Palanca letters provide encouragement and support to individuals or groups who are participating in a spiritual retreat by conveying to the participant the prayers, personal sacrifices or works of mercy that are being offered on their behalf. Palanca letters are written by family members, sponsors or members of the congregation.
Palanca letters and the intercessory acts of Palanca are considered a fundamental part of the Cursillo Movement. The Cursillo Movement is an apostolic movement designed to encourage personal spiritual development and continued discipleship in the community. The movement was founded by Catholic lay-people in Majorca, Spain in 1944, and has since been adopted by several Christian denominations, including the Lutheran, Episcopal and Presbyterian churches.