Kiko Argüello

Kiko Argüello

Kiko Argüello

Francisco José Gómez Argüello Wirtz, is born in León on January 9, 1939. He studied Fine Arts at the San Fernando Academy in Madrid and in 1959, he received an Special National Painting Prize. After a deep existential crisis, he went through a serious conversion that lead him to dedicate his life to Jesus Christ and the Catholic church.

In 1960, together with the sculptor Coomontes and the glassmaker Muñoz de Pablos, he founded the research and development group of Sacred Art “Gremio 62”. He presente exhibitions in Madrid (National Library), and in 1964 he was chosen by the Ministry of Culture to represents Spain at the Universal Exhibition of Sacred Art in Royan (France). In Holland (1965), he exhibited some of his works (at the “Nouvelles images” gallery).

Convinced that Christ is present in the suffering of the innocent and last of the earth, he goes to live among the poor, moving in 1964 to a shack in Palomeras Altas, a poor village at the outskirts of Madrid. There he met Carmen Hernández and together, driven by the poor environment they are living in, discovered a way to preach to them, a kerigmatic-catechetical synthesis, which resulted in the formation of a small Christian community. This community, in which the love of the crucified Christ became visible, became a “seed” that, thanks to the then archbishop of Madrid, Mons. Casimiro Morcillo was planted in the parishes of Madrid, and later in Rome and in other nations.

After his conversion, he put his art at the service of the Church. Specifically, he did so through painting, music, architecture and sculpture; these last two serve to promote a “new aesthetic” that lead man to faith.

As a painter, he has done important works throughout the world. In Spain, especially in Madrid – where he painted the Royal Cathedral of Almudena – and in Murcia. In Italy he has recently painted a large mural in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Rome. His works are also present in Roman churches, as Canadian Martyrs, and in cities like Piacenza and Perugia. Another example is the great Last Judgment mural in the Domus Galileae (Israel), a meeting center located on the Mount of Beatitudes and which, by express desire of John Paul II, also has the purpose to build bridges with the Jewish people.

As an architect he has developed a new model of parish and of seminary based on the new aesthetic that features stained glass windows created by him. There are examples in Spain, Italy, Nicaragua, United States, Finland, Dominican Republic, and some Asian and African countries. In this regard, the Domus Galileae has a particular preeminent place.

During these years, Kiko Argüello has developed for the Neocatechumenal Way a musical image. Since he went to the shanty towns of Palomeras Altas with a bible and a guitar, he composed more than 300 songs which are compiled in the collection called “RESUCITÓ, songs for the neocatechumenal communites”. Many are presently sung in numerous parished around the world and others have been sung on many occasions in the presence of various Popes. For them, Kiko has devised musical accompaniments using a great number of instruments.

In 2010, Argüello formed the Symphony Orchestra of Neocatechumenal Way and composes the work “The Suffering of innocent ”, which describes through music the pain of the Virgin at the foot of the cross. After being performed in Israel before various authorities,and 200 bishops, many Israeli citizens present were deeply impressed, and they recognized that they felt that their suffering for the Shoah (the Holocaust) was understood by the Church and felt loved by her. From then on, this Symphony has been used as a bridge of dialogue between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church. From its composition, it has been performed in the Vatican – on one occasion before Benedict XVI–, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Madrid, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Boston, Düsseldorf and Auschwitz, among others.

Kiko Argüello is also the author of two books: he published in 2012 “The Kerigma: in the shantytown with the poor” and in 2016 “Annotations. 1988-2014 ”.