About The Neocatechumenal Way

For those not familiar with the Neocatechumenal Way, it is an itinerary of Christian formation.  The Way was founded by Francisco "Kiko" Arguello in 1964 and it's origins began in the slums of Madrid, Spain.  The International Responsible Team includes Kiko Arguello, Carmen Hernandez, and Father Mario Pezzi, a priest of the Diocese of Rome. 

The Statutes of the Way was approved by the Holy See in 2008, and its Catechetical Directory was approved in 2010. Some statistics of the Way include the following:

The highest number of communities found in Europe (and the World) are found in Italy (10,000 communities) and Spain (7000 communities).

The highest number of communities in the world in a country per capita is found in Malta, which has 100 communities in an island of 400,000 persons, which is the equivalent of twice the number of communities both in Italy and in Spain.

The Way is present in all continents, in over 900 diocese, with a total of 40,000 communities in 6,000 parishes.  Each community may consist of 20-50 members.  In 2015 there are 103 Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer) seminaries in total. 

The Way has approximately 1 million members and growing.
In Africa, there are 800 communities, as well as in the Middle East with Lebanon having the highest number of communities. 



In the midst of paganism, the primitive Church, when someone wanted to become a Christian, invited him to perform an itinerary of formation to Christianity, called “Catechumenate”. “Catechumenate” comes from the word catecheo, which means “to make resound” and in the passive voice “to listen”. Today’s process of secularization has led many people to abandon the faith and the Church, or to live their faith at a very superficial level. Catechesi Tradendae also affirms that the situation of many Christians in the parishes, is that of "quasi-catechumens”. Because of this, an itinerary of formation to Christianity must be re-opened. Today, many dioceses are trying to begin an itinerary of catechesis for adults. The Neocatechumenal way is a help to the parishes to open a way of Christian initiation to baptism, rediscovering what it means to be Christian. It is an instrument at the service of the bishops in the parishes to help all those return, who have abandoned the faith. The Neo-Catechumenate is a theological catechetical synthesis, a catechism, a catechumenate for adults, an itinerary of Christian formation for contemporary man. It is proposed to everybody but in particular, to people already baptized, but who do not have a sufficient Christian formation. The Pope has recognized the validity of the Neo-Catechumenal Way after 35 years of an experience that began in one of the poorest outskirts the Madrid.  Today it is extended to eight hundred dioceses, six thousand parishes, one hundred and five nations, and seventeen thousand communities. 
«It is not difficult to enumerate the fruits of the Neocatechumenal way; families who have reconciled, that are now open to life and are grateful to the church, who offer themselves to go and proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth…especially in the most dechristianized and poor areas. From these families are now arising a great number of vocations.»[1] These families, who have been rebuilt, are a fruit of the new nature that is transmitted through baptism, which gives also the ability to love the enemy as a gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Father has been able to verify the fruits of conversion and the missionary impulse, which has come about from having experienced the victory of Jesus Christ risen from death through the preaching. 
The Holy Father in his letter «Ogniqualvolta» (1990) recognizes the Neocatechumenal way as «as an itinerary of catholic formation valid for our society and our times.» He expresses his desire that bishops may value and support this instrument for the New Evangelization «so that it may be implemented according to the guidelines proposed by its initiators.»
The Holy Father thus offers to the diocese a concrete instrument of evangelization without transforming this itinerary into a religious order, a particular association or a movement.  Repeatedly in the history of the church the saints have tried to make, the spirit of the Gospel re-lived in the people of God, without enclosing it within a religious order.  The times were not mature.  Today, after the second Vatican Council, the contemporary situation of atheism and secularization, places the Church into a position where the reinstatement of the catechumenate is a necessity. This itinerary offers to the dioceses an instrument to evangelize, which can, as the Holy Father said on the April 12, 1993: «answer to the challenge of secularization, the spread of sects, and the lack of vacations. The reflection on the word of God and the participation in the Eucharist make it possible for a gradual initiation into the sacred mysteries. The formation of living cells in the Church and the renewal of the vitality of the parishes is possible through mature Christians able to give witness to the truth through a faith radically lived. »
The renewal that has come about in parishes thanks to the Neocatechumenate has provoked a surprising missionary impulse that has allowed many catechists and entire families to be willing to go anywhere there is a necessity to evangelize.

Kiko Argüello in his intervention at the extraordinary synod of bishops in Europe in 1999 said: 
«To leave the great city and enter the heavenly Jerusalem: this is the work of the Church. But how? Returning to the very apostolic model as the Pope said at the VI Symposium of the Episcopal Conference of Europe. A new evangelization through the announcement of the kerygma given by itinerant apostles ‘without purse or knapsack’, to open in the dioceses and in parishes the baptismal font through a Christian initiation that may help man to leave Babylon and be citizens of heaven. We have seen, in more than thirty years of experience and in more than one hundred nations, the urgency there is for the structure of the Church to be renewed: that the parish, in front of ‘the global village’ of McLuhan, may become ‘a heavenly village’ with a new aesthetic: a catechumenium, with modern spaces for worship and for the life of small communities, a more human social model, able to open spaces for a new culture. With this creative heavenly village as a new concept of parish, we have seen families rebuilt; we have seen thousands of vocations, which have allowed bishops to open 17 diocesan ‘Redemptoris Mater’ seminaries in Europe and 100 in the whole world. » 
Once the post baptismal itinerary of Christian initiation ends, the community enters into a process of permanent education of faith, as required by the General Directory for Catechists [2]:
«that they may all be one; as you Father are in me and I in you, may they also be one in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” [3] this prayer of Jesus in front of the father is a continuous call. To come close to this ideal, gradually, requires within the community a greater faithfulness to the action of the Holy Spirit, a constant feeding on the Body and Blood of Christ, and the permanent education in the faith through the listening of the Word. » [4]
Pope John Paul II, speaking to the bishops of Ontario, about the great city, the multi-ethnic and multi religious city, which drowns contemporary man in secularization and anonymity, has underlined: «“We must not allow the anonymity of the great city to invade our Eucharistic assemblies,» inviting them to help contemporary man, especially families, by making the parish a community of small communities.
«‘Your Way’, John Paul II said [5], draws from the spirit of the Second Vatican Council to offer an example of evangelization which gives hope at the threshold of the third millennium. »

Footnotes:

[1] John Paul II January 17, 1994
[2] Congregation for the clergy Rome 1997.
[3] John 17:21.
[4] Congregation for the clergy, Rome 1997, Number 70.
[5] January 17,1994




7 comments:

  1. hello, I'm moving from Brazil to Lawton - Oklahoma and want to know the closest place that has the Neocatechumenal Way, as I intend to continue with my family.

    My email: junior.ducarmo@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Junior Cardoso,

      The head catechist for the United States is Giuseppe Gennarini. Perhaps, your catechist may help you and your family contact him before you move to Oklahoma.

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    2. Does the New Catechumenical Way believe and teach (at least officially) that Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. That is, in the consecrated bread you recieve in your hand?

      There's been some odd controversies about that, and rumors that this is contested in many NCW communities (as witnessed by those who walk away).

      Is there any reason for this? Particular catechetical terminology? Or just individual NCW communitites that have flown off the rails?

      Delete
    3. Dear Leonhard,

      The NCW believes that Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

      Delete
  2. Hi Diana, I just moved in from Holland to Witney, Oxfordshire, and I'm looking for communities of the Way around here. Do you know any? Or maybe someone who can help me? Thank you! God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ERRATA: "... Neocatechumenal Way, it is an itineracy of Christian formation."
    should be
    "... Neocatechumenal Way, it is an itinerary of Christian formation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous at 1:23 pm,

      Thank you for the correction. It has been corrected.

      Delete