Neocatechumenal Way - Singapore

Domus Galilaeae
Source of write-up: Domus Galilaeae

The Neocatechumenal Way
behold the answer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to
this dramatic challenge at the end of the millennium.
You are this providential response”.
John Paul II, Pentecost 1998 
Meeting with the movements
and the new communities

In the midst of paganism, the primitive Church, when someone wanted to become a Christian, invited him to perform an itinerary of formation to Christianity, called “Catechumenate”“Catechumenate” comes from the word catecheo, which means “to make resound” and in the passive voice “to listen”.
Today’s process of secularization has led many people to abandon the faith and the Church, or to live their faith at a very superficial level.  Catechesi Tradendae also affirms that the situation of many Christians in the parishes, is that of "quasi-catechumens”.  Because of this, an itinerary of formation to Christianity must be re-opened.  Today, many dioceses are trying to begin an itinerary of catecheses for adults.
The Neocatechumenal way is a help to the parishes to open a way of Christian initiation to baptism, rediscovering what it means to be Christian.  It is an instrument at the service of the bishops in the parishes to help all those return, who have abandoned the faith. The Neo-Catechumenate is a theological catechetical synthesis, a catechism, a catechumenate for adults, an itinerary of Christian formation for contemporary man. It is proposed to everybody but in particular to people already baptized, but who do not have a sufficient Christian formation

The Pope has recognized the validity of the Neo-Catechumenal Way after 35 years of an experience that began in one of the poorest outskirts the Madrid.  Today it is extended to eight hundred dioceses, six thousand parishes, one hundred and five nations, and seventeen thousand communities.
«It is not difficult to enumerate the fruits of the Neocatechumenal way; families who have reconciled, that are now open to life and are grateful to the church, who offer themselves to go and proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth…especially in the most dechristianized and poor areas.  From these families are now arising a great number of vocations.» [1]

These families, who have been rebuilt, are a fruit of the new nature that is transmitted through baptism, which gives also the ability to love the enemy as a gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Father has been able to verify the fruits of conversion and the missionary impulse, which has come about from having experienced the victory of Jesus Christ risen from death through the preaching.
The Holy Father in his letter «Ogniqualvolta»  (1990) recognizes the Neocatechumenal way as «as an itinerary of catholic formation valid for our society and our times.»  He expresses his desire that bishops may value and support this instrument for the New Evangelization «so that it may be implemented according to the guidelines proposed by its initiators.»

The Holy Father thus offers to the diocese a concrete instrument of evangelization without transforming this itinerary into a religious order, neither into a particular association nor a movement.  Repeatedly in the history of the church the saints have tried to make the spirit of the Gospel re-lived in the people of God, without enclosing it within a religious order.  The times were not mature.  Today, after the second Vatican Council, the contemporary situation of atheism and secularization, places the Church into a position where the reinstatement of the catechumenate is a necessity.

This itinerary offers to the dioceses an instrument to evangelize which can, as the Holy Father said on the April 12,1993:
«answer to the challenge of secularization, the spread of sects, and the lack of vacations.  The reflection on the word of God and the participation in the Eucharist make it possible for a gradual initiation into the sacred mysteries.  The formation of living cells in the Church and the renewal of the vitality of the parishes is possible through mature Christians able to give witness to the truth through a faith radically lived.»

The renewal that has come about in parishes thanks to the Neocatechumenate has provoked a surprising missionary impulse that has allowed many catechists and entire families to be willing to go anywhere there is a necessity to evangelize.
Kiko Argüello in his intervention at the extraordinary synod of bishops in Europe in 1999 said:
«To leave the great city and enter the heavenly Jerusalem: this is the work of the Church.  But how?  Returning to the very apostolic model as the Pope said at the VI Symposium of the Episcopal Conference of Europe.  A new evangelization through the announcement of the kerygma given by itinerant apostles ‘without purse or knapsack’, to open in the dioceses and in parishes the baptismal font through a Christian initiation that may help man to leave Babylon and be citizens of heaven.

We have seen – in more than thirty years of experience and in more than one hundred nations - the urgency that the structure of the Church be renewed: that the parish, in front of ‘the global village’ of McLuhan, may become ‘a heavenly village’ with a new aesthetic: a catechumenium, with modern spaces for worship and for the life of small communities, a more human social model, able to open spaces for a new culture.  With this creative heavenly village as a new concept of parish, we have seen families rebuilt, thousands of vocations, which have allowed bishops to open 17 diocesan ‘Redemptoris Mater’ seminaries in Europe and 40 in the whole world.»

Once the post baptismal itinerary of Christian initiation ends, the community enters into a process of permanent education of faith, as required by the General Directory for Catecheses [2]:
«“that they may all be one; as you Father are in me and I in you, may they also be one in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” [3] this prayer of Jesus in front of the father is a continuous call. To gradually come close to this ideal, requires within the community a greater faithfulness to the action of the Holy Spirit, a constant feeding on the Body and Blood of Christ, and the permanent education in the faith through the listening of the Word. [4]»
Pope John Paul II, speaking to the bishops Of Ontario, about the great city, the multi-ethnic and multi religious city, which drowns contemporary man in secularization and anonymity, has underlined: «We must not allow the anonymity of the great city to invade our Eucharistic assemblies,» inviting them to help contemporary man, especially families, by making the parish a community of small communities.

«‘ Your Way ’ -- John Paul II said [5] --  draws from the spirit of the II Vatican Council to offer an example of evangelization which gives hope at the threshold of the third millennium.»

[1] John Paul II January 17, 1994
[2] Congregation for the clergy Rome 1997.
[3] John 17:21.
[4] Congregation for the clergy, Rome 1997, Number 70.
[5] January 17,1994