Wednesday, June 24, 2015

NCW Revives Catholic Church

MIAMI | To most it is a mystery. To some it seems like a sect. It is not a movement, like Cursillo or the Charismatic Renewal. But it has the approval of popes dating back to Paul VI and including, just last month, Francis. 

One thing is certain: the Neocatechumenal Way definitely moves people to a new life as Christians. 

It is a series of steps — similar to the RCIA, or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults but lasting much longer — aimed at rekindling the faith in people who have been baptized Catholics. 

Miami’s new auxiliary, Bishop Peter Baldacchino, is a product of the Neocatechumenate, which his family joined when he was 13 in his native Malta. He describes the Way as “small communities of rediscovering the faith.” 

“Once faith is rediscovered, fruits start to grow. We have seen many fruits,” he said.

Fast facts about the Neocatechumenal Way
  • Founders: Kiko Argüello, a painter, and Carmen Hernandez, a graduate in chemistry and theology, who met in the shanty town of Palomeras Altas, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, and developed a program for evangelizing the slum’s residents, many of them gypsies, prostitutes, drunkards and robbers who had no relationship with the Church.
  • 1974: The Congregation for Divine Worship, while preparing the reintroduction of the catechumenate for adults (known as RCIA), publishes a laudatory note, “Praeclarum exemplar,” and settles on the name “Neocatechumenate” to indicate an itinerary of post-baptismal formation for those who are baptized but not sufficiently catechized.
  • May 8, 1974: Neocatechumenal Way is approved by Paul VI during a meeting with Argüello and Hernandez.
  • 1987: John Paul II opens the first Redemptoris Mater seminary in Rome to prepare priests for the New Evangelization; today, there are 100 Redemptoris Mater seminaries worldwide, with almost 2,000 priests already ordained and 2,000 seminarians in formation. Eight of those seminaries are in the U.S., including the one in Miami.
  • 1990: Neocatechumenal Way is recognized by John Paul II as “an itinerary of Catholic formation valid for our society and our time,” and an instrument for the New Evangelization.
  • June 13, 2008: Five Congregations of the Holy See — Doctrine of the Faith, Divine Worship, Bishops, Catholic Education, and Council of the Laity — approve the final statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way
  • Jan. 17, 2011: Pope Benedict XVI approves the “Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way.”
  • Families in mission: Neocatechumenal Way sends families to areas on the periphery of cities, often immense slums, to form nuclei of evangelization and small communities that can contain the spread of Protestant sects until priests can be sent and new parishes founded. Currently, there are about 1,000 families in mission all over the world. 
  • Missio ad gentes: Groups consisting of a priest and four or five large families who, at the request of a bishop, receive a mandate to evangelize de-Christianized or pagan areas. There are now 95 missio ad gentes in the world, including six in the U.S. dioceses of Brooklyn, Boston and Philadelphia
  • Feb. 1, 2014: Pope Francis, meeting with about 12,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way, sends 450 families in mission and 42 new missio ad gentes. 
  • • Today, there are about Neocatechumenal 25,000 communities in 800 dioceses and 6,000 parishes in 124 nations, including 1,000 communities in 300 parishes and 75 U.S. dioceses. 
  • • The Archdiocese of Miami has 30 communities in eight parishes.
His vocation is one of them. The growth of the Catholic Church in the Turks and Caicos, where he served for the past 15 years, is another. “Where there was nothing, and where now, thanks be to God, there is something.”

Another “fruit” of the Neocatechumenal Way is an abundance of vocations, because it is a process of formation that encompasses the whole family and attracts young people. 

That abundance of vocations resulted in the establishment of Redemptoris Mater seminaries, where men from different countries study together and are ordained for a particular diocese, but commit themselves to serving in whatever corner of the world they are most needed. 

Bishop Baldacchino, a Malta native, is the first bishop in North America to come from a Redemptoris Mater seminary, and only the third such bishop worldwide. One of his classmates, an Italian from Salerno, is vicar general in Estonia. 

A Redemptoris Mater seminary opened in Miami in December 2011 and currently has 13 seminarians enrolled. One Redemptoris Mater priest already has been ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami, and another will be ordained this May.

The Neocatechumenal Way began in Spain in 1964. Two lay people — Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernandez — developed it as a method of evangelizing the residents of one of Madrid’s poorest slums. Pope John Paul II hailed the Neocatechumenate as “an itinerary of Christian formation valid for our society and for our time.”
“The catechumenate always existed in the Church,” Bishop Baldacchino explained. “It was the instrument the Church used to turn pagans into Christians. It isn’t magic. It is a process that the Church always had.

“I think it was Paul VI who said that we are living in a time of a new form of paganism, a neo-paganism. And he saw paganism, catechumenate, Christianity; and therefore, neo-paganism, neo-catechumenate, new Christian.”

The Neocatechumenal Way fits perfectly with the need for the “new evangelization” that Pope John Paul II described: Not so much bringing Christ to a world that never knew him, as helping nominally baptized Christians — or cultural Catholics — rediscover the fullness of the Christian faith, and live accordingly.

Sister Enith Montero, a Dominican of the Immaculate Conception who has worked at St. Cecilia Church in Hialeah for many years, said she, too, has seen the fruits of the Way.

The parish closed in 2009 for financial reasons, and re-opened in December 2011 with Father Emanuele De Nigris as pastor. Father De Nigris, a native of Italy, is the product of the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Washington, D.C., and serves as rector of the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Miami, which is based at St. Cecilia.

“It has been transformed,” Sister Montero said of the parish. “From the ashes, now it has life in abundance, a community that is very much alive and committed.”

It’s not comparable to what it was before, she stressed, because the community also was “very active, had many (spiritual) groups,” when she served as director of religious education. “It simply is different.”

Her co-worker, Sister Maria Teresa Flores, put it this way: “There are new people and above all young people, young people who hunger for God.”

“These two new priests have raised the community from the ashes,” Sister Montero said. “It’s a new Pentecost.”


  1. "NCW Revives Catholic Church "

    Yes, because the Church was dead or dying. It had failed and was almost unconscious and ineffective. But the NCW saved the Church from sure death or fatal weakness.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 11:47 am,

      You missed the point of the message. The Church was closed. Surely, you are not going to deny that there are many Catholic churches being closed down in the United States due to low attendance? The NCW opened the Church that was closed down.

  2. Well, guys, we can unwind because we are not alone.

    I noticed that it is becoming a universal fashionable trend to establish groups of dissent against the Bishop. Just shows you to what level Satan has penetrated the Church.

    In Washington they have the Catholics For Choice. In San Francisco they have the Committed Catholics. In Guam we have the Concerned Catholics.

    Their common factors are two – one, all of them are eager to attack their respective Bishop. Two, all of them use the media extensively, for example, full page adverts in the local newspapers.

  3. If we walk in the Spirit of the Lord; we know that it is he; only he who protects. Many, many people has asked, why Arch Bishop Apuron does not defend himself. Why should he when he knows that God does not need his help to defend his Church. I have no doubt that the Arch Bishop will willingly take the place of Christ on the Cross. But the position is already filled.

    The Church has been in existence for over two thousand years. It is the will of God that sustains.

    Not the will of man


    1. We follow the will of God through the voices of His human messengers. This is obedience. However, our God given good conscience comes always first, even before obedience. You should be obedient to a bishop in faith matters unless it would violate your good conscience. There were Nazi bishops in Germany during WW2 who did not raise voice against the persecution of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and the handicapped. These bishops contributed to the Holocaust of these people. Would you have been obedient to these bishops in Germany during WW2? Probably not, because killing Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and the handicapped is against good conscience and good conscience always comes first.

      It is similar to the dilemma of following the voice of God or of human beings. God's voice is coming to earth via human messengers, even via those who pray. Unless you have a supernatural ear, you cannot hear God's voice directly, only by listening to your conscience and listening to other human beings. The Evangelists who recorded Jesus' words, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, were also human beings. Jesus himself took the form of a human being of human fate, persecution, suffering and death on the cross. He died an excruciating death but thus He saved us and gave us hope by resurrection. Blessed be His Name forever!

  4. “From the ashes, now it has life in abundance, a community that is very much alive and committed.”

    “There are new people and above all young people, young people who hunger for God.”

    “It’s a new Pentecost.”

    You will not get too many comments on this issue Diana as the language used by witnesses to the presence of Christ in daily life is foreign to many Catholics of Guam.

    Hunger of God? Hunger for recognition; hunger of justice; hunger for self righteousness is more important than the hunger for humility, obedience, peace...


  5. Dear Diana, you wrote in your previous pages:

    "The NCW describe themselves as sinners always in need of Christ. The NCW members often say that they are the ones who are lost because we are sinners. "
    "In fact, one person calling himself "Grow up in faith" even stated that Catholics are "not sinners per se but saved people......""
    "First of all, all of us are lost. We are all lost because all of us are sinners in need of Christ."

    Well, it depends whom you call "all of us"? Perhaps, NCW describes itself this way but this by no means would imply all of us belong to this category because NOT all of us belong to the NCW. Thus I said indeed we don't need to be sinners. Who are called sinners anyway? Not those who if died now would go straight to hell? Not those who live with a mortal sin unrepented? Or not those who cannot resist sin and fall into it without control? Saints were by no means sinners. We know they are in heaven now interceding for those who call upon their names. St Teresita is in heaven for example. I used to ask for her intersession for me and for my family. She was anything but a sinner. When you commit sin, but repent and confess, the guilt of your sin is taken away. This is salvation. Jesus saved us so we don't have to go to hell but we have a chance of being absolved through the sacrament of reconciliation. Thus we can enter the gates of heaven. You may say you are a sinner. But you cannot say that about others, who might not be sinners. You cannot judge others. Jesus said to the adulterous woman to go free and sin no more. It is possible to sin no more. It IS possible to live a holy life for Jesus.

    About being saved St Paul says: "I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time." (1 Cor 4:4) He was not acquitted, but was not a sinner either. He had a chance to go to heaven where he is now.

    In Rom 8:22-24 he also states: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved." Oh yes, we were!

    Also in Eph 2:4-6: "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Being saved means we are not lost anymore but through the holy sacrifice of Jesus and the sacraments of the Catholic Church, confession and Eucharist, the gates of heaven are opened up for us. It is up to the faithful if (s)he wants to enter. Holy Scripture states this quite clearly.

    1. Dear grow up in faith,

      The only ones who are not sinners are Jesus and Mary. Even the saints were humble enough to say they were sinners. In fact, St. Peter asked his executioners to crucify him upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified like Christ who was perfect.

    2. grow up in faithJune 29, 2015 at 4:52 PM

      Where is your evidence, dear Diana? Do you accuse all saints to be sinners? Being unworthy is not the same as being a sinner! St Theresa (Teresita) of Lisieux for one was not a sinner. Not at all! If you think she was a sinner, please, present your evidence.

      St Therese was not only a saint, she was declared to be a Doctor of the Church by John Paul 2. She teaches us that purity from all sin can be achieved, thus enabling us to skip Purgatory and go straight to heaven. Can't you believe this? Well, St Therese is already in heaven, interceding for us. Please, do not deny her prayer and do not make God grieved over you, rather listen to her:

      "You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory."

      St Theresa teaches that God's love purifies us and He lets no sin remain! This means all sin is gone... Yes, it is possible, probably not for all of us, but definitely for some, especially for those who follow the footsteps of St Therese! If you have evidence to the opposite, please do not hesitate to present it.

    3. Dear grow up in faith,

      This is what St. Paul said in the Holy Bible:

      Romans 7:21-25 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

      In the above biblical verse, St. Paul admits that he struggles with sin. We all do. St. Peter asked his executioners to crucify him upside down because he is not worthy.....meaning that he is a sinner unlike Christ.

      St. Therese was correct. You can bypass Purgatory and get to Heaven. Do you know how? By becoming a martyr like her. All martyrs are saints. But even these martyrs have the humility in the to say that they do not deserve Heaven because they were also sinners.

      Grow up in faith, Christ purifies us, but we STILL have the free will to sin AGAIN. All the saints say that Heaven is possible for us but ONLY with Christ, it becomes possible. We cannot reach Heaven on our own. This was why Christ instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Are you telling me that you no longer need the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Are you telling me that you are no longer a sinner?

    4. Are you saying that St Therese was a martyr? Can you please explain this comment? I thought she died of tuberculosis?

    5. Dear Anonymous at 11:32 am,

      St. Therese was a "white" martyr. According to the weblink below:

      In the Church, however, martyr usually means a very specific thing: someone who actually dies for the faith, this is known as "red" martyrdom. Saint Therese of Lisieux was what is known as a "white" martyr, meaning that she gave up her life for the faith, but she was not killed for it (the meaning of red martyrdom).

    6. So, she's not actually a martyr, is she? The Church does not class St Therese as a martyr, nor is she included in the martyrology. Since when do you reference Church teaching from Oh, that's right, you think Kiko is an expert too.

    7. Dear Anonymous at 3:14 pm,

      If you do not believe the answer from a Catholic expert, would you believe a Catholic website that teaches about the 2 different types of martyrs?

      You can also see that Catholic Answers speak about white martyrdom:

      So, either you believe in the whole of Catholicism or not? It is up to you. Do you also dismiss Catholic Answers?

    8. grow up in faithJune 30, 2015 at 7:39 PM

      Diana, St Therese who died in tuberculosis had never called herself a sinner. I ask you repeatedly, please, provide evidence is she did! Because she is a favorite saint in my family, I am quite sensitive when you judge her in your way that you do.

      You say: "But even these martyrs have the humility in the to say that they do not deserve Heaven because they were also sinners." No, Diana, St Theresa had never sad that! Haven't you read the quote above from her? It is what she says: "You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God."

      St Therese says she does not deserve to go to Purgatory, because she had been purified from all residues of sin, therefore she would like to go straight to heaven. This is how a saint responds when you accuse her of being a sinner!

    9. grow up in faithJune 30, 2015 at 7:58 PM

      Dear Diana, perhaps it is comprehension. Please, read again the texts very carefully. In Rom 7:21-25, St Paul talks about our inclination and temptation to sin that is coming from our fleshly existence. "So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."

      We by no means need to follow these inclinations and temptations. If you resist temptation and confess your sin in the holy sacrament of reconciliation then you are NOT a sinner! St Paul had never said we have to submit to sin over and over again, on the contrary, he urged us to resist temptation and strive to be holy! It is possible to walk toward holiness when we set our minds on Christ and the grace coming richly from His holy sacrifice sets us free from the bondage of sin. This is the meaning of being saved!

      Let me repeat for you from the Holy Scriptures: "Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time." (1 Cor 4:4) "For in hope we were saved." (Rom 8:24) "By grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph 2:4-6)

    10. Dear grow up in faith,

      We all struggle with sin. I asked you two questions, and I would appreciate if you would answer them. The two questions are:

      1. Are you telling me that you no longer need the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

      2. Are you telling me that you are no longer a sinner?

      You stated: I ask you repeatedly, please, provide evidence is she did! Because she is a favorite saint in my family, I am quite sensitive when you judge her in your way that you do.

      The following is a prayer from St. Therese, which was found in her autobiography "Story of a soul." The prayer goes (Capitalization is mine):

      “Your child, however, O Lord, has understood Your divine light, and she begs pardon for her brothers. She is resigned to eat the bread of sorrow as long as You desire it; she does not with to rise up from this table filled with bitterness at which poor sinners are eating until the day set by You. Can she not say in her name and in the name o her brothers “HAVE PITY ON US, O LORD, FOR WE ARE POOR SINNERS" Oh! Lord, send us away justified. May all those who were not enlightened by the bright flame of faith one day see it shine.”

      The autobiography of St. Therese showed that she had struggles and had a experienced a great darkness, but was given the grace of God to endure and persevere.