Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bishop Welcomes NCW To Diocese

Plymouth: Bishop welcomes Neo-catechuminal families to diocese

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."

Catholic News Report


  1. A very wise bishop! He has true discernment. May God bless his endeavours.

  2. Pope Francis about divorced people:

    “The divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment” (AL 298).

    In this line, gathering the observations of many Synod Fathers, the Pope states that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal”. “Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services… Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church… This integration is also needed in the care and Christian upbringing of their children” (AL 299).


    This is a true game changer!

    As the Slate Magazine notes:

    “Amoris Laetitia” opens the door for divorced and remarried Catholics to take Holy Communion, or the Eucharist. Formally, such Catholics are not allowed to partake of the sacrament without having their first marriages annulled, which has historically been costly and time-consuming.

    The Eucharist issue prompted real disagreement among bishops at the synods. As the Anglican critic and scholar Alan Jacobs wrote Friday morning, the dilemma boils down to whether the Eucharist is a carrot/stick mechanism for keeping the faithful in line or a “means of grace.” Francis takes the second view. Quoting himself, he writes in “Amoris Laetitia” that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

    The church streamlined the annulment process last fall and eliminated fees. Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” goes even further, suggesting that priests should be more attuned to encouragement than to enforcement. “A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives,” Francis writes. “This would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings.”


  3. All hail Pope Francis! Amoris Laetitia, a fundamental document on family came out finally. Top Ten Takeaways from “Amoris Laetitia”

    1. The church needs to understand families and individuals in all their complexity.

    2. The role of conscience is paramount in moral decision making.

    3. Divorced and remarried Catholics need to be more fully integrated into the church.

    4. All members of the family need to be encouraged to live good Christian lives.

    5. We should no longer talk about people “living in sin.”

    6. What might work in one place may not work in another.

    7. Traditional teachings on marriage are affirmed, but the church should not burden people with unrealistic expectations.

    8. Children must be educated in sex and sexuality.

    9. Gay men and women should be respected.

    10. All are welcome.


    Wow and wow!


  4. I am not NCW diana but i agree with you here. Good we do have some common ground.