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Vatican approves Neocatechumenal Way prayers

By on Monday, 23 January 2012

About 7,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way attended a papal audience on Friday (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

About 7,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way attended a papal audience on Friday (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Vatican has approved non-liturgical celebrations of the Neocatechumenal Way, it was announced on Friday.

At an audience on the same day Pope Benedict XVI said that the aim of the unique rite must be to encourage members to partake fully in the liturgical life of the parish.

The Pope encouraged the movement’s members to continue “to offer your original contribution to the cause of the Gospel”, and he urged them to always make sure their “precious work” was in “profound communion with the Apostolic See and the pastors of the local Church in which they’re inserted”.

“Unity and harmony of the ecclesial body are an important witness to Christ and his Gospel in the world we live in,” he said during an audience with 7,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way, a parish-based faith formation programme.

A number of top Curial officials and the Neocatechumenal Way’s Spanish founders, Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, were also in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall.

The Pontifical Council for the Laity approved a decree that said, with the approval of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the council “grants the approval of those celebrations contained in the Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way, which, are not, by their nature, already regulated by the liturgical books of the Church”.

The decree, dated January 8 and released by the Vatican on Friday, was signed by the laity council’s president, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, and its secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens.

The decree also mentioned the Vatican’s approval of the organisation’s statutes in 2008 and its catechetical directory in 2010.

In his audience talk, the Pope said that while the celebrations described in the directory had been approved, the celebrations “are not strictly liturgical, but are part of an itinerary of growth in the faith”.

“The celebrations in the small communities, regulated by the liturgical books – which are to be followed faithfully, and with the particularities approved of in the Statutes of the Way – are tasked with helping those who follow the neocatechumenal itinerary be aware of the grace of being part of the salvific mystery of Christ,” he said.

The celebrations are a kind of stepping stone to the parish Mass as a way to help form and reintroduce lapsed or ill-prepared Catholics into “the richness of sacramental life”, the Pope said. For that reason “the neocatechumenates can celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in their small communities after the first Sunday vespers according to the arrangements of the diocesan bishop”, he said.

But the Pope emphasised that every Eucharistic celebration “is ultimately directed by the bishop” and must be open to all Catholics, not just members of the Neocatechumenal Way.

“The progressive maturation in the faith” of each member and small community “must favour their insertion in the life of the greater ecclesial community, which is found in the liturgical celebration of the parish”, he said.

But during the neocatechumenate’s journey of formation “it’s important not to be separated from the parish community, precisely in the Eucharistic celebration, which is the true place of unity for everyone, where the Lord embraces us in our different stages of spiritual maturity and unites us in the one bread that makes us one body.”

The Pope said the latest oversight measure reflected the way in which the Church “accompanies you with attention in a patient discernment, understands your richness, but looks, too, toward the communion and harmony of the whole ecclesial body”.

The papal audience was an annual event in which the Pope blesses families who, responding to the request of a local bishop, agree to go off as missionaries to assist with evangelisation efforts.

Of the 18 groups being sent as missionaries and accompanied by a priest, three families were heading to Boston. The majority were heading to European cities.

  • Guest

    Please note:
    VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in
    audience more than 7,000 members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. During the
    course of the ceremony, the Holy Father sent out seventeen new “ad
    gentes” missions of the Way: twelve to Europe, four to America and one
    to Africa. Each mission is made up of three or four large families,
    members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way who, accompanied by a priest, go to
    live in an area where Christian practise has lapsed or where the Gospel
    has never been announced.

      Extracts from the Holy Father’s address to the group are given below.

    “Over these decades of life of the Way, your firm commitment has been
    to proclaim the Gospel of the risen Christ, … often abandoning
    personal and material security. … Bringing Christ to mankind and
    mankind to Christ is what animates all evangelising work. You achieve
    this on a path which helps those who have already been baptised to
    rediscover the beauty of the life of faith, the joy of being Christian.
    … We know that this is not always easy. Sometimes you find yourselves
    in places in which a first announcement of the Gospel is needed: the
    ‘missio ad gentes’. At other times you are present in areas which,
    though they have known Christ, have become indifferent to the faith,
    areas in which laicism has eclipsed the sense of God and obscured
    Christian values. May your commitment and witness be as a leaven which -
    patiently, respecting times and with ‘sensus Ecclesia’ – causes the
    dough to rise.

      “The Church has recognised in the Way a special
    gift which the Holy Spirit has given to our times. The approval of the
    Statutes and of the ‘Catechetical Directory’ are a sign of this. I
    encourage you to make your original contribution to the cause of the
    Gospel. In your vital work, always seek profound communion with the
    Apostolic See and with the pastors of the particular Churches of which
    you are a part. For the world in which we live, the unity and harmony of
    the ecclesial body are an important testimony to Christ and His

      “You have just listened to the reading of a decree
    granting approval to the celebrations contained in the ‘Catechetical
    Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way’ which are not strictly liturgical
    but are part of the itinerary of growth in the faith. This is a further
    element showing you that the Church accompanies you attentively and
    with patient discernment, that she understands your richness but also
    looks to the communion and harmony of the entire ‘Corpus Ecclesiae’.
    …. The risen Christ is actively present in the Church’s liturgical
    activity, making the paschal Mystery real and effective for our
    salvation today. … This work of the Lord Jesus, this entering into the
    paschal Mystery, which is the true content of the liturgy, is also the
    work of the Church which, being His body, is a single entity with

      “This holds true particularly for the celebration of
    the Eucharist which, being the pinnacle of Christian life, is also the
    key to its rediscovery, which is also the aim of the neo-catechumenate.
    As your Statutes say: ‘The Eucharist is essential to the
    neo-catechumenate which is a post-baptismal catechumenate, lived in
    small communities’.

      “Precisely in order to foment a renewal of
    the richness of sacramental life among people who have distanced
    themselves from the Church, or who have not received adequate formation,
    the members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way can celebrate the Sunday
    Eucharist in small communities”.

      “Celebration in small
    communities, regulated by the books of the liturgy which must be
    accurately followed, and with the particular features approved in the
    Statutes of the Way, helps the followers of the Neo-Catechumenal Way to
    perceive the grace of being part of Christ’s salvific mystery. … At
    the same time the progressive maturity in faith of individuals and small
    communities must favour their insertion into the life of the ecclesial
    community as a whole, which has its ordinary form in the liturgical
    celebrations in parishes, in which and for which the neo-catechumenate
    is implemented.

      “Yet even during the journey it is important
    not to separate oneself from the parish community, and particularly in
    the celebration of the Eucharist which is the true place of universal
    unity, where the Lord embraces us in our various states of spiritual
    maturity and unites us in the one bread that makes us one body”.

    In conclusion the Holy Father thanked the neo-catechumens for their
    expressions of affection and asked them to remember him in their
    AC/                                    VIS 20120120 (780)

  • Anonymous

    In other words the NeoCatechumenal way have been politely ordered to get their act together?

  • Guest

    It is only your interpretation.

  • Guest

    Please note:
    From the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way

    May 11, 2008

    Art. 1


    [Nature of the Neocatechumenal Way]

    § 1. The nature of the Neocatechumenal
    Way is defined by His Holiness John Paul II when he writes: “I recognize
    the Neocatechumenal Way as an itinerary of Catholic Formation, valid
    for our society and for our times.”

    § 2. The Neocatechumenal Way is at the
    service of the bishop as one of the forms of diocesan implementation of
    Christian Initiation and of ongoing education in faith.

    § 3. The Neocatechumenal Way, endowed with public juridical personality, is composed of an ensemble of spiritual goods:

    1.     the “Neocatechumenate,” or a post-baptismal catechumenate

    2.    the ongoing education in faith

    3.    the catechumenate

    4.    the service of catechesis

    The Neocatechumenal Way

     In the primitive church, when the world
    was pagan, those that wanted to become Christian had to begin a
    “catechumenate,” an itinerary of formation in preparation for Baptism.
    Today the process of secularization had brought many people to abandon
    the faith and the church: because of this there is a necessity for an
    itinerary of Christian formation.

    The Neocatechumenal Way is not a
    movement or an association, but an instrument in the parishes at the
    service of the bishop to return to faith many of those who abandoned it.

    The Way began in the early 60′s in one
    of the slums of Madrid, by Kiko Argúello and Carmen Hernandez, and was
    endorsed by the then Archbishop of Madrid, Casimiro Morcillo, who noted
    in that first community a true rediscovery of the Word of God and the
    implementation of the liturgical renewal proposed in that time by the

    Having seen the positive experience in
    the church of Madrid, in 1974 the Congregation for Divine Worship chose
    the name Neocatechumenal Way for this experience.

    It is a way of conversion through which the richness of the gospel can be rediscovered.

    In these years the Way has diffused
    itself to over 900 Dioceses, in 105 Nations, with over 20 thousand
    communities in six thousand parishes.

    In 1987 the first international
    missionary seminary “Redemptoris Mater” was opened in Rome. The seminary
    hosts youth that have discovered and matured their vocation in a
    Neocatechumenal Community and have answered the call to go and announce
    the Good News in the whole world. Many Bishops have successively
    followed the experience of Rome and today in the world there are over 70
    diocesan missionary seminaries “Redemptoris Mater,” where over two
    thousand seminarians are being formed.

    Recently as an answer to the Pope’s call
    for a New Evangelization, many families that have lived this experience
    have offered themselves to help the mission of the church going to the
    most secularized and dechristianized places in the world, preparing for
    the birth of new missionary parishes.

  • gherardo

    As a former (unwillingly) member of the Neocatechumenal  ‘movement’ (they hate this definition because they see it as an hindrance to their deceitful intrusion inside the Church) I can only   warn people off this movement which deceitfully found its way to formal approval in the same way as it has deceitfully recruited people and taking their money in the past.  I realized  I was a member of the Neocatehcumenal movement only too late, the only thing I knew I was partaking in catechesis meetings for adults. When the  name of the founder Kiko Arguello  started obsessively circulating (never mentioned during the recruitment phase) my alarm bell started ringing, the older members’ obsession with  Kiko Arguello sounding like your classical guru figure.
    Later when the secretive steplike structure was being introduced and money requests deceitfully handled  I realized it was time to leave. No regret, a cult-like experience that leaves scarred thousands of unheard people around the world.

  • Margaretlecturer

    The Neocatechumenal way has done a lot
     for me and is still doing so and will be still doing so. It  teaches me what humility is. The Holy Spirit lives in me ever since I walk this journey of faith. No matter how or what people say about this community, it doesn’t bother me for to me, this is Jesus Christ’s community. I just know it1