This doctorate is very important because basically it is an endorsement of the Way by the Conference of the US Bishops because this University is under the Episcopal Conference.
Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernandez Receive Honorary Doctorate from Catholic University of America
Initiator of Neocatechumenal Way Speaks to ZENIT on Significance of Degree, Judeo –Christian Relations, and the Importance of the Family
By Junno Arocho Esteves
ROME, May 19th, 2015 - (Zenit.org): The Catholic University of America, the sole Pontifical University in the United States, conferred doctorates in Theology honors causa upon the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernandez on Saturday, May 16th.
During the ceremony held in Washington, D.C., University president John H. Garvey highlighted in his address how Kiko and Carmen formed small Christian communities in parishes where people were “drawn to convert by the discovery that Christ loved them despite their sins: “Through contact with other parishes embracing people in challenging circumstances, little by little a way of Christian initiation was begun for adults who were rediscovering the richness of their baptism. Thus was born the Neocatechumenal Way, known simply as ‘the Way’”.
President Garvey quoted the words of Pope Francis taddressed recently to Kiko and Carmen, “ I thank you for the immense good you are doing for the whole Church”, and concluded that Argüello and Hernandez were given the doctorate in Theology honoris causa "for their devotion to the poor, which has brought so many into communion with Christ and the Catholic faith."
The itinerary of Christian formation was first introduced in the United States by the initiators in 1974, following an invitation by the then-Director of the Liturgy Office, Msgr. James Donegan. He was then welcomed to visit the parishes in New York by the late Cardinal Terrence Cooke. Currently, the Way is present throughout the United States in 82 dioceses and in 350 parishes with about 1000 communities. In the world there are more than 30,000 communities in 125 countries with almost two millions participants.
Following the ceremony, Argüello spoke with ZENIT on the significance of receiving an honorary doctorate as well as the role the Neocatechumenal Way plays in the Catholic Church to families, which he noted, is severely under attack in today's secular world.
He also spoke on the first International Meeting of Rabbis, Cardinals and Bishops in Israel and organized by the Neocatechumenal Way. The historic event took place on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council document, Nostra Aetate and brought together Orthodox, Reform and Conservative leaders from various denominations. During the meeting, the Rabbis recognized the dramatic change that the Catholic Church began in Judeo-Christians relations with Nostra Aetate, which defined anti-Semitism as a sin against God and proclaimed, as St. Paul did, that the covenant of God with Israel has never been revoked [cf. Nostra Aetate, 4].