Plymouth: Bishop welcomes Neo-catechuminal families to diocese
Saturday, April 2, 2016 11:08 pm.
In a note to Clergy and parishes in the Diocese, the Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt Rev Mark O'Toole, has said: "In response to my request, and after careful consultation and discernment in the Diocese, the Neo-catechumenal Way have taken up the invitation for a Missio ad gentes community to come to the diocese this summer.
Many of you will know that the Neo-catechumenal Way is a worldwide ecclesial community originally founded in 1964 in the slums of Madrid by Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández. They took inspiration from the catechumenate of the early Church in providing a post-baptismal formation for adults who are already members of the Church, as well as those far from the Church who have been attracted to the person of Christ and to the Christian life.
The core structure comprises small parish-based communities of which there are over 40,000 around the world involving more than a 1,000,000 people. They have been present in this country for over forty years in a number of dioceses, committed to the Christian formation of people. One of their community models are Families in Mission (Missio ad gentes) which can be found in many cities around the world. These usually comprise four to five families, one priest and two single women who together operate as a small community on mission together.
It is precisely a Missio ad gentes community that I have invited to the Diocese and I am delighted to announce that we will be receiving four families (mainly Italian/Spanish in origin), one priest from Italy and two sisters from the Philippines this summer. They will be based at St. Peter and St. Thomas More Parish, Crownhill. Here, there is scope to exercise their dual role of post-baptismal formation and mission outreach. I thank Fr Jon Bielawski and Fr Jacek Kostuch, for their generosity in being open to this new evangelisation effort. Fr Jon was present in Rome a few weeks ago, on the 18th March, when the priest and families, together with many other priests and families, were commissioned by Pope Francis for their assigned task. You will be aware that in Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis reminds us:
"Other Church institutions, basic communities, small communities, movements and forms of association are a source of enrichment for the Church, raised up by the Spirit for evangelising different areas and sectors. Frequently they bring new evangelising fervour and a new capacity for dialogue with the world whereby the Church is renewed." EG 29
In another place he remarks: "I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task, re-thinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelising in their respective community." EG 33
This new group, especially the families, are taking a huge step in faith and, I believe, offer a great opportunity for a new, yet tried and tested, way of reaching out, most especially, to those who are 'far' from the Church.
With these thoughts as our guide, may I ask your prayers for this new and important initiative in our diocese, that it may enrich us and bear much fruit, especially in pointing more and more people to the Lord."