More than 4,500 people have already confirmed their attendance
The Neocatechumenal Way will remember Carmen Hernández in a very special way – initiator of the Way together with Kiko Argüello and who died in Madrid on July 19, 2016 – with a Symphonic-Catechetical Celebration in the Co-cathedral of San Pedro, Soria.
The initiative has been promoted by the diocese of Osma-Soria, and specifically by its Bishop, Mgr. D. Abilio Martínez Varea, as part of the Jubilee thatPope Francis granted to the Poor Clares Sisters of Soria on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the permanent exposition of Jesus the Eucharist.
Furthermore, the intention is to remember this great woman on earth, from which she originated, and to thank her for her contribution to the universal Church.
The event will be attended byKiko Argüello, Fr Mario Pezziand María Ascensión Romero, who currently form the International Responsible Team of the Way.
The Celebration will take place next Sunday, May 27 at 5:00 p.m. The Neocatechumenal Way Symphony Orchestra will perform the Symphony “The Suffering of the Innocents”, composed by Argüello himself and with whom he wants to express the suffering of the Virgin Mary before the Cross.
The Orchestra and the Choir of the Way are formed by 110 trained musicians and by 90 chorus girls, all led by the prestigious and internationally recognized conductor Tomáš Hanus.
Kiko presents the symphony as follows:
“I present to you a small musical composition, which I would like to be celebratory, catechetical too, I would say, about the suffering of the innocent, about the suffering of the Virgin. Maybe music manages to tell us something deeper about a subject so important?”
Kiko Argüello invites to celebrate together “with these musical lines, how much did an angel hold the Virgin, like Jesus in the Garden of Olives, when another angel helped to drink the chalice prepared for sinners. “
The work is made up of five movements: Gethsemane, Lament, Forgive them, The Sword and Resurrexit, and since it was composed eight years ago, it has been performed in places like the Vatican, New York, Jerusalem, Auschwitz, Paris, Budapest, Tokyo, Boston, Chicago. It will be performed soon at the Berlin Philharmonic.
You can learn more about “The Suffering of the Innocents” HERE
Invitation of the Diocease
The Bishop of Soria-Osma, Mgr. D. Abilio Martínez Varea has sent a letter to the entire diocese announcing as part of the Jubilee activities, this symphonic-catechetical celebration. “It will be one of the important moments of this Jubilee Year and will serve also as a tribute to Carmen Hernández ”.
“I am sure this celebration will be a passing of the Lord for the entire Diocese, especially for the faithful de Soria and young people, as well as for the brothers of the Neocatechumenal communities from Soria, Ágreda, La Rioja and the entire Castilian and Aragonese region.”, he says in the letter.
Carmen Hernández, tireless evangelizer
Carmen was, along with Kiko, initiator of the Way. She was born in Ólvega (Soria, Spain) on November 24, 1930. She was the youngest of eight children – four men and four women – and lived her childhood in Tudela (Navarra, Spain).
In Tudela, she studied at the Company of Mary and had contact with the Company of Jesus (Jesuits). As influence by the missionary spirit of Saint Francis Xavier, from a very young age, she felt the vocation to go on a mission to India.
At the will of her father, in 1954 she begins to study Chemistry in Madrid, where she graduates with highest honors in 1958.
For a time, she works with her father in the food industry in a factory that the family had in Andújar (Jaén), but decides to leave it to move to Javier (Navarra), where she becomes part of a new missionary institute: the Missionaries of Christ Jesus.
After the novitiate, she studied theology at the house of theological formation for religious in Valencia.
In 1960, she was destined for India. For this mission, she had to be prepared in London (at that time, India belonged to the Commonwealth), where she remained a year. In that time, there was a change of direction in the Missionaries of Christ Jesus that limited her openness to the mission, so Carmen returns from London to Barcelona. There she meets Fr. Pedro Farnés Sherer, professor in the Liturgical Institute of Paris, which was working for liturgical renewal prepared by the Second Vatican Council.
In his classes, Fr. Farnés presented the Easter sources of the Eucharist and a renewed ecclesiology that showed the Church as the light of the nations. The direct contact of Carmen with the authors of this conciliar renewal had a great influence, later, in the formation of the catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way.
In 1963 Carmen moves to the Holy Land for two years. Upon her return to Madrid, she began working in the shanty towns in the periphery, thinking of going to Bolivia as a missionary with other celibate lay people. However, there she meets Kiko Argüello, who lived in the shanty towns of Palomeras Altas, and she decides to remain in the same area. In the midst of the poor, they both discovered the strength of the Paschal Mystery and of the preaching of the Kerigma (the Good News of the dead and risen Christ) and saw the first community born among them.
Thanks to the confirmation of this new reality by the then Archbishop of Madrid, Mgr. Casimiro Morcillo, Carmen collaborates with Kiko, taking to the parishes – first to Madrid, then to Rome and thereafter to other cities and nations – this work of renewal of the Church.
Carmen Hernández died on July 19, 2016 in Madrid. At her funeral, presided by the Archbishop of Madrid, now Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, and attended by thousands of people, Fr Mario Pezzi highlighted that with the Way, it is “the first time in history that an ecclesial reality is founded by a man and a woman who have been collaborating constantly together for more 50 years without being married ”.
In addition, the Pope sent a message in which he assured that he received “with emotion” the news of Carmen’s death and highlighted in her “a long existence marked by her love for Jesus and by a great missionary enthusiasm.”I give thanks to the Lord for the witness of this woman, animated by a sincere love for the Church, who has spent her life in the announcement of the Good News in every place, as well as those far away,never forgetting the most marginalized people.”, wrote Pope Francis.
Gathering of the 50th Anniversary with Pope Francis
This tribute to Carmen Hernández will take place shortly after the international meeting that Pope Francis presided in Tor Vergata (Rome) on May 5 and in which more than 150,000 people from around the world participated.
At the gathering, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Way to Rome, the Pontiff sent 36 new missio ad gentes (each of them is made up of 4-5 families and a priest), and 25 new communities on mission to parishes on the outskirts of Rome which, at the request of the parish priests and in agreement with the Bishop, they will maintain those parishes and will call those far from the faith.
In his speech, Pope Francis stated that it is necessary to give “many thanks to those who started the Neocatechumenal Way 50 years ago.”
“Your charism is a great gift from God for the Church of our time. Let us thank the Lord for these 50 years”. “I accompany you and I encourage you: go ahead!” He added.
Currently, the Neocatechumenal Way is present in 134 nations on five continents, with 21,300 communities in 6,270 parishes, as well as 1,668 families in mission of which 216 are missio ad gentes in de-christianized cities of the five continents, and with 120 Diocesan Missionary Redemptoris Materseminaries
Kiko, Fr Mario and María Ascensión ask that we pray for them and for this initiative.
You can learn more about the Neocatechumenal Way Orchestra HERE
To know more about this initiative in Soria HERE