Neocatechumens

jark asked this question on 7/9/2000:

What do you think about neocatechumenate movement, they are saying it is not movement, but The "Way". Sometimes it seems like sect.

In Italy is about 3500 groups, they have met with Pope too, last in Israel in Galilee.

I don’t know how it is in US.

Thanks.

Jarek

 

 

mscperu gave this response on 7/10/2000:

Greetings:

The Neocatechumenal Way is recommended by the Holy Father in a letter to all bishops of the Catholic Church.

The best description should that given by the initiators:

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Introduction

The Lord has called us to live a way of conversion, through which we are coming to discover the immense riches of our faith in a post-baptismal catechumenate. During this catechumenate, gradually, stage by stage, step by step, we are descending to the waters of eternal regeneration, so that the baptism the Church has conferred on us in the past, may by our adherence to it, become a sacrament of salvation, good news for all men. Through the Neocatechumenate, a way of Christian initiation that develops a pastoral work of evangelization for adults is opened up at the centre of the parish, This evangelization is bringing to a living faith many of our brothers and sisters who today live a Christianity of habit, and is giving to many people submerged in a secularized world the possibility of meeting Our Lord Jesus Christ through Christian communities which live their faith at an adult level: of love in the dimension of the cross and perfect unity.

 

How they came into being

The Lord has called us to live a way of conversion, through which we are coming to discover the immense riches of our faith in a post-baptismal catechumenate. During this catechumenate, gradually, stage by stage, step by step, we are descending to the waters of eternal regeneration, so that the baptism the Church has conferred on us in the past, may by our adherence to it, become a sacrament of salvation, good news for all men. Through the Neocatechumenate, a way of Christian initiation that develops a pastoral work of evangelization for adults is opened up at the centre of the parish, This evangelization is bringing to a living faith many of our brothers and sisters who today live a Christianity of habit, and is giving to many people submerged in a secularized world the possibility of meeting Our Lord Jesus Christ through Christian communities which live their faith at an adult level: of love in the dimension of the cross and perfect unity.

To our astonishment, we witnessed a word which, taking flesh among these poor people who welcomed it with joy, brought to birth a community in prayer and a surprising liturgy as the response of all these brothers, laden with sins, who blessed the Lord for having remembered them. So, in the space of three years, we saw appearing before our eyes a tripod on which would be based the Way that the Lord was creating: the embryo of a Catechumenate, in a Church where fraternal communion was coming into being, in which love took on a dimension which surprised everyone: the dimension of the cross where one dies for the enemy.

 

How they spread

This love, made visible in a small community, was the sign which called to faith many people whose lives were far from the Church. The result was that the parish priests of St Frontis in Zamora and of Christ the King in Madrid invited us to bring to their parishes the experience of the catechesis they had observed. To our surprise, even in these parishes where the social environment was quite different from that of the shanty town, we saw how communities on a way towards conversion were born after the announcement of the kerygma and two months of catechesis.

When the Archbishop of Madrid at that time, the Most Rev. Mgr Casimiro Morcillo, came into contact with this reality, he supported it enthusiastically, and he himself sent us to the parishes who wished to begin the experience, while urging us to act in union with the parish priest. This experience spread rapidly in Madrid and other Spanish dioceses.

In 1968, we were invited to come to Rome, bearing a letter from the Archbishop of Madrid for Cardinal Dell'Acqua, then Vicar or Rome, and we began the same catechesis in the parish of Canadian Martyrs. It then spread throughout the diocese, through the preaching of catechists elected by the first communities, and in many other countries, in all the continents, including the missionary countries.

 

Itinerant catechists

Very soon requests from parish priests in other dioceses gave rise to the charisma of itinerant catechists. They leave their own communities for a certain time, and make themselves available to take the Neocatechumenate to the dioceses who ask for it.

Many teams of itinerant catechists, after an experience of evangelization in their own country, have been called by the Lord to open the way in other nations, from whom numerous requests have come - from bishops and parish priests - particularly since 1972 onward.

One of the greatest experiences we have today, and one for which we bless the Lord, is to see how God allows us to announce the Gospel in so many parts of the world. And not only do we proclaim the kerygma, but a community-based way for the gestation of faith appears, through which, with time, the parish can pass from pastoral work concentrated on the sacraments to one of evangelization.

 

A concrete way of Evangelizing those who are far away

The Neocatechumenal Way is lived out within the existing structure of the parish, and in communion with the bishop, in small communities each composed of people who are different in age, social status, outlook and culture. It is not a group formed spontaneously, neither is it an association, nor a spiritual movement, nor an elite within the parish. Rather, it is a group of people who wish to rediscover and to live Christian life to the full; to live the essential consequences of their Baptism, by means of a Neocatechumenate divided into different stages, like that of the early Church, but adapted to their condition as baptized persons. As a consequence, these communities have the mission of being, at the centre of the parish, the sign and sacrament of the missionary Church (Synod of Bishops); of opening a concrete way of evangelizing the `far- away', by giving - in the measure to which faith has been developed - the signs that call pagans to conversions; that is love in the dimension of the cross, and unity. `Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.' (John 12, 34-35). `May they all be one. Father, may they all be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.' (John 17, 21).

 

 

mscperu gave this follow-up answer on 7/10/2000:

Do you want to know how this charisma comes to the parish? Read on...

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Bringing the Council to the parishes

In the light of the 2nd Vatican Ecumenical Council, the Neocatechumenal Communities seemed to us a concrete way of rebuilding the Church in the form of small communities which are the visible body of the risen Christ in the world. They do not impose themselves; they consider it a duty not to destroy anything, but to respect everything. They present themselves as the fruit of a Church in renewal, one which tells its Fathers that they have been fruitful, for the communities have been born of them.

 

Charismas and ministries

Where the experience develops, one catches a glimpse of a new structure for the local Church, formed of small Christian communities like an organic body which, in the measure in which faith blossoms within her, brings charismas to maturity and requires ministries to help, to serve and to make such a renewal possible, since they are the means willed by God to make his Church grow constantly (Eph 4:11; I Cor 12). So we are seeing the charismas which make the complete Christ present; Christ the Apostle, the Prophet, the Deacon, the Pastor, the Teacher, faithful to the Father, united with his Church, compassionate towards all who suffer, etc. And these charismas appear in every community: in the presbyter, in the responsibles (for whom we have requested the deaconate), in the itinerant and local catechists, in the virgins, widows, married couples, etc).

 

The Spirit of the Way

The primary objective aimed at in this Neocatechumenate or initiation to the faith is the formation of the community. The latter, at first, is very imperfect, for it is always conditioned by the adherence of the individual to the Word. Then, little by little, our own defects come to our aid, obliging us to constantly rethink our faith. Our inability to love others, that is, to accept what destroys us in them, namely their faults, raises a great question mark for us. To love begins to appear like the destruction of our self, that is, of what is our security. To love means to die, and our tragedy is that we do not want to die. To love the other when he is different from me will always mean a leap in the dark, it will mean to have overcome death.

The second chapter of the letter to the Hebrews (Heb 2, 14f), says that all his life man is enslaved to evil and the devil because of his fear of death: for this reason Jesus Christ has come `to destroy through death the lord of death, the devil, and to set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.' (Hebrews 2, 14f)

If to love means really to transcend ourselves totally in the other, that is, to die to our self (and all of us are subjected to the devil during our lives because we are afraid of death), it is clear that if death has not been overcome in us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we cannot love. What then will the sign be that we have risen with Christ? A love over and above death, love in the dimension of the cross, love for the enemy, `as I have loved you.' (Jn 13:34-35) `By this love everyone will know that you are my disciples.' This is why it is necessary to be born from God, to receive through the Holy spirit the new life of Christ risen from the dead. `We know that we have passed out of death into life, and of this we can be sure because we love the brothers.' (1 John 3,1)

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This has been one of the wonderful gifts of God in my life. If you want I can offer my personal experience.

vale

mscperu

 

 


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