Visit to the parish of San Irineo de Centocelle 3-9-1986
St. John Paul II
Rome, March 9, 1986
Thirteen years ago, the first Neocatechumenal Community was born in San Irineo. Since then the Way has been developed by enrolling more and more people, so much so that today there are five communities present in the parish and for some of the faithful the time has come for the “Redittio”, of the public profession of faith after becoming missionaries in the neighborhoods for some years. John Paul II has been in the parochial Church with the living reality of the Neocatechumenal Communities. It was a long and festive meeting during which, however, moments of deep emotion were not lacking, especially when two young people recited the “Creed” remembering the path of their conversion and their discovery of the love of God. Received with the song “Blessed Are You, Mary”, the Holy Father stopped for a long time to greet those present and especially the children. After a brief presentation by the pastor, the initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way in the parish has addressed a greeting to the Pope in which he has illustrated the activity carried out by the communities and the stages reached. He explained the meaning of the stage of the “Traditio” during which the brothers are sent house to house to announce the Gospel, and that of the “Redditio”, which culminates on Palm Sunday with the delivery of the palm of victory , symbol of the Christian’s call to bear witness to his own faith until martyrdom. “After the ‘Redditio’ we ask our brothers to make themselves available to the parish priest, just because the Neocatechumenal Way does not want to be a movement that carries out something of its own, but wants to be, in the Church at the service of the Church. John Paul II has addressed these words to the members of the five Communities:
“When I listen to this song, ‘Blessed Are You, Mary’ I know I am in the presence of a Neocatechumenal group. I have heard it in different countries and on different continents, recently in India; the same tone, the same melody, the very words of this song: this invocation to Mary who has believed and who has thus become the first believer, we can say, the korifea of all believers. She has believed in the fuller and more fruitful meaning. ‘Mary you have believed in the Word of the Lord’: with these words Elizabeth blessed her and with the same words, we bless her, the whole Church blesses her and you bless her, especially you neocatechumens. For you the way of faith is essential, that path that has its sacramental beginning, in Baptism and which has its dimension throughout the life of man, of each of us. As you said very well, it also has its rhythm: a rhythm that is expressed in these two words ‘Traditio’ and ‘Redditio’. Faith must be transmitted and received: this is done through baptism and then through Christian education. This is fulfilled through the various messengers of God, as it was for Mary by the angelic messenger, Gabriel. And this has been done through Jesus Christ, the first and absolute messenger of God to all humanity. This was done through the Apostles and is done through the Church, the received faith must be transmitted because it is a free treasure that God has offered us not only to hide it inside us, to live it in an intimate and private way, but we have been sent to pass it on to others. And this is how neocatechumens are made. Itinerant catechists carry the Gospel of Christ, carry the testimony of faith: not just holy words in the abstract sense but words witnessed, the Word of God witnessed by faith. This is a force. I wish you, dear ones, that this double rhythm of faith, ‘Traditio’ and ‘Redditio’, always be the one of your life, when you’re on the go and when, after finishing, return as particularly mature Christians to the community of your parishes.
I always meet you with great pleasure. The encounters with you are always very joyful for two elements: one for the singing, a very energetic song, and the other with the children, the little ones who make, let us say, their Neocatechumenal Way and bring everyone, and me, a great joy . I want to hug you all with a blessing and wish you a good Easter on your Neocatechumenal Way. God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you.