Dear Brothers,

Mario Pezzi

In this celebration of the Eucharist, we thank God today for having Kiko been born eighty years ago and, at the same time, we remember with gratitude in prayer his father and his mother who gave birth to him.

Another reason to thank the Lord for having endowed him with so many and diverse gifts and for having given us, through him, in collaboration with Carmen Hernández, the Neocatechumenal Way, to which all of us here are debtors and grateful.

The Fathers of the Church speak of first birth, the natural one, and a second birth that happens at baptism, when the Church welcomes us into her bosom. We can say that this second birth, thanks to the long Neocatechumenal Way, gradual and progressive, has brought forth and grown in all of us the great riches and potential of our Baptism, by which we have been regenerated “not from a corruptible seed, but immortal, it is to say of the Word of God, alive and eternal “, in our communities (1Pt 1.23).

Already Pope John Paul II in his meetings with the Neocatechumenal Communities of the Parishes of Rome had spoken of this seed of eternal life received in Baptism, like an almost dead seed in the lives of many Christians, but in the Paul VI hall, in the audience granted to the youth of the Way in preparation for the world youth day in Denver, he strongly emphasized: “Baptism is not statistic. It is registered in the parish books and that’s it. But no, it is not a statistic, it is dynamic: it provokes precisely a way of the Christian life ”(Rome March 28, 1993). The dynamic characteristic of Baptism, a hidden treasure with enormous developmental possibilities to make us enjoy eternal life in the present.

Our presence here today is a manifestation of gratitude to God and Kiko for having allowed us to find in our life THE FAITH, this “precious hidden pearl” that has changed our lives positively, sustained and helped by catechists and by the action of God in our life and in the brothers of the community.

Today is fulfilled in our midst the Word proclaimed in the first reading of the first letter of Saint John in which states: “We have known and believed in the love that God has for us. God is love. Who remains in love, abides in God and God abides in him ”(1Jn 4:16).

Dear brothers, the root of the deep communion that unites us today in this celebration is precisely in the love that God has infused in the life of each one of us, for which celebrating Kiko’s eighty years is a joy and a gratitude immense towards him, to Carmen and to the Lord in this Eucharist that we celebrate.

The Gospel of Mark that we have proclaimed is also fulfilled in our midst today.

We have heard “Jesus immediately forces his disciples to get into the boat and to precede it on the other shore ”. Also Kiko and Carmen, and then all of us have, been drawn to Jesus Christ by the announcement of the Kerygma and we have been forced to get into the boat of the Neocatechumenal Way to pass from stage to stage to the other shore, as Carmen has madepresent many times, beginning little by little to experience the presence of God in our hearts to reach out to contemplate the face of God in eternal life.

Thinking of Kiko, after having lived almost fifty years with him, as he himself has testified inhis book “Reflections”, I have been able to verify how the charism that Godhas given him, communicating an extraordinary zeal that has pushed him to givehis own life day after day, following the instructions of the Lord, hasat the same time, experienced his own weakness and inadequacy in the face ofa mission that he felt greatly surpassed his human strength.

Like the apostles in the Gospel of today, he has experienced fear when threatening waves assaulted the boat of the Neocatechumenal Way. Accusations and slander, misunderstanding, threatening waters. But over and over again the Lord has calmed the waters, manifesting his presence and giving his strength and comfort.

After fifty years we are all witnesses to the wonders that the Lord has wrought in our midst and for this reason, together with Kiko, we thank the Lord in this celebration of Eucharist.

Not being able to talk more so as not to abuse of your patience, I would just like to refer to the apostolic fruitfulness in these eighty years of Kiko: the communities scattered throughout the world, the zeal and generosity of the itinerants, of the families in mission, of the seminarians and priests who emerged from the numerous “Redemptoris Mater” seminaries, from the “Missio ad Gentes”, from the “Comunitates in Missionem ”, not to mention the great contribution to the renewal of the Art and Sacred Architecture in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, as well as in the field of sacred music composing hymns and songs and lately the Symphony dedicated to “Suffering of the Innocents”.

To conclude I would like to invite you to read the speech delivered by Cardinal Rouco in the presentation of Kiko’s book “Reflections” recently in Berlin.

It is the first speech by a excellent theologian and Canonist, as well as Archbishop Emeritus of Madrid who has always accompanied and sustained Kiko and Carmen with closeness, love an affection. In this speech, Cardinal Rouco describes the social and ecclesial environment during the last years of the Second Vatican Council in which the Lord has inspired Kiko, through the Virgin Mary, to form “Communities that live in humility, simplicity and praise. The other is Christ”. A prophetic inspiration that we see happening today, thanks to support from Pope Paul VI, from Pope John Paul I, from Pope John Paul II, of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis who in the solemn celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way in Rome, he has stated: “Dear  brothers and sisters, your way is a great grace from God to the Church of our time ”.

For all this, let us now join the Song of thanksgiving (Eucharist) of our Lord Jesus Christ, in communion with the whole Church.