Audience to itinerant catechists 17-1-1994
S. John Paul II
Vatican City, Clementine Hall, January 17, 1994
John Paul II received a group of itinerant catechists on the Neocatechumenal Way in Audience in the Clementine Hall. This is the text of the address that the Holy Father has addressed them
«Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!1. It is a matter of great joy for me to meet you, expert catechists itinerant of the Neocatechumenal Way, who, together with the initiators and those responsible, have come together to pray and reflect on the fruits and perspectives of the mission that you are being given. He has trusted, with special attention to the role of families in the midst of the poor. I greet Mr. Kiko Argüello, and I thank him for the words he has addressed to me in your name; I greet with affection each one of you. The peace of the Lord be with you!
2. Your “Way” wants to drink in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, to offer an example of the New Evangelization that gives hope to the Church on the eve of the third Christian millennium. Your merit is to have rediscovered a “kerygmatic” preaching, which invites the “far away” also to faith, following a post-baptismal itinerary according to the indications of the Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum, required by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cf. no. 1231 ). In the center of this journey there is a fruitful synthesis between preaching, change of moral life and liturgy. All this is done in small communities, in which “reflection on the word of God and participation in the Eucharist … form living cells of the Church, renew the vitality of the parish through mature Christians capable of witnessing the truth with a faith radically lived ”(Message to the Bishops of Europe gathered in Vienna, April 12, 1993). These communities help to experience the Church as the Body of Christ in which, through the sacramental signs, God extends his saving action to the men of each generation, especially to families
3. Today everyone recognizes the serious crisisthat attacks the family and that is at the origin of the most serious illsdeep in contemporary society. Precisely for this reason the Church making her own the United Nations initiative, has designated 1994 as the Year of the Family. Your experience of many years on the “Camino” will certainly have taught you that the little Community, sustained by the word of God and the Sunday Eucharist, it becomes a place of communion, where the family finds the sense and joy of its fundamental mission to transmit natural and supernatural life. The family cannot delegate this fundamental duty to others. From the earliest times we see that, in the God’s people, it is the family that is proposed as the first area of evangelization, according to what is read in Deuteronomy: “These precepts … you will repeat them to your children, you will tell them about them both if you are at home as if you are traveling, when you go to bed and when youlift up ”(Dt 6.7). Your families rediscover prayer daily with the children and especially the domestic celebration held in the day of the Lord, in which the father and the mother open the Holy Book, they read it and comment it and the children can open up in a dialogue illuminated by the Holy Spirit. From this practice there is an echo in the letter in which Paul remembers Timothy as mother and grandmother from his childhood they initiated him in the sacred scriptures (cf. 2 Tim 1,5; 3,14-15).
4. Therefore, it is not difficult, in light ofthis, to verify the fruits of the Neocatechumenal Way: families reconciled, open to life and grateful to the Church, they offer to carry the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I myself have been able to deliver the Crucifix to families on other occasions that left for the poorest and de-Christianized areas. From these many vocations are emerging now. Girls who embrace religious and contemplative life; boys headed toward the priesthood in local and diocesan missionary seminaries “Redemptoris Mater” , arisen to help the Churches that, given the shortage of clergy, they are in serious difficulty. It is done like the Vatican II’s wish: “We remind the Presbyters that theirs is the concern for all the Churches … To this end it may be useful the creation of international seminaries… ”(Presbiterorum Ordinis, 10).
5. But above all a great fruit of this Path is the missionary impulse. It gives me joy to know that the words I addressed to the youth in Denver have found an echo in you. Then he said: «It is not time to be ashamed of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:16). It is time to preach it from the rooftops (cf. Mt 10:27) » (Homily for the Holy Mass at the World Youth Day in Denver, August 15, 1993). For this reason you are preparing to carry out great popular missions, especially directed at those who have distanced themselves from the Church or do not yet know it. I hope that the initiative to proclaim the Gospel through the streets, developed in full agreement with the local bishops, will bear abundant fruit everywhere. 6. Dearest itinerant evangelizers! I am writing with great affection to you, who have left everything to preach Christ and the crucified Christ in 94 countries on the five continents, in docile and constant obedience to the bishops. I exhort you to always remain faithful to the charism that God has entrusted to you for the good of the entire ecclesial community, contributing with your work to a deeper rediscovery of the Christian initiation of adults. As I assure you of my constant remembrance in prayer, I am happy today, in a climate of festive communion, to deliver the Crucifix to all of you who are called to be itinerant evangelizers. Holy Mary, humble Virgin of Nazareth, accompany you on your pilgrimage around the world to announce the Kingdom of God. All of you remain under her maternal protection! I cordially impart to you, your families and the Neocatechumenal Way, the Apostolic Blessing ».
In the greeting addressed to John Paul II atbeginning of the Audience, the initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello, recalled above all the fruits of the extraordinary experience carried out by 30,000 young people from the «Way» during the world meeting of Denver, which took place in August last year on the occasion of the VIII World Youth Day. After that meeting 1,200 boys have decided to enter the seminary and a thousand girls have chosen monastic life .”Since Denver,” he said, “there has truly been a turn in the Church. In Denver there has been a special grace of the Holy Spirit, and young people have been touched above all by the word of the Holy Father ».
Kiko Argüello then presented to the Pope the itinerant responsible of 94 nations from the five continents, who participated in a seven-day meeting on the reality of the “Way”, on the fruits of families on mission (400 worldwide) and on the “Redemptoris Mater” seminars (25 already open in various countries), whose rectors were present at the Audience. Seven years have passed since the first families of the Way left on mission for the poorest countries in Latin America. Today the work of evangelization carried out has produced abundant fruits in the parishes, in the seminaries, in the families, in political and social realities difficult and hostile to the faith. “We are fully convinced – said Kiko Argüello – that the future of humanity passes through the family. Growing in faith, families open up to life and are able to transmit to their children the novelty and joy of the Christian message. The Neocatechumenal Way offers constant support to this important work of evangelization, knowing – Argüello said – that “the small Community” will be able to save the family in Europe ».