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The Pope sends dozens of Neocatechumenal Way families as missionaries

2015-03-06

Some 8,200 members of the Neocatechumenal Way met with Pope Francis in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. Among them were 250 families celebrating a particulary special event.

KIKO ARGÜELLO
Initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way 
"The Holy Father Pope Francis will send off those Neocatechumenal Way members who have been called by bishops to undertake the 'missio ad gentes.' They are families who after years of Christian initiation in their communities, in their parishes, offered to build the Church among non-believers."

Among the 250 families were more than 600 children. They are now leaving their home, jobs, and schools to move to places where there are no Christians. Interestingly, this group was decided by fate.

KIKO ARGÜELLO
Initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way 
"We did a lottery. For example, we said, "the missio ad gentes to Iceland, Reykjavík.” And then we drew papers from a basket in which were the names of families willing to go anywhere. I said to that family, 'Are you ready?' And everybody said: 'Yes!'"

The Pope thanked them and reminded them about what their mission will be in faraway countries.

POPE FRANCIS
"You go with a mandate to evangelize non-Christians who have never heard of Jesus, and many non-Christians who have forgotten who Jesus was or who Jesus is. They are non-baptized Christians. Secularization, worldliness and many other things have queited their faith. Awake their faith!"

He thanked the Neocatechumenal Way for the good that does for the Church. For example, it is the Catholic institution with the most seminaries. More than 2,000 priests are currently studying at 103 of their seminiaries across the globe.

POPE FRANCIS
"The Eucharistic celebration in small communities on Sunday, holding family Lauds on Sunday, with all the children, and sharing your faith with other brothers, are at the root of the many gifts the Lord has given to you and the numerous vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life."

The most exciting moment was the blessing of crucifixes. 31 priests will bear them during their new missions. First, the Pope blessed them and delivered their crosses. Then he embraced them one by one.

Before finishing, Pope Francis personally thanked several families who were about to depart.

According to its latest figures, there are about 1,100 Neocatechumenal families in mission across the world.

Pope John Paul II sent the first group in 1985.  Benedict XVI did the same. And now Pope Francis has already sent two batches.

The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement but an itinerary of catechesis initiated by Spaniards Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández in the 1960s. It came about in the suburbs of Madrid. It consists of one million people divided into 21,000 communities in 124 countries.


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