Friday, January 20, 2012

What is the Neocatecumenal Way?

The Neocatechumenal Way was born in the 1960's in the Palomeras district of Madrid. It's often confused for a movement or a congregation, when it's actually an itinerary of catechesis to rediscover baptism and is taught under the direction of a bishop.

Because it's an itinerary, it has no founders, but initiators. One is Kiko Argüello, who, after a personal crisis, left everything and went to live with the poor. When he began to evangelize, the first neocatechumenal community was born.

Carmen Hernández is also an initiator. She met Kiko before the first community was created, but she initially didn't trust him. After a visit from the archbishop of Madrid, Carmen began working with Argüello.

Kiko Argüello

Initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way

“We were created to help parishes and bishops to open a path of Christian initiation for Christian adults. It's something very deep and very big.”

Because the Way is not an apostolic movement or a congregation, they do not have their own parishes, hospitals or educational institutions.

Kiko Argüello

Initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way

“What do we manage? Spiritual wellness. There's no money, no properties. And what are these assets? The Neocatechumenate, catechesis, a special way of doing catechesis, and how to articulate a way of teaching the faith. These are goods that we serve to the bishops.”

Those who join the Way, over the course of several years receive a special catechesis to rediscover their faith. In 2008, Benedict XVI gave final approval for the Statutes of the Way, and in 2011 approval for the doctrine of their catechesis.

Today they are in over 100 countries. They have opened more than 80 seminaries, and some 40,000 communities in more than 6,000 parishes.