Pontiff Meets With Neocatechumenal Way Initiators
Strategies Discussed to Evangelize Europe
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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in a private audience the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way: Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernández, and Father Mario Pezzi.
Álvaro de Juana, the spokesman of that Catholic lay group in Spain, told ZENIT that one of the subjects addressed in Saturday's audience with the Pope was the new evangelization of Europe, a topic to which this ecclesial organization has always attached great importance.
The Pontiff was "very happy about the work of the Neocatechumenal Way," said De Juana.
The initiators of the Way explained to the Holy Father the work that the group's followers have been carrying out for some years in cities of Holland, Germany and France -- where at times the presence of the Church is scarce -- through the "missio ad gentes."
They noted that the "missio ad gentes" is a form of evangelization that consists in the "implantatio ecclesiae," that is, in the sending of voluntary missionaries (usually two or three families with their children, accompanied by a priest) to de-Christianized places, where the Church has disappeared or is about to disappear.
In fact, the recently published apostolic exhortation "Verbum Domini" alluded to the need of the "missio ad gentes" in section 95, in which the synod fathers reiterated the importance that the Church "not limit itself to a pastoral program of 'maintenance.'"
In this sense, Argüello, who was an auditor in the synod on the Word of God, explained how the practice of the Way is reflected in "Verbum Domini" when it affirms the need "to favor in pastoral activity" the "diffusion of small communities 'formed by families rooted in parishes or connected to different ecclesial movements and new communities.'"
World Youth Day
Another topic addressed in the Papal audience was the forthcoming World Youth Day in Madrid next year.
Argüello explained to the Pope that more than 200,000 young people of Neocatechumenal Way from all over the world will undertake itineraries along the length and breadth of Europe, in which they will evangelize and hold missions for ten days.
After taking part in the youth day ceremonies in Madrid, they will attend a vocational meeting with the Way's initiators, in which it is hoped that thousands of young people will show their willingness to be consecrated to Christ.
"These young people are the fruit of the Christian community and, concretely, of small communities rooted in the parish that save the family," said Argüello.
Finally, the Neocatechumenal representatives mentioned the opening, at the request of the local bishops, of three new Redemptoris Mater diocesan missionary seminaries in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Brussels, Belgium; and Trieste, Italy.
With these three new foundations, the Redemptoris Mater seminaries now number 78 worldwide.
These seminaries, which depend on the local bishop and are opened at his request, have as their specific mission the formation of priests for the vocation in any part of the world, according to the spirituality proper to the Neocatechumenal Way.