Holy-Land Bishops Counsel Neocatechumenate

Encourage Members to Respect Parishes and Liturgies

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JERUSALEM, FEB. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land wrote a letter welcoming the Neocatechumenal Way, giving indications for its work in the area.



"Brothers and sisters of the Way: You are welcome in our dioceses," the bishops wrote in their letter released Sunday. "We thank God for the grace the Lord has given you and for the charism that the Holy Spirit has infused in the Church through your ministry of post-baptismal formation.

"We are grateful for your presence in some of our parishes, for the preaching of the Word of God, for the help given to our faithful in deepening their faith and in rooting them in their own local church."

On Thursday, in a question-and-answer session with Roman clergy, Benedict XVI cited the Neocatechumenal Way as an example of much improved relationships between pastors and movements.

The Holy Father cited two rules for movements' growth: respect for the charism, and integration with and service of the Church.

The bishops' letter to the Neocatechumenate, signed by 11 prelates of various rites, recalled the importance of Eastern liturgies and parish-centered work.

"Your first duty ... is to root (the faithful) in the parishes and in their own liturgical traditions in which they have grown for generations," the bishops explained. "In the East, our liturgy and traditions are very important for us. It is the liturgy which has contributed much to preserve the Christian faith in our peoples in the course of history. The rite is like an identity document and not just a means of praying among others."

The bishops encouraged the members of the Neocatechumenate to learn the languages and cultures of the peoples of the Holy Land and to be mindful of the conflictive situation in which the faithful live.

"[I]n our countries -- Palestine, Israel, Jordan -- all are seeking peace and justice, a search that is an integral part of our life as Christians," the bishops stated. "All preaching should orient our faithful in the concrete attitudes they must assume in the different contexts of life and in the situation of conflict itself which continues in Palestine: attitude of forgiveness and love of one's enemy, on one hand, and on the other, exigency of one's rights, especially dignity, freedom and justice."