Monday, July 27, 2015

The History And Strength Of The NCW



The founders of the Neocatechumenal Way are Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez.   The NCW was born in the poor.  It did not come from the rich.  Regarding the history of the NCW: 

  Two dynamic Spaniards are the founders of the Neocatechumenate movement: Francisco Arguello, better known as Kiko, and Carmen Hernandez, who once studied to become a nun .

          Born in 1939, the "existentialist" Spanish painter Kiko did not start out as a practicing - or even believing - Catholic. On November 2, 1980, recounting his history during his meeting with Pope John Paul II in the Martyred Canadian Saints parish in Rome, he stated: "God permitted me to experience the absurd - atheism - until he had mercy."

          Upon his conversion, Kiko began to frequent catechism courses, and for years he also trained as a catechist. Finally, convinced of Christ's presence among the poor, he went to live with the poor of the Palomeras Atlas shanty town in Madrid. In 1964 he started his "Way," following in the footsteps of Charles de Foucauld. At this stage, Kiko's sole possessions were a guitar, a crucifix, and a Bible.

          It was among the poor of Palomeras that Kiko encountered Carmen Hernandez; they joined forces to establish the bases for what they would eventually call the Neocatechumenate Way. Carmen Hernandez, who held degrees in Physics and Theology, had already been teaching for nearly eight years in a religious missionary institute. While awaiting a missionary assignment Bolivia, she had been living an analogous experience to Kiko's. One of Hernandez' main concerns had been the liturgical reforms instituted by Vatican II.

          In 1968, Kiko and Carmen came to Rome where, with the support of Rome's Vicar-Bishop Cardinal Angelo dell'Acqua, they first launched their movement in the Canadian Martyrs' parish.
        Their work soon aroused the interest of the Vatican's Congregation of the Liturgy and Sacraments. After a period of examination, the Congregation published a laudatory article in its official journal Notitiae.A few years later, the Congregation officially defended the movement against accusations of heresy by a group of traditionalist Canadian priests.


          One of the Congregation's advisors wrote in his report: "I would like to point out another aspect of this catechesis, or rather Neocatechumenate Way. As a historical scholar of ancient catechesis, I can say that Kiko's and Carmen's endeavor to realize the Catechumenate for our times has been successful. Personal experience has allowed them to intuit the profound validity of Church institutions in the first three centuries, permitting them to translate these into a new structure, which assumes the most important elements of early Christianity, yet employs them in a new context: conversion of the baptized who never made the personal choice of faith... I find all of this positive, and thereby conclude my judgment by inviting the responsible members of the Sacred Congregation of the Clergy to encourage this movement, guiding it with comprehension and paternal indulgence, so that it remain as it is - a service to authentically renovate the parish communities."

          Years later, on May 9, 1986, Kiko and Carmen were summoned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to respond to a series of questions regarding their views on hermeneutics, pastoral work and doctrine. After thorough study of their responses, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger informed them that his Congregation wished to assist them, and proposed linking the movement to a Vatican congregation to provide a juridical basis. Kiko and Carmen fervently desired the official support of the Holy Father. As a result, John Paul II nominated Bishop Paul Josef Cordes, Vice-President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to act as the Pope's delegate ad personam to the movement and intermediary with the Vatican Congregations.

          On August 30, 1990, Pope Wojtyla sent Cordes a letter appreciating the Neocatechumenate movement's "correctness and good intentions" and recognizing the movement as "a Catholic path and initiative which is valid for our times."

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/ncw/english/movep.htm


God works in mysterious ways.  From among many people, He chose Abraham, who was a pagan and an old man with no heirs.  From this pagan, God turned him into the "father of faith" and a father of many nations.  God chose Moses, a person slow of speech raised by Egyptians.  From this stutterer, God made him the spokeman for His chosen people.  God chose David, a young poor shepherd boy with no military skills. From his poor shepherd boy, God turned him into a king who conquered many people including the Philistine giant Goliath.  God chose Saul, a Pharisee who persecuted Christians.  God turned this persecutor into an Apostle of the Gentiles.  And so we have Kiko Arguello, who started out as an unbelieving Catholic.  Somehow God turned him into the Founder of the NCW, which was born in poverty.  According to St. John Paul II: 

Begun in the slums of Madrid, 30 years later it has become, like the Gospel mustard seed, a great tree which has now spread to more than 100 countries of the world, with a significant presence also among Catholics of the Eastern-rite Churches.
 
 Like every anniversary, seen in the light of faith, yours too becomes an opportunity for praise and thanksgiving for the abundant gifts that in these years the Lord has granted you and, through you, to the whole Church. For many people the Neocatechumenal experience has been a journey of conversion and maturing in the faith through the rediscovery of Baptism as a true source of life, and of the Eucharist as the culminating moment in Christian life; through the rediscovery of the word of God which, shared in fraternal communion, becomes a light and guide for life; through the rediscovery of the Church as an authentic missionary community.
 
 
Like a small mustard seed from among the poor, the NCW grew into a huge tree.  It's strength likes in the Holy Spirit who nourished it into growth.  From the early days, the NCW has always been misinterpreted as a movement, but it is an itinerary of Christian formation.   
 
Before starting their evangelizing activities, Kiko and Carmen asked themselves: where did the strength of the early Church lie, and what accounts for weakness in the modern Church? The answers are to be found in the "Neocatechumenate Way" they eventually mapped out: post-baptismal Christian initiation realized with the methods and forms of the early Church.
 
The Neocatechumenate movement has revolutionalized parish life in the churches to which it has been called. No longer do sociological criteria divide groups by age - children, adults, the elderly. Parishes rather become true communities of 30-50 individuals of diverse ages, social conditions, mentalities, and cultural backgrounds, growing together in faith and commitment. These communities act in the parishes with a "tripod" basis of catechesis (as suggested by Vatican II): Word, Liturgy, and Community.

 For the Neocatechumenate movement, the Word implies the proclaiming of the Gospel (Kerygma) anywhere and everywhere; the Liturgy represents the celebration of Faith, within which all the symbols of tradition are remembered; and the Community (Koinonia) signifies the communion between those who have heard the Word and those who live in the unity of love under the sign of the Cross.

The Neocatechumenate community celebrates Mass with slight variations conceded by the Congregation of the Divine Liturgy and Sacraments (Note of December 19, 1988). After the three Scripture readings and before the homily, members engage in commentary, comparing their readings with their personal experiences. The homily then takes account of the observations made, corrects deviations, and stimulates reflection. Next, as in the Ambrosian rite, is the Rite of Peace. The rite of the Eucharist follows early Christian practices, using unleavened bread and wine.

 The re-discovery of the liturgy has been a determinant factor in overcoming cynicism and indifference, especially affecting Catholics in the prosperous and comfortable Western world. At present, thousands of parishes have passed from a state of limited activity to one of florid growth thanks to the Neocatechumenate. (In Spain in recent years, there has been a 17.5% growth in parishes with Neocatechumenate leadership). Neocatechumenate communities have been able to overcome two serious problems in today's Church: defections among the young and among couples.

In the Roman diocese alone, where 25% of the parishes are Neocatechumenates, 50% of the members are persons 25-50 years - the age group most minimally represented in other Italian parishes. As for couples, the average birth rate in the Roman diocese is 3.11%, considerably higher than the national average of 1.2 children per woman.

The teachings of Kiko and Carmen are based on two main Scriptural passages. The first refers to love: "As I loved you, so you should love one another... By this love, all will recognize that you are my disciples" (John 13: 34-35).

          The second passage refers to death. In Chapter 2 of the Letters to the Hebrews, it is taught that Jesus Christ has come to "destroy the mediator of death, the Lord of death, i.e. the Devil, and to free those, in fear of death, who were subjected to this slavery during life" (Hebrews 2: 14-15). This victory over death is the essential Christian message Jesus left us, and it is central to the teachings of the Neocatechumenate movement. 
 
 
 

32 comments:

  1. So it is a movement. It's described as a movement several times in this article.

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    1. Dear Anonymous at 3:11 pm,

      As I said, in the earlier days, it has been erroneously described as a movement.

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    2. Why do you say it is an error? The word was used several times---it was clearly the word they wanted to use.
      You post an article to help us learn about how NCW came about and then you say there is an error in it. Are there any other mistakes in that article that we should know about?

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    3. Dear Anonymous at 9:38 pm,

      That is an old article. In the earlier days of the NCW, many people (including the NCW members) once thought of the Way as a movement until we were corrected. It is no longer considered a movement, but an itinerary of Christian formation just as it says in the approved Statutes.

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    4. So why post an old article with errors Diana?

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    5. Dear Anonymous at 5:02 pm,

      There is only one error (singular) in that article.....the word "movement."

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    6. my dear diana, the word "movement" is in your 2008 statues

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    7. Dear Anonymous at 6:45 am,

      The 2008 Statutes does not describe the NCW as a movement.

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    8. “It is important to see that Pope John Paul II in Christifideles laici 61 establishes the usefulness of small ecclesial groups within the parishes, and not as a parallel movement which absorbs the best members of parishes

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    9. Dear Anonymous at 7:36 am,

      As I said, the 2008 Statutes does not describe the NCW as a movement. Pope John Paul II saw the benefits of small ecclesial groups within the parish, which is what the NCW is. We are not operating outside the parish or even parallel to the parish. As I keep saying, members of the NCW help maintain the parish. They join the parish by volunteering as choir members, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, CCD instructors, and parish council members. Many of them even maintain parish grounds by cleaning the parish, buying the flowers for the parish, etc. So, we were never outside the parish.

      The problem is people trying to stop us from doing all that volunteer work within the parish. Apparently, they just want us to attend the Sunday Mass sitting in the pews.

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    10. Dear Diana @ 8:00--
      Why would someone stop you from volunteering--UNLESS you want to change things in so doing.
      (e.g. change songs, as a choir member, for more Kiko songs, teach NCW practices as a CCD instructor, buying flowers and putting them on the altar, or constantly tell the regular parishioners where they are 'wrong', etc.) --just samples of what MIGHT be the problem--
      Otherwise, if you as a parishioner want to volunteer to help the church, I would hope it would be welcomed! I know at the Asan church, my friend says Neos and Non-Neos work side by side!

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    11. Dear Anonymous at 8:22 am,

      MIGHT??? So, you base all this on something you THINK might happen? As a democratic country, there is a lot of risks a person takes in freedom. We have freedom of expression despite that some of the things we say MIGHT offend the other person, but that does not take away our free speech. While we recognize that there are limits to free expression (such as threatening a person's life), we still have free expression not because we fear of what MIGHT happen. We have it because it is a good thing.

      You say that in Asan Church, the "neos" and "non-neos" work side by side. That is also what they do in my parish; yet, people are still afraid because of what MIGHT happen. This is a ridiculous fear especially in light of the fact that the NCW has the support of the Pope. If you cannot embrace what the Pope supports, then you do not support the Pope as well. It is the same with those Catholics who support same sex marriage. If they cannot embrace what the Church teaches about same sex marriage, then they do not support the Church. They are not allowed to take communion because they are definitely not in communion with God and His Church. Simple as that.

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    12. The 2008 Statutes does describe the NCW as a movement
      .
      the phrase "AND NOT AS A PARALLEL" is the DESCRIPTION
      “It is important to see that Pope John Paul II in Christifideles laici 61 establishes the usefulness of small ecclesial groups within the parishes, and not as a parallel movement which absorbs the best members of parishes

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    13. Dear Diana at 9:28--
      "This is a ridiculous fear especially in light of the fact that the NCW has the support of the Pope."
      It's not so ridiculous when it's involving change. The Way may be supported by the Pope, but he doesn't advocate that everyone change and follow it. You don't like it when someone suggests you change your ways....how could you expect that non-Neos like it when things are changed from the way they are used to? When you understand the basis of the fear, you can work with them to overcome it. The church will be better for it.

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    14. Dear Anonymous at 2L47 pm,

      If the change comes from the Pope, I am not going to question it. He is the Vicar of Christ.

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    15. Diana at 5:53,
      Of course, that is understood. But the changes are allowed by the Pope, not a mandate for all. So, there is a choice--as you often say. And if people in a parish choose to keep their church the way it has been, then they will be suspicious of anyone they feel might want to change things. Hence, their suspicions of any Neo who wishes to volunteer.
      As I said, you don't like it when people tell you to change the way you do things--saying over and over it is approved, you don't have to, you don't want to. Well, there are people who don't want to change the way they have been doing things for years.
      That is what I meant about the fear of change.

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    16. Dear Anonymous at 9:16 pm,

      I do not like it when people who have no authorization tell us to do things. We have already stated that we have permission from the Pope to do what we do. That has been said so many times. If you feel that we are in violation, your duty is simply to inform the Vatican and wait for the reply because you have no authority to tell us to make changes.

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    17. Dear Anonymous at 11:53 am,

      You stated: "The 2008 Statutes does describe the NCW as a movement."

      No, it does not.
      .

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    18. my dear diana
      I think it is very kind and charitable to give fraternal correction of venial sins or even non-sinful faults, if the individual is at a point in the spiritual life when he can deal with such things.
      This is especially true if the person is blindly falling into the offense in a habitual way. I certainly would want to be corrected, at least.

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    19. Diana 9:23 AM--
      Do you even read before you reply? Anon 2:47 & 9:16 posts agrees with you on NCW's right to do what it wishes having had the approval from the Pope! The point was: so do the 'regular' Catholics.
      I tried to follow this thread given the nature of the topic: volunteering in the church. You are making it so difficult to do this by trying to find fault in Anon's posts (not sure if same person throughout?) This poor person was trying to be charitable in his/her comments and you did not get it.
      I'm trying so hard to keep peace in my parish with those not Walking, but they keep bringing up your blog--as if you speak for all of us--saying your comments are convoluted.
      I thank you for trying to educate about NCW, I thank you for sharing information and references.
      I hope and pray that I, too, am clear and charitable when I speak about our work.

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    20. Dear Anonymous at 7:07 am,

      The discussion started because of this comment from Anonymous at 8:22 am (who might be the same person):

      Dear Diana @ 8:00--
      Why would someone stop you from volunteering--UNLESS you want to change things in so doing.
      (e.g. change songs, as a choir member, for more Kiko songs, teach NCW practices as a CCD instructor, buying flowers and putting them on the altar, or constantly tell the regular parishioners where they are 'wrong', etc.) --just samples of what MIGHT be the problem--
      Otherwise, if you as a parishioner want to volunteer to help the church, I would hope it would be welcomed! I know at the Asan church, my friend says Neos and Non-Neos work side by side!

      In this blog, there were others who expressed that they want the NCW to stop their Eucharist and attend church with them. It is these people that we were referring to. They have a fear that the choir would be changed and "Kiko songs" (as they call them) would be sung in church. It is this kind of change that they fear.

      We have never imposed anyone in the parish to sing the songs that we sing in the NCW. Rather, it is those in the parish who impose on the NCW to sing the parish songs in their celebration. In this blog, those who oppose the Way have expressed their discontent and disapproval that the NCW does not sing any of the parish songs in the celebrations. They call them "Kiko songs" despite that we told them so many times that these songs came from the Book of Psalms.

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  2. I've done some reading about the NCW and this is the first time I've read that "Carmen Hernandez … once studied to become a nun." All other accounts indicate that Carmen Hernandez is an EX-nun. Is this website trying to rewrite NCW history?

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    1. Dear Curious,

      I have a pictoral book of the Neocatechumenal Way entitled "40 Years of Neocatechumenal Way 1968-2008 Memory." It was given to the Responsibles and Co-Responsibles about 5 years ago. According to the pictoral book, Carmen Hernandez was studying to be a nun at the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of Jesus Christ. She was doing her formation, but she did not become a nun. There were photos of her BEFORE she met Kiko Arguello, There were no photos of her in a nun's habit. The book said that Carmen has a license in Theology with the Domincan Fathers of Valencia, and she spent two years in Israel living in contact with the chosen people and visiting the sites of the Holy Land. After two years in Israel, she went to Spain where she met Kiko Arguello.

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    2. Geez Diana, for being in the NCW as you stated in an earlier blog (8+years) you qualify to be a responsible or co-responsible? Interesting to know that minus 5 years you would have only been walking for 3 years to have such a prestigious job in the NCW to be given a book.

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    3. Dear Anonymous at 11:48 am,

      The pictorial book was given during the beginning of the year convivience, which Responsibles and Co-Responsibles attend.

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    4. WOW! You can become a responsible or co-responsible after walking only 3 years??? Sounds like you were on the fast track!!!

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    5. Dear Anonymous at 2:28 pm,

      I was elected a co-responsible in the first year I joined the Way.

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    6. @ Curious
      To adequately answer the question whether a woman can be considered an "ex-nun" or not, one would need to find out if that woman had taken religious vows. There are many women who discern their religious vocation as aspirants, postulants, or novices and then decide not to pursue further. Usually they are not referred to as "ex-nuns".

      Do the authors of any of the stuff you read claim knowledge of such vows taken by Ms. Hernandez?
      If they don't possess that information, calling her an "ex-nun" could be just a literary tool; it is even possible that they use it just to show her in negative light, in which case you'd do well to consider the author's bias as you read critically.

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    7. This article says that the NCW did not come from the rich. I wonder what is the net worth of Kiko and Carmen?

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    8. Dear Anonymous at 10:26 am,

      The net worth of Kiko and Carmen is most likely the same net worth as Mother Teresa when she founded the Missionaries of Charity.

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    9. Mother Teresa did not have a private helicopter, private jet to transport her around. She lived a meager life with the poor, not in some palatial home. I doubt that you could say the same for Kiko and Carmen. Far from the same, Diana!

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    10. Dear Anonymous at 9:28 pm,

      Kiko and Carmen also do not have a private helicopter and private jet. Since you brought it up, can you show proof that they have these things?

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