, and healing service. After dinner there is another clergy talk, sharing of personal blessings and challenges, compline, and then time for socializing and music.
Sunday morning begins with morning prayer, followed by breakfast. There is then time to pack and clean the facilities. The weekend is completed with morning Eucharist. An additional witness talk may be given at the Eucharist.