Sunday, October 11, 2015

More On Mission Families

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: Neocatechumenal Way to send missionary Families to Philadelphia parishes based at St. Charles Borromeo

Two teams of missionary families with the Neocatechumenal Way -- a parish-based faith formation program -- will work in Philadelphia parishes starting in June at the request of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
The mission teams will be based at St. Charles Borromeo and St. Michael parishes. Both parishes have seen a decline in the number of active parishioners in recent years.
St. Charles had a 35 percent drop in weekend Mass attendance from 2008 to 2012, even as the parish's population rose 24 percent. St. Michael similarly had a 22 percent drop in Mass attendance while the parish population increased by 53 percent.

The family mission teams, called "Missio ad Gentes" (mission to the nations), will include a priest and two families. While the traditional pastoral work of the parishes will continue, it will be aided by the families, who will move into the areas and meet in the homes of residents of the community to evangelize them.

There are 95 "Missio ad Gentes" teams around the world including six in the United States: one in Brooklyn, N.Y., three in Boston and now two in Philadelphia.

Currently there are about 1,000 Neocatechumenal Way communities in the U.S., each with an average of 40 members, according to Emanuele Contini, who supervises the communities in southeastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington and Virginia. There are seven Neocatechumenal Way parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

During a special ceremony Feb. 1 at the Vatican, Pope Francis blessed and commissioned 450 families of the Neocatechumenal Way to go forth into the world to "evangelize with love, to be zealous and joyful missionaries."

Among those commissioned were Pedro and Carmen Dinorhie Biaggi, who will leave their Plainfield, N.J., home with their six children to resettle in Philadelphia and to evangelize in St. Michael Parish.

Pedro was baptized Catholic, but his parents joined a Pentecostal church when he was young so he grew up without a connection to Catholicism.

In 1992, when he was 21 and attending the funeral of a friend, a priest invited him to attend a parish catechesis program.

Even though the catechesis was in Spanish, a language he did not speak, the one thing he heard over and over was "God loves you."

That began his journey of faith, through the Neocatechumenal Way. Now he will leave his work as a machinist and come to St. Michael with his wife and children.

Carmen was raised in the Catholic faith and was first exposed to the Neocatechumenal Way when she was 12.

"I rebelled in my teen years and it left me with a question mark," she told, the news website of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. "I thought people who went to church were a bunch of fools and I left the church. I chose my friends. I chose sex. I chose everything the world has to offer."

Finally she attended a Neocatechumenal catechesis where she said her eyes were opened.

"The Lord had to take a long time with me," she said. "The one thing that kept me on the journey was my knowing that God has never given up on me."

Eventually she and Pedro wed, and now they have six children; the eldest, Matthew, is in the Neocatechumenal Way's Redemptoris Mater seminary of Dallas studying for the priesthood.

They also had two children who died.

"I see that God has a plan in all of this," Pedro said. "We have two angels to protect us and our marriage and our children. We need these two angels, I know my sons didn't die out of tragedy; God called them to be angels."

The Biaggi family intends to spread the good news through Christian example and encouragement and even by door-to-door evangelization.

The parishioners at St. Michael and St. Charles parishes will not be expected to join the Neocatechumenal Way and although the movement has special liturgies approved by the Holy See for its advanced members, the parishes will maintain their traditional liturgies.


  1. Hey this article says the Way has special liturgies approved by the Holy See. The article admits it.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 5:49 am,

      The NCW always said that our liturgies were approved by the Pope, and we never kept it a secret.

    2. "Special" liturgies, Diana. Read again. What is so "special" as opposed to the NewOrder of the Mass?? That's the point.

    3. Dear Anonymous at 10:46 am,

      Why did you stop at "special" liturgies? Please go on and finish the rest of the sentence.. "Special" liturgies APPROVED BY THE HOLY SEE. :-)

    4. ""Special" liturgies APPROVED BY THE HOLY SEE"

      Yes, and the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, governs the Church through the Roman Curia. He does not govern by secret and private permissions. Therefore, the so-called "Special" liturgies are nothing other than that explicitly described in the Statutes of the NCW, which were approved through the relevant dicastries of the Roman Curia. Those statutes contain only two variations of the Mass, which should be otherwise conducted according to the liturgical books of the Roman Rite - namely, the moving of the sign of peace, and that communicants may remain in their place rather than process.

      If anyone tells you that there are other approved variations, they are ignorant or lying.

    5. Dear Anonymous at 3:13 pm,

      Where in that article does it say that the "special" liturgies are nothing other than that explicitly described in the Statutes? Like I said, we have never kept our celebrations a secret. With the internet and technology today, the Vatican knows how we celebrate the Eucharist. With that said, why did Pope Francis ceased all investigations in the Way? Why hasn't the Vatican respond to your letters of complaint?

    6. "Where in that article does it say that the "special" liturgies are nothing other than that explicitly described in the Statutes?"

      It doesn't. You assert that you have extra permission in the form of secret and private dealings with the pope. The NCW therefore celebrates illicitly, if you agree that only those permissions explicitly stated in the Statutes are valid.

      "With the internet and technology today, the Vatican knows how we celebrate the Eucharist."

      The Vatican trusts that adult Catholics behave like adults and don't try to "get away with it" like you do.

      "With that said, why did Pope Francis ceased all investigations in the Way?"

      Its "why did Pope Francis cease all investigatons" etc. Well, I would guess that it has something to do with the way and reason for his elections; the distrust of the Curia and the need to reform and the hope that adult Catholics would not need to be told ad infinitum to do the right thing.

      "Why hasn't the Vatican respond to your letters of complaint? "

      I haven't written to the Vatican. Its the Bishop's responsibility to ensure that the sacred liturgy is conducted with due care and diligence. If there is failure above and beyond the NCW, it rests with the Bishop - and if he is weak or lacking in courage, then....well, then we see what we see now.

    7. Dear Anonymous at 4:44 pm,

      I have always said that we have the permission from the Pope to celebrated the Eucharist the way we do since 2008, when the change was made. Pope Francis decision to cease all investigations into the Way has nothing to do with the Curia. He made the decision. Are you saying that the Pope is a puppet?

    8. No, I am saying that the Pope was elected to reform the curia and begin a process of cleaning up the corruption. I am saying that he was elected to try a different approach. I am saying that the Pope probably hopes that Catholics that claim to be mature and sensible will act maturely and sensibly and won't need to be told to do the obvious things like conform themselves to lawful instructions. I am saying that the pope is giving you and opportunity, and I am saying you are wasting it.

    9. Dear Anonymous at 8:37 pm,

      It was Pope Benedict XVI who ordered the investigation into the Way. Did the Curia needed reforming then under Benedict's rule??? was under Benedict that the investigations were ordered. Now that Francis has taken over, you think the Curia needed to be reformed? Did it not occur to you that the Pope ceased all investigations simply because the allegations were all unfounded?

  2. Just saw an advertisement on Facebook of a page called "Concerned Catholics of Guam." Personally, I see nothing but a bunch of brothers blinded by the devil. The would actually be okay to have the brothers from the NCW "start their own church." This is not Christian! You can't solve your issues by simply putting them aside.

    As a Christian, reconciliation is what we should be aiming for. Publicly making mean remarks towards a brother is not being Christian and is exactly what Satan wants. They do public prayers but forget to pray openly to the Lord to heal the Church--this means to also pray for the brothers of the NCW and to allow God to answer the way he sees fit and not how they hope he answers.

    You can't pray for healing and ignore reconciliation. You can't pray for healing and ignore love. You can't pray for healing and continue to attack the brother.

  3. They make public prayers for HEALING. What if the opportunity of Reconciliation is God's answers to those prayers? Because it would make so much sense.

    1. PDN why do they publish RMS does not belong to Archdiocese of Agana. We need real truth.

  4. Dear Anonymous @ 11:29AM--
    Sometimes reconciliation is not possible. Why do you think there are different factions of Christian churches? They simply don't agree on certain aspects of their practices. And, yes, there are instances of them attacking each other--in fact, Christians often attack Catholics, even in radio advertisements!
    If peace is to be achieved, I fear the only solution is to separate. Not gonna be a happy separation, though.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 7:38 am,

      The NCW cannot separate from the Catholic Church. We are endorsed and supported by the Pope. We are in communion with the Archbishop who was appointed by the Pope. The NCW can get along with those who are not in the NCW. After all, we are not the ones protesting on the street for the resignation of the Archbishop.

    2. Dear Diana,
      Is it possible to have different factions in the Catholic Church?

    3. Dear Anonymous at 8:19 am,

      Church history shows that division has always existed in the Catholic Church. There has always been disagreements even among the Apostles, but the Apostles were able to resolve their disagreements either through a council or through reconciliation. The first disagreement was on circumcision, which the Church resolved through a council. St. Paul advocated that it was not necessary for the Gentiles to be circumcised while those who opposed him say that it is. And these people had a valid reason for opposing St. Paul. They pointed to scripture as their reason. It was true that circumcision was a sign and a covenant between God and His people. It took a council to resolve the problem. And the council sided with the Apostle Paul. The other disagreement was between St. Paul and St. Barnabus. They disagreed over a trivial thing, but later reconciled.

      What Pope Francis called "half-hearted" Catholics are also divisions in the Catholic Church. They pick and choose the doctrines they want to follow. You also have different factions among the clergy. Some of the clergy are in favor of allowing re-married couples to receive Holy Communion. Other clergy support same sex marriage.

      The issue here on Guam is really not about the liturgy. A liturgy cannot divide people because it has no impact on anyone not attending the Way. It has more to do with 1) money and 2) jealousy. What makes the Catholic Church unique from Protestants is that despite our arguments and divisions, we have always remained one Church except in the case of the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation. Those who decide to leave the Church are no longer part of the Church and have been excommunicated. Those who argue inside the Church still remains part of the Church until reconciliation occurs. However, there has never been anyone FORCED out of the Church as what the jungle and CCOG is trying to do. The Catholic Church has never FORCED or PUSHED out its members. Members who left voluntarily is a different story. What the jungle and CCOG is doing is trying to force the NCW out of the Catholic Church.

    4. "The issue here on Guam is really not about the liturgy. A liturgy cannot divide people because it has no impact on anyone not attending the Way

      Here you are quite wrong. The Liturgy is fundamental to unity. I will try to explain why.

      The Neocatechumenal Way teaches that the "Eucharist is essentially the response to the intervention of God. The intervention of God immediately provokes an exultant response, a feast" (Catechetical Directory Volume 1 page 310, Convivence Saturday). "Essentially it is a proclamation, a confession of what God has done".

      This is why the NCW do what they do in the Eucharist. Sitting down for example. For the NCW, the Eucharist is a response of the people to the intervention of God. The action (ie the "response") is made by the people. For this reason, the catechesis teaches that "from the community the Eucharist springs"

      The Catholic Church, on the other hand, maintains that the Mass is the action of God, not the community. It is not a "response to the action of God", but his action directly. Through faith, we are given the great gift of witnessing and assisting this action. It is therefore evident that in the Mass the NCW intend something different to the rest of the Church. While we offer a sacrifice, the NCW mock the very concept of sacrifice, and instead intend to celebrate a "Beraka" - an exultation or a proclamation.

      From this central error, all other errors of the NCW come out.

      The liturgical errors of the NCW affect all Catholics because, in the name of the Church, they contradict what the Church actually teaches about the Mass. There is a loss of the sense of the sacrifice, and an over-emphasis on the Resurrection. The errors affect the sensus fidei of the people, who are then less able to detect error or to know what is truly Catholic.

      If the NCW were to address this problem directly, I believe there would be opportunity to reconcile. But it won't because they are taught to be proud and to defend anything that comes from the mouth of Kiko.

    5. Dear Anonymous at 10:35 am,

      All Catholics are united through their baptism, their faith, and in communion with the Holy See. The Eastern Catholics have a different liturgy, but are united with the Latin rite Church through their baptism, faith, and communion with the Holy See.

      You stated: "The Catholic Church, on the other hand, maintains that the Mass is the action of God, not the community. It is not a 'response to the action of God', but his action directly."

      According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

      790 Believers who respond to God's word and become members of Christ's Body, become intimately united with him: "In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification." This is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ's death and Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which "really sharing in the body of the Lord, . . . we are taken up into communion with him and with one another."

    6. Dear Diana,
      I'm for co-existance. Since
      1) the Neo Catholics do small communities and have their services outside the church bldg,; and
      2) It's always being said that the Way is not for everyone, so it is not being "pushed" onto everyone,
      then there really shouldn't be a problem.

      Neos should continue to be Catholic the way they feel they are entitled, and leave the churches alone and let the "traditional Catholics" be Catholic the way they feel it should be done.
      (I realize the extremists will not appreciate what I am suggesting because they believe Neo-Catholics do not practice appropriately.)
      Neo Catholics will say the Archbishop gives them the right to be in the churches, any changes are appropriate. The traditional Catholics say the Archbishop is Neo and so he does not even see their side of the argument. They believe the Archbishop is going contrary to what others have said--he is "pushing" the Way on to the priests and subsequently onto the people--whether they like it or not. If a peaceful co-existance is the goal, it is imperative the Archbishop leave the churches to Non-Neo priests (allow for Filipino priests if need be) -- unless the parish community accepts a presbyter who will not push the Way on them; and completely disclose the accounting of Diocese funds.

      If Neo Catholics ask why do they have to leave the parish churches and not the other way around, well, they are the "johnnies come lately" and are the ones making changes.

      Since the Neo Catholics are not in the parishes, there will be no question that money they collect in the trash bags is theirs, and the people can resume donating every Sunday to their churches knowing that the money is not going to any Neo events/activities.

      This won't stop ALL the bickering, by no means, but it will settle a lot of them. You'll still have the extremists--those that believe their way is the best/only way to be Catholic. But I really believe most of the disgruntled will be satisfied.

  5. I'm sorry, but it's the very same people who are protesting that is the reason I left the Catholic Church. It's so political here.

    At the Church I am from, I don't feel a sense of class or status. The people of CCOG have that status and show it off very well. And I'm not talking about their issues with the church, but their personal life and my personal relationship with them.

    1. As Pope Francis was leaving the tarmac in Philadelphia; he stopped to kiss and bless a kid in a wheelchair. This action is affirmation of the purity love in our Church.

      There is no status or politics during the Mass and Eucharist. We are all the same. Want to have a serious conversation...a little fun with the high and mighty? Ask them who is the most worthless sinner at the Mass. Start with the priest.

  6. In response to Anonymous October 13, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    the problem in "trying to explain" is that many...many times we fail.

    But I gotta ask this question.....what do you bring to Mass to sacrifice?