Rome, 09/09/2018.- During a convivence in the Italian town of Porto San Giorgio on Saturday, September 8, Pope Francis surprised by calling the Camino’s initiator and international leader, Kiko Argüello, and inviting 800 gathered seminarians to look “always at the Lord”.

Last Saturday afternoon, the international team responsible for the Camino, made up of Kiko Argüello, María Ascensión Romero and Fr Mario Pezzi, was meeting with more than 1,200 people (itinerant catechists from the nations where there are Redemptoris Mater seminaries, as well as numerous priests, 11 bishops, 200 new seminarians and many other seminarians with several years of training from various seminaries), when the Pontiff telephoned and directed a few words of encouragement.

From the other side of the phone line, the Holy Father dedicated a greeting to those present, at which time Kiko expressed his affection and support for the Neocatechumenal Way in these difficult moments.

“Always look to the Lord! Forward! Forward! ”Pope Francis said in turn when Kiko asked him for a few words for those gathered there.

As the entire assembly remained silent waiting for the Pope to continue, it was the same Pontiff who added: “Have you understood?” to which everyone responded with a loud “yes!” followed by a warm and prolonged applause.

Pope Francis then offered his blessing to all present.

The Neocatechumenal Way has since this year 122 Redemptoris Mater seminars around the world after 2 more have been erected in Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

The 200 new seminarians gathered in this convivence have carried out a process of discernment and now they will begin their formation in these diocesan and missionary seminaries.

Eleven bishops have also participated in the vocational convivence, some of whom have erected a Redemptoris Mater seminary in their diocese, together with their formators

The convivence ended on Sunday September 9 with a Eucharist in which Kiko invited the seminarians “to speak correctly, that is, to proclaim the Kerygma, which is what truly heals people “and to scrutinize and read the Word of God every day.

For his part, Fr Mario Pezzi in the homily invited young people not to worry about the future, not to be afraid and to let themselves be led by Jesus Christ.

Vocational meetings and closeness to Pope Francis

Last August, the Neocatechumenal Way held two vocational meetings of a international leve; in Rome (Italy) and Murcia (Spain).

The first of these took place on August 12 at the Circus Maximus in Rome as the culmination of a great pilgrimage organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference and the day after a prayer vigil chaired by Pope Francis in the same place. At the meeting, which was chaired by the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, some 12,000 young people from Italy and other European countries participated.

At the meeting, about 200 boys, 100 girls and 100 other families were willing to enter the seminary, embracing respectively consecrated life and mission.

The Murcian town of San Pedro delPinatar (Spain) hosted another meeting on August 26 which they attended about 25,000 young people from Spain, Portugal and other countries in Europe.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Cartagena, Msgr. José Manuel Lorca Planes presided over it.

Some 300 boys, 300 girls, and 200 families also gave their availability for the priesthood, consecrated life, and mission.

A few days before the first meeting in Rome, the team responsible for the Way informed Pope Francis of the realization of both encounters, renewed his affection and communion and assured the prayers of the entire Way for him.