From the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way
May 11, 2008
[Nature of the Neocatechumenal Way]
§ 1. The nature of the Neocatechumenal Way is defined by His Holiness John Paul II when he writes: "I recognize the Neocatechumenal Way as an itinerary of Catholic Formation, valid for our society and for our times."
§ 2. The Neocatechumenal Way is at the service of the bishop as one of the forms of diocesan implementation of Christian Initiation and of ongoing education in faith.
§ 3. The Neocatechumenal Way, endowed with public juridical personality, is composed of an ensemble of spiritual goods:
1. the "Neocatechumenate," or a post-baptismal catechumenate
2. the ongoing education in faith
3. the catechumenate
4. the service of catechesis
The Neocatechumenal Way
In the primitive church, when the world was pagan, those that wanted to become Christian had to begin a "catechumenate," an itinerary of formation in preparation for Baptism. Today the process of secularization had brought many people to abandon the faith and the church: because of this there is a necessity for an itinerary of Christian formation.
The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement or an association, but an instrument in the parishes at the service of the bishop to return to faith many of those who abandoned it.
The Way began in the early 60's in one of the slums of Madrid, by Kiko Argúello and Carmen Hernandez, and was endorsed by the then Archbishop of Madrid, Casimiro Morcillo, who noted in that first community a true rediscovery of the Word of God and the implementation of the liturgical renewal proposed in that time by the Council.
Having seen the positive experience in the church of Madrid, in 1974 the Congregation for Divine Worship chose the name Neocatechumenal Way for this experience.
It is a way of conversion through which the richness of the gospel can be rediscovered.
In these years the Way has diffused itself to over 900 Dioceses, in 105 Nations, with over 20 thousand communities in six thousand parishes.
In 1987 the first international missionary seminary "Redemptoris Mater" was opened in Rome. The seminary hosts youth that have discovered and matured their vocation in a Neocatechumenal Community and have answered the call to go and announce the Good News in the whole world. Many Bishops have successively followed the experience of Rome and today in the world there are over 70 diocesan missionary seminaries "Redemptoris Mater," where over two thousand seminarians are being formed.
Recently as an answer to the Pope's call for a New Evangelization, many families that have lived this experience have offered themselves to help the mission of the church going to the most secularized and dechristianized places in the world, preparing for the birth of new missionary parishes.