Pope Francis and the Neocatechumenal Way

 Press Release – Neocatechumenal Way

Bishops of the Dominican Republic provide statement making known thoughts of Pope Francis about the Neocatechumenal Way expressed during ad limina visit.



 Bishops of the Dominican Republic have made known that strong words of support from Pope Francis for the Neocatechumenal Way were expressed to them during a visit to the Vatican earlier this year. Given the great interest raised by the extraordinary response of thousands of families to a vocational encounter held by the initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello, last Monday following the World Meeting of Families, as well as the enormous attention for the Synod on the Family that will resume in a few days in Rome, many have asked about the Holy Father’s thoughts with regard to this ecclesial realityand some speculated that the Pope was contrary to the Neocatechumenal Way because he did not invite Kiko Argüello to the Synod. Since this is contrary to what St. John Paul II always did, this time Kiko Arguello was not invited to the Synod.

In response to this, Monsignor Ramón Benito de la Rosa y Carpio, Archbi hop Emeritus of Santiago de los Caballeros, asked the authorization of the President of the Episcopal Conference of the Dominican Republic to divulge the thoughts regarding the Neocatechumenal Way that Pope Francis shared during the ad limina visit with the bishops of the Dominican Republic in Rome last May 28th. Also the Pope, in a personal letter to Pilar Antelo, responsible for the Way in Argentina, allowed to make public his remarks.

This is the declaration of Monsignor Ramón Benito de la Rosa y Carpio, Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago de los Caballeros:

“We recently celebrated the ad limina visit of the Dominican Bishops. The Holy Father received us by changing the protocol: in the past he was receiving us one by one for a quarter of an hour and ended with a short common message. This time he changed the protocol welcoming us all together and chatting paternally with us for over half an hour. When I spoke of the existence in the Dominican Republic of an Interdiocesan Seminary and of two Redemptoris Mater Seminaries, the Holy Father focused the dialogue on the Neocatechumenal Way. I saw the importance of what he was saying and I took out my notebook and started to write everything he said. This is what he said to us and I felt compelled to make known his remarks:


1.      Many things have been said about Kiko Argüello and many others can be said. However, one thing is certain: he is a saint.


2.      The Neocatechumenal Way is a fruit of the Holy Spirit for the Church.


3.      Therefore, I strongly exhort you to support, encourage and follow this Christian initiation.


4.      I value in a very positive way the missionary dimension of the communities. This year I’ve just sent out more than one hundred families to countries where the presence of the Church does not exist or is poor.


5.      Regarding the Redemptoris Mater Seminaries, I say the following: what would be of the Diocese of Rome without the Redemptoris Mater?   I just ordained sixteen priests in Rome and thirteen were from the Neocatechumenal Way. You draw the conclusions.


6.      The Neocatechumenal Way has restored in the Church the Easter Night Vigil, which is the center of Christian life.


7.      The Neocatechumenal Way is the reality that knows the most about Christian Initiation. Consult and, if necessary, correct the catechists and the communities – because to correct is to love – but correct them with the Statutes in hand.”

The disclosure comes days after Pope Francis’s visit to the United States, where families from Neocatechumenal communities with representation from all over the world joined the Holy Father for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. On Monday, September 28th, some 40,000 people participated in a vocational encounter presided by the Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput at the Wells Fargo Center arena. There Kiko Argüello and Father Mario Pezzi – the responsible team of the Neocatechumenal Way in the world together with Carmen Hernández – made a vocational call: 230 young men offered themselves for the priesthood, 450 young women for religious life and the evangelization, and 2300 families offered themselves to be sent in mission to any part of the world.

In Monday’s meeting, Archbishop Chaput was accompanied by thirty bishops and five cardinals, who gave words of encouragement and support for the work carried out by the families in mission and the 105 Redemptoris Mater seminaries around the world. The archbishop also recalled speaking of the Way with the Pope during last week’s visit, revealing that the Holy Father blessed a stone coming from the tomb of St. Peter that will be used as the cornerstone for the Redemptoris Mater seminary being built in Philadelphia.'There is no group in the church today that reflects the life of the Acts of the Apostles better than the Neocatechumenal Way,' Archbishop Chaput said to the communities gathered in the arena. 'When the bishops and the lay faithful look at you, they learn how to be the Church.'

Just three months earlier, on March 6th, 2015, Pope Francis received more than 7,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way in the Vatican and personally sent 250 families in mission to different parts of the world. “Today I confirm your call, I support your mission and I bless your charism,” His Holiness said then. To the initiators he expressed his “appreciation to them and encouragement for how much good they are doing for the Church through the Way. I always say that the Neocatechumenal Way does great good for the Church…it is a true gift of Providence to the Church of our times.”