Frequently Asked Questions
For all trying to find quick information on the Neocatechumenal Way in Ireland
Frequently asked questions
The official webpage of the Neocatechumenal way can be found here:
Please, make reference to the official webpage for accurate info and the contextual reading of the quoted material.
The current website has been made on a voluntary basis with the aim at making easily accessible for English readers some of the contents taken from the Speeches of the Popes or other documents available in the official webpage.
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.”1.
The definitive aim of the Neocatechumenate is to put people step by step, little by little, “not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ”2, a true Christian initiation to faith, ”an itinerary of Catholic Formation” 3.
Pope Benedict the XVI affirmed: “The Church has recognized in the Way a special gift which the Holy Spirit has given to our times and the approval of the Statues and of the “Catechetical Directory” are a sign of it”.
The neocatechumenal Way is a catechumenate, a way to return to faith for many of those who abandoned it4, a way of conversion through which the richness of the gospel can be rediscovered.
1 St. John Paul II, Letter, Ogniqualvolta, August 30,1990, AAS 82 (1990) 1515
2 CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, General Directory for Catechesis, 80; see RCIA
3 St. John Paul II, letter “Ogniqualvolta”, August 30,1990, AAS 82 (1990) 1515 and Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way, Art 1, § 1.
4 Statutes § 1. Art 3
Those who desire to deepen and mature their faith;
Those who have drifted away from the Church;
Those who have not been sufficiently evangelized and catechized;
Those who come from Christian denominations not in full communion with the Catholic Church;
Clerics and religious who desire to revive the gift of Baptism through the Neocatechumenate1.
1 CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, General Directory for Catechesis, 172.
In the words of St. John Paul the II: “These Communities make visible in the parishes the sign of the missionary church and they strive to open a way for the evangelization of those who have almost abandoned the christian life, offering them an itinerary of a catechumenal type which goes through all those stages that the catechumens went through in the primitive church before receiving the sacrament of Baptism: it brings them back to the Church and to Christ”1.
“I too, as Bishop of Rome, have been able to verify the copious fruits of personal conversion and fruitful missionary impulse in the many meetings I have had in the Roman parishes with the Neocatechumenal Communities and their Parish Priests, as well as in my apostolic journeys in many nations.”2
1 cf. `Postbaptismal Catechumenate’ in NOTITIAE 96-96, 1974, 229
2 St. John Paul II, letter “Ogniqualvolta”, August 30,1990, AAS 82 (1990) 1515
In 1974 Pope Paul VI said that this “way” after baptism would “renew in today’s Christian communities those effects of maturity and deepening that, in the primitive Church, were realized by the period of preparation for baptism”.1
The Pontiff added: “The word catechumenate refers to baptism. It was the period of preparation for baptism. Nowadays, baptism does not have the same development, at least in its didactic preparation. And so our visitors [the Neocatechumens n.d.r.] today say: We will carry out this preparation after baptism. The sanctifying grace received was not sufficient; on the contrary, sanctifying grace has done no more than light a fire which needs to spread itself into the whole of the baptised person’s life. Saint Augustine says this: If we cannot have the catechumenate beforehand, we will carry it out afterwards. That is, the instruction, completion and education, the whole of the Church’s educative work, after Baptism.2
The Second Vatican Council called for the restoration of the Catechumenate in the Church 3.
St. John Paul the II said4: “This is how I see the origins of the Neo-catechumenate, of the way. Someone – I don’t know if it was Kiko or someone else – asked himself: “Where did the strength of the early Church come from, and where does the weakness of today’s Church – a Church with much greater numbers – come from?” I believe he found the answer in this Way…. It is authentic and is consistent with the very nature of the parish, because just as each one of us Christians grows from baptism, so does the Christian community grow naturally from baptism. … The parish can grow authentically in the experience and on the basis of the Neocatechumenal experience; it would be like the renewal of the early community that grew out of the catechumenal experience.”
1 New Catholic Encyclopedia: “The Neocatechumenal Way”.
2 Vatican City (general audience) 12/01/1977
3 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, nos. 64ff
4 Pope St. John the II, in the visitation to the Parish of St. Maria Goretti in Rome. 31st January 1988
The Neocatechumenal Christian initiation to faith consists of the initial catecheses and the neocatechumenal itinerary. The neocatechuenal itinerary is inspired by the three phases of Christian initiation: pre- catechumenate, catechumenate and election, divided into steps, marked by passages sealed by some celebrations.
The Neocatechumenal Way has been recognised by the last Pontiffs as a providential charisma, a gift of the Holy Spirit for our times and supported in many ways by Pope Paul the VIth1, St. John Paul the Iind 2, Pope Benedict the XVIth 3 and Pope Francis4.
On the 11.5.2008 the Pontifical Council for the laity approved the public Statutes of the neo-catechumenal Way5.
1 Vatican City (general audience) 12/01/1977
2 St. John Paul II, Letter, Ogniqualvolta, August 30,1990, AAS 82 (1990) 1515
3 Address of his holiness Benedict XVI To Members Of The Neocatechumenal Way – Paul VI hall, Friday, 20 January 2012.
4 Address Of His Holiness Pope Francis To Members Of The Neocatechumenal Way – Paul VI Audience Hall Friday, 6 March 2015
Yes, they are.
With Decree 1436/10/AIC110, emitted on the 8.01.2012, after having examined all the catechesis and scrutinies given throughout the Neocatechumenal Itinerary, the Holy See formally approved the Catechetical Directory of the neocatechumenal Way1.
Kiko Arguello (the initiator of the N. Way) has been rewarded with many recognitions and lastly with three Doctorates in Theology honoris Causa: by the Pontifical Institute John Paul the II c/o the University of Lateran in Rome, by the Catholic University of Lublin/Poland and by the Catholic University of America in Washington.
Yes, they are.
With Decree 1743/11/AIC1101 after having examined all the liturgies given throughout the stages of the neocatechumenal Way, the Holy See approved all those liturgies which were not already present in the liturgical books of the Church.
No it is not.
The Neocatechumenal Way, endowed with public juridical personality, is composed of an ensemble of spiritual goods: the Neocatechumenate, the ongoing education in Faith, a catechumenate for people not baptised, a service of catechesis 1 .
The Neocatechumenal Way is a “program of formation, not an association”2.
The neocatechumenal Way is “one of the forms of diocesan implementation of Christian initiation and of ongoing education in faith”3.
“The statutes constitute a kind of catechetical directory which describes a program or, if you wish, a way of integral Christian formation of a liturgical-catechetical nature”..” This formation is conducted in the dioceses under the direction of the diocesan bishop, and, obviously, also with the guidance of the international leadership team of the Way, which the Holy See has indicated as the guarantors before the Church of the identity of this formation. 4
1 PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE LAITY, Decree, October 28, 2004 (Prot. N. 1761/04 AIC-110)
2 Bishop Ignacio Arrieta, Secretary of Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, 30.06.2008, rassegna stampa.
3 Statutes, Art 1§2
4 Bishop Ignacio Arrieta, Secretary of Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, 30.06.2008, rassegna stampa
“The Catholic Church recognizes three different kinds of “person”: Physical persons, Moral persons and juridic persons:..the latter are creations of the law; although juridic persons are represented by individuals [..] they have perpetual existence. Religious congregations and dioceses, among other entities, are juridic persons by virtue of the canon law itself… Other juridic persons are established by a decree of the Holy See and governed by statutes that are approved”.
“Public juridic persons operate in the name of the church; their temporal goods are ecclesiastical goods; they represent the church in the same sense that a diocese or religious congregation does”.1
1 Fr. Francis G. Morrisey, OMI, Ph.D., JCD “Toward Juridic Personality”, Chausa.org, July-August 200
The Neocatechumenate is implemented in communion with the parish priest and under his pastoral responsibility by a team of catechists delegated in the respective areas under the jurisdiction, direction of the diocesan bishop (as per Statutes – artt. 2 and 3§7)1.
1 CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, General Directory for Catechesis, 156, 230–232; JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation, Catechesi Tradendae, 55; Encyclical, Redemptoris Missio, 71; c. 211 CIC; c. 14 CCEO.
“Precisely to encourage people who have drifted away from the Church or have not received an appropriate formation to draw close to the riches of sacrament life, the Neocatechumens may celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in the small community, after the first Vespers of Sunday, according to the dispositions of the diocesan bishop (cf. Statute, art. 13 § 2)”1.
Before him, John Paul the 2nd commented :” The Eucharist is essential to the Neocatechumenate, since this is a post-baptismal catechumenate lived in small communities. In fact, the Eucharist completes Christian initiation”2.
The neocatechumens celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in the small community after the first Vespers of Sunday. This celebration takes place according to the dispositions of the diocesan bishop. The celebrations of the Eucharist of the neocatechumenal communities on Saturday evening are part of the Sunday liturgical pastoral work of the parish and are open also to other faithful3.
Pope Benedict said: “Every Eucharistic celebration is an action of the one Christ together with his one Church and is therefore essentially open to all who belong to his Church. This public character of the Blessed Eucharist is expressed in the fact that every celebration of Holy Mass is ultimately directed by the bishop as a member of the Episcopal College, responsible for a specific local Church4. It is the task of the celebration in the small communities — regulated by the liturgical books that must be faithfully followed, with the details approved in the Statue of the Way — to help all who follow the Neocatechumenal itinerary to perceive the grace of being inserted in the saving mystery of Christ which makes possible a Christian witness that can assume radical features. At the same time, the gradual growth in faith of the individual and of the small community should foster their insertion in the life of the large ecclesial community, whose usual place is in the liturgical celebration of the parish, in which and for which it is implemented (cf. Statute, art. 6)”5
1 Address of his holiness Benedict XVI To Members Of The Neocatechumenal Way – Paul VI hall, Friday, 20 January 2012.
2 Statutes art 13 § 1
3 Statutes, Art 13 §2
4 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, n. 26
5 Address of his holiness Benedict XVI To Members Of The Neocatechumenal Way – Paul VI hall, Friday, 20 January 2012.
For the celebration of the Eucharist, the small communities follow the approved liturgical books of the Roman Rite, with the exception of the explicit concessions from the Holy See. Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under the two species, the neocatechumens receive it standing, remaining at their place.1
1 Benedict XVI, Speech to the Neocatechumenal Communities on January 12, 2006, in Notitiae 41 (2005), 554–556; CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Letter of December 1, 2005 in Notitiae 41 (2005), 563–565; “Notification of the Congregation for Divine Worship on celebrations in groups of the Neocatechumenal Way,” L’Osservatore Romano, December 24, 1988: “The Congregation consents that among the adaptations foreseen by the instruction “Actio Pastoralis”, nn. 6-11, the groups of the above-mentioned “Way” may receive communion under two species, always with unleavened bread, and transfer “ad experimentum” the Rite of Peace to after the Prayer of the Faithful.”
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Yes it is.
The Neocatechumenal Way is an itinerary of Catholic formation within the dioceses and all the services are given on a voluntary basis.
In the neocatechumenal communities, anonimous and free collections can be made to answer specific needs arising time.
In this case it is the task of the responsible team of the community and of the responsible teams of the Way at every level, to ensure that such anonimous collections are administered with a great sense of responsibility and respect for the law.