«I give you a new commandment:* love one another;
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.» (Jn 13, 34s).
The Holy Spirit has raised in the Neocatechumenal Way various modalities of evangelization, of apostolic mission and of consecration, which have been confirmed and promoted by the various Pontiffs of the Church.
Parish community of communities
After the announcement of the Kerigma, communities arise in the parish, brothers who live this Christian initiation. Progressively, among them begin to appear the signs of faith, and love for the enemy. This moral miracle will call those who are far away to encounter Jesus Christ. The Christian community will bring the love of God to all men.
“You not only do the apostolate because you are what you are, in a stimulus for rediscovery and recovery the true, authentic and effectiv Christian values, that otherwise could remain almost diluted in ordinary life. No! You put them in evidence, you make them emerge, and you give them a truly exemplary moral splendor because, well, with this Christian spirit, you live this Neocatechumenal community …
How much joy and how much hope you give us with your presence and your activity! We know that in your communities you work together to understand and develop the ricehs of your Baptism and the consequences of your belonging to Christ …
Living and promoting this awakening is what you you call a form of “post-Baptism” that you can renew in the Christian communities today the effects of maturity and deepening that were performed in the early Church since the period of preparation for Baptism …
You take it later: whether before or after, I would say, is secondary. The fact is that you look at the authenticity, to the fullness, to the coherence, to the sincerity of the Christian life.”
St. Paul VI, May 8, 1974
“The praxis and norm of the Church have introduced the sacred habit of conferring baptism to newborns, leaving that the baptismal rite would concentrate liturgically on the preparation that, in the early days, when society was deeply pagan, it preceded baptism, and it was called the catechumenate. But in today’s social environment, this method needs to be integrated with an instruction, by an initiation to the Christian’s own lifestyle, following the baptism, that is, of a religious assistance, of a practical training to Christian fidelity, of an effective insertion into the community of believers, which is the Church …
Here is the rebirth of the name “catechumenate”, that certainly does not want to invalidate or diminish the importance of current baptismal discipline, but you want to apply it with a method of gradual and intensive evangelization, which reminds and renews in a certain way the catechumenate of other times. Those who have been baptized need to understand, rethink, appreciate, to support the priceless fortune of the received sacrament.”
St. Paul VI, January 12, 1977
One of the main charisms or fruits of the Way is that of the itinerant-catechists. Thanks to them, it has spread across the five continents. The international responsible team of the Way constitutes teams of itinerant catechists – who are usually made up of a priest, a married couple and a celibate/single person; or a presbyter, a celibate/single man and a celibate/single woman–, to be sent to the nations to initiate and guide the realization of the Neocatechumenal Way.
The itinerants respond to the requests of distant dioceses: the international team invites the brothers of the Way to offer themselves as available to be sent anywhere in the world, and those who feel called by God do so freely.
The itinerants receive this mission in convivences, and in them the team responsible for the Way, or another indicated, check availability and coordinate the activity of the itinerants, in a “systole and diastole” dynamic, according to the example of the Lord, who sent his apostles on mission and then gathered them together, in a secluded place, to hear the wonders that the Holy Spirit performed with them.
The itinerant catechist remains attached to their parish and community, to which they return regularly to participate in the Way in the same manner as before. In addition, the itinerant catechist agrees to live their mission in precariousness, being free to interrupt it in any moment, informing theBishop ad quem and the team responsible for the Way.
Missionary charisms and consecrated life
In the various forms of evangelization carried out by the Way, the presence of celibate men and women with missionary vocations are necessary to sustain, accompany and evangelize both in themissio ad gentes and itinerant catechist teams, such as in the seminaries and in the parishes. Therefore, in international convivences, men adn women are who, living this itinerary of faith, feel this call from God to give their lives to the New Evangelization, and are sent out.
In addition, since the beginning of the Neocatechumenal Way, hundreds of girls starting this Christian initiation have felt the vocation to the consecrated life and have entered into different monasteries around the world.
Diocesan-missionary Seminaries Redemptoris Mater
On the 26th of August in 1986, John Paul II enthusiastically welcomed the proposal of Kiko, Carmen and Father Mario to institute a Diocesan Missionary seminary in Rome for the formation of priests for the New Evangelization and commissioned Cardinal Ugo Poletti, Vicar of His Holiness, erect it.
Since then, 122 seminars have been erected, which have 3 fundamental characteristics: they are diocesan, missionary and international. Within the academic, human and spiritual formation of these seminaries, there includes a period of missionary evangelization, and once ordained priests – after a few years of working in parishes – the diocesan bishop allows them to leave to serve in the various mission modalities carried out by the Neocatechumenal Way, according to what is established and approved by the Vatican in the Statutes.
The seminary is erected by the bishop of the diocease and welcomes young men who have discovered the vocation thanks to the neocatechumenal itinerary of Christian initiation. In the seminary, the Christian formation through the Neocatechumenal Way in community is a specific and basic element of the formation course.
In the following years, numerous bishops have followed the example of the Holy Father by opening other seminaries.
Since 1990, the year of the first ordinations, until today, the priests ordained in these Redemptoris Mater seminaries are some 2,380. Currently, there are 2,300 young men that are preparing for the sacred ordination.
Families in mission
In 1985, Kiko, Carmen and Father Mario presented to St. John Paul II a project – welcomed with great enthusiasm on his part – to reevangelize northern Europe by sending missionary families accompanied by a priest. In 1986, the Pope sent the first 3 families: one to the north of Finland, another to Hamburg (Germany) and the third to Strasbourg (France). In 1987 the first 3 families were sent to the so-called “young towns” of Latin America.
On December 30, 1988, John Paul II arrived by helicopter at the International Center of the Neocatechumenal Way in Porto San Giorgio to send 72 families throughout the world. “Holy Church of God, you cannot fulfill your mission, you cannot accomplish your task in the world if not by the family and its mission! Family in mission, Trinity in mission!” “The Holy Family is nothing other than this: the human family in divine mission.” Family in mission, Trinity in mission! You should help the family, you should protect it from all destruction”, said John Paul II on that day.
Since then, almost 1,800 families have been sent by the last Pontiffs to the five continents to evangelize with their testimony of Christian life in the image of the Sacred family of Nazareth and through various missionary tasks.
They are families that, after years in this post-baptismal formation itinerary, many reconstructed, feel grateful for the work of salvation that God has worked in them. These families, most with several children, offer to go in mission, leaving the comfort of their places of origin. They leave on mission off to where bishops see the need for a Christian family’s testimony living and taking root in local churches and performing various evangelizing tasks, participating in the implementation of new Christian communities.
In the Statutes of the Way, it is indicated that the realization of the Neocatechumenal Way can be assisted by families on mission that, at the request of the bishops, are established in de-Christianized areas or where an “implantatio ecclesiae” (Art.33) is necessary. [Familias en misión], Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way, May 11, 2008)
Missio ad gentes
In 2006, Benedict XVI inaugurated this new form of evangelization by sending the first 7 missio ad gentes. Each of them is made up of a priest, accompanied by 4-5 families with several children. At the request of the bishop, the family receives the mandate to evangelize de-Christianized or pagan areas, with the mission to make present a Christian community in which “to be perfectly one for the world to believe. “
John Paul II, in the VI Symposium of European Bishops of 1985, indicated that to respond to the secularization from Europe it was necessary to return to the first apostolic model.
Thus, these missio ad gentes, in imitation of the domus ecclesiae, gather in the houses in the midst of the unbaptized and far away from Christianity.
Twelve years after the first sending, the result is that many remote and pagan, who had never entered a church, welcome these Christian communities and begin a conversion itinerary or get closer to faith.
These communities – which do not start from a sacred atrium, but live in the middle of the world – they constitute a true “courtyard of the Gentiles where men can approach God without knowing him ”, as Benedict XVI pointed out in the speech to the Roman Curia in the year 2009.
An extraordinary element of this experience are the fruits of communion and unity that occur within their own family, between parents and children.
On March 18, 2016, Pope Francis sent 250 families forming 50 new missio ad gentes for the five continents. During this meeting, Francisco himself explained what this missionary modality consists of: “the missio ad gentes are created at the request of the bishops of the dioceses to which they are destined and are made up of 4-5 families – most of them with more than four children – a presbyter, a young man and two women. “They all form a community that has the mission of giving the signs of faith that attract men to the beauty of the Gospel” he said .
Pope Benedict XVI, from 2006 to 2012, sent 58 missio ad gentes and Pope Francis has sent 128.
On May 5, 2018, at the international meeting on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the birth of the first community of the Way in Rome, celebrated in Tor Vergata, the Pope Francis sent 34 new missio ad gentes.
The number of families in the Way that are in mission for the new evangelization is 1,668, with about 6,000 children, in 108 countries on 5 continents, including the 216 missio ad gentes in 62 nations.
Communities in mission
In the meeting with Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica on January 10, 2009, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the birth of the first neocatechumenal community in Rome, the first 15 communities were sent by the Holy Father to the periferies of Rome.
These communities were willing to leave their parish – where they had already finished the neocatechumenal itinerary– to go in mission to difficult areas of the periphery at the invitation of the parish priests. Degraded areas, with a lot of violence, drugs, destroyed families, newly arrived immigrants.
Kiko, Presenting this new mission, noted that “the Way ends by announcing the Gospel throughout the world”. “One of the biggest novelties is that the whole community goes on mission. Not that just some brothers go, but the whole community. It is a great grace and something wonderful that God would send you on this mission. It is great to be able to leave, that the Lord give you a mission; die in the mission, grow old in the mission.”
Precisely, Pope Francis in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium speaks of a Church “on the way out” and expresses the need to evangelize territorial and existential peripheries.”
Also the diocese of Madrid, where The Way was born and is present in 45 parishes with 221 communities, speaks with this experience. In 2011, the then Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Rouco Varela, sent the first 10 communities on mission.
The current Archbishop of the capital of Spain, Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, in a meeting on March 22, 2015, sent out 8 new communities. In Madrid, there is a total of 18 communitates in missionem.
On May 5, 2018, Pope Francis, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the birth of the first community of the Way in Rome, in a great meeting in Tor Vergata sent 25 communities in mission to various parishes in Rome to sustain and strengthen the Christian life of parish communities that were least favored.
Today, in this “go” of Jesus, there are present the ever new scenarios and challenges of the evangelizing missionof the Church, and we are all called to this new missionary “departure”. “Every Christian and every community will discern which is the way the Lord asks, but we are all invited to accept this call: leave your own comfort and dare to reach all the peripheries that need the light of the Gospel.”
Stages of the Way
Iconography and stained glass
The paintings of the Neocatecumenal Way
Kiko Argüello studies Fine Arts at the Academy of S. Fernando de Madrid and in 1959 receives the National Extraordinary Award of Painting. In 1960, together with the sculptor Coomontes and the glassmaker Muñoz de Pablos, founded the Art research and development group called Arte Sacro “Gremio 62”. They hold exhibitions in Madrid (Biblioteca Nacional), and represents Spain, appointed by the Ministry of cultural relations, at the Universal Exhibition of Sacred Art in Royan (France) in 1960. In Holland, he exhibits some of his works (Gallery “Nouvelles images”).
«Only a new aesthetic will save the Church». The images of this «mystic crown» want to influence the deepest spirit of the faithful that contemplates it. They are intended to help man rise to God. These paintings act in the soul of the Christian as in the Transfiguration, where the apostles perceived the brightness of the divine light over Mount Tabor. Like him, they hear the Word of God and especially in the liturgy, these images, in a direct way, immediately and more emotionally, they want to help the faithful to spiritually transform. St. John Damasceno, who defended the icons against the iconoclastic force and who Pope Leo XIII proclaimed as Doctor of the niversal Church said: «I have seen the human image of God and my soul has been saved».
May the Holy Face of Christ help you to witness his love.
The architecture of the Neocatecumenal Way
Throughout history, the Church has always perceived this link between beauty and evangelization and the Church to be the largest customer of beauty. Everything reflects the beauty of Christ and the beauty of the community and fraternal communion. The evangelization of the Slavs came in large part through the beauty of the liturgy, of the icons and the songs. Only in recent years also within the Church, a functional vision seems to prevail that reduces the places where the community lives and they meet in simple meeting rooms.
However, today more than ever, is it It is necessary and urgent that the structures of the Church be renewed. The response to the global village, to the big city, to monoculture, is a parish that becomes “celestial village”: a social model more human, capable of opening spaces for the new civilization of love, a Eucharistic assembly that favors the active participation of the faithful, a reality of community of communities with a catecumenium composed of beautiful liturgical rooms for celebrations in small communities.
In the five continents you can find works designed by Kiko within the new aesthetic: The Seminaries Redemptoris Mater, new parishes, catecumeniums, rooms for community celebrations, etc.
The sculpture of the Neocatecumenal Way
Dostoyevski, “Beauty will save the world”. Beauty, as you know, is transcendental of being, along with good and truth. Because, as St. Thomas says, all reality is one, it is true, it is authentic. But to me, I like to relate beauty to pleasure. The aesthetic emotion, beauty, it gives us pleasure, it makes us an emotion. So God, in some way, has created nature. He who created nature, has made her beautiful to give us pleasure.
Pleasure is in relation to love. And it is interesting, for me as a painter, that I have studied the laws of harmony, that everything in nature is related and is in function of beauty. Not everything is beauty, in a certain sense, but the laws of harmony are in a relationship of matter, form … It’s curious, the science that studies relationships is mathematics, so in harmony there are a whole series of equations that are mathematical. Already in art, Plato talked about the geometry of the created and in mathematics. In art, be it in painting, be it in sculpture, be it in music, whether in poetry, everything is in a relationship, relationships that are harmonious.
This mathematical relationship that exists within harmony, also exists in time, exists in music. Music is very important because it teaches us beauty in time. Each note values the following in time, in painting every subject values, every smoothness, every material, each design, values the other. For example, in Beethooven’s fourth, it begins with a dissonance. This is stupendous. In time, value the time, let’s say so there is … Let’s not say poetry, the word, the sculpture. For example, Henry Moore, an English sculptor, has studied human bones, has seen that the bones of man … The cavity of the femur is perfect. That cavity is perfect for a joint function and At the same time it is aesthetic, to the fullest. It has an aesthetic curve, beautiful, it’s very difficult. The curve of a seal’s neck is wonderful. As animals are related, not just any curve is aesthetic. Moore takes those cavities, studies them and makes a sculpture of curves, because a curve of a certain type corresponds to another protuberance of another type to be aesthetic, because everything is in relation.
Let’s say that in aesthetics there is a deep secret, which is love.
Kiko has designed many objects for the liturgy: chalices, patenas, censers, covers for the Bible, ornaments … also of many sculptures: Sermon on the Mount, St. John Paul II, Jesus Christ crucified, fawns, etc.
The Kerigma. In the shacks with the poorBuy
“I have wanted to write this little book suggested by Cardinal Cañizares, who thought it important to say something about what the Lord He has done with us in the shacks, with the poor, and also that I publish a kerigma that can help, especially for the contents and anthropology, to the Synod on the New Evangelization.” Kiko Argüello.
Cardinal Cañizares: “This book is a true gift from God, which encourages and animates us in faith, dispels fears and and fills us with courage.”
Cardinal Schönborn: “In this catechesis, the entire proclamation of the Gospel is condensed in an impressive way.”
“Since almost thirty years ago, I have been writing in notebooks, by a manner both sporadic and irregular, and without a certain intention, some thoughts, reflections, maxims, memories, considerations, notes, prayer soliloquies, etc., raised in me during the mission of evangelization and catechesis called by the Lord in the Church, along with Carmen Hernández and Father Mario Pezzi. If these annotations help someone, blessed be God.”
“The book is formed by small literary pieces which can be read without connection to the previous or the next. They are reflections from an event, a convivence or a gathering; spiritual bangs of announcement or denunciation; interpellations or calls to hope in which the reader feels concerned: sometimes they are bold confidences that sprout from the soul of the author; sometimes they are a kind of hymn or psalm, of ardent supplications and of vibrant thanksgiving to God. For the data that it contains, the small writings you can somehow follow the historic thread from 1988 all the way to 2014. It unites the believing story of the author and the Neocatechumenal Way more than the thematic development, although many contents of the specific charism appear dispersed. It is a story full of joys and sufferings; the fight of the author is transparent for faithfully carrying out the assignment received from God” († Mons. Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, Cardinal Archbishop of Valladolid).
“It rains, but the day dawns serenely. Jesus, I am surprised. Thank you. The suffering has put mercy in my heart. Thank you, Jesus. Peace, joy….” Carmen Hernández, Valle de los Caídos – Madrid, January 27, 1979.
“Fifty years without stopping for a moment, of travel, of scrutinies, of visits to so many communities in Madrid, Zamora, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, Ivrea… Listening and listening to each brother about his life, his sufferings and his history, enlightening it to the light of faith, of the glorious cross of Our Lord Jesus. I think that You have the right to know Carmen’s heart, her immense love for Jesus Christ. She would say constantly: «My Jesus, I love you, I love you. Come, come, help me.” (Kiko Argüello).
The Neocatecumenal Way
Words from the Popes : Paul VI, St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.
The first apostles, in small teams of evangelization, they traveled the synagogues announcing the Good News: God has raised his servant Jesus, the one of whom we have rejected, asking for a murderer’s grace; he who died without opposing resistance, without resisting evil, loving his enemies, excusing them (“Forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing”); he who offered the evil that they inflicted on him – torture and the cross – as proof that his love was greater than death and never ceasing to love them, even if they took away his life: God has raised him from the dead and today He is alive, to forgive this and any other crime.
“Our time needs to resume the building of the Church, almost, psychologically and pastorally, as if beginning again, from scratch, so to speak, to regenerate.” Pope Paul VI, August 4, 1976.
Songs of the Neocatecumenal Way
Revised by The Neocatecumenal Diocesan Center of Madrid. The book of songs is edited in different colors to differentiate the gradual stages of the Way. The psalmists must choose the songs, according to the stage of the Way in which your Community is located and wait for the Catechists to transmit the songs of the different convivences and Steps of the Way, in this way the brothers can understand the meaning of each song.
The Symphony Orchestra of the Neocatechumenal Way has been founded as a service of the Neocatechumenal Way to evangelization through music.