'We Will Always Be Grateful to God for Benedict XVI'

Neocatechumenal Way Initiators Speak on Papal Resignation

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves | 2283 hits

The initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernández and Fr. Mario Pezzi, expressed both sorrow and gratitude upon hearing of the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.

In a communique released this morning, the responsible team of the itinerary of Christian formation thanked the Holy Father "for the depth of his teaching and for his commitment to bringing forward the Second Vatican Council, as well as for the countless demonstrations of affection and love he showed the Neocatechumenal Way during his pontificate."

"We cannot but thank him for the approval of the Statutes and of the celebrations that mark the itinerary of the Neocatechumenal Way, and also for reviewing, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the content of the catechesis that the Way uses in Christian initiation," the communique stated.

"It is also impossible for us to forget the sending of so many families in mission, the numerous public and private audiences he gave us, his closeness in times of distress and so many demonstrations of sincere love."

While expressing sadness over the news of the Holy Father's retirement, Mr. Argüello, Ms. Hernandez, and Fr. Pezzi conveyed their gratefulness "for the many expressions of love towards us and towards the Neocatechumenal Way."

"We will always be grateful to God for him and pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary grant him health and comfort his heart for this act of courage, profound humility, integrity and above all, love for God and the Church," the statement read.

'A Courageous and Humble Decision'

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper 'La Razon', Argüello reminisced on his first meetings with Pope Benedict XVI when he served as professor at the University of Tübingen in Germany.

"I cannot stop thinking about how much he has loved us!, Argüello exclaimed. "I remember when I visited him when in Tübingen when he was a professor in Germany and how he helped us open the [Neocatechumenal] Way in Germany."

Argüello noted that the Holy Father made a courageous and humble decision, which was announced on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and expressed his hope that the Blessed Virgin Mary will prepare Pope Benedict's successor to carry out the evangelization of Asia.

"I believe Asia - and in particular China and India - is very important," he said.

"In this continent," Argüello continued, "there are millions of [people] who do not know Jesus Christ, and therefore, need to be evangelized. For this, the [Neocatechumenal] Way is preparing families and priests to put ourselves at the service of the new Pope and to carry out the New Evangelization that Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of many times."