The Neocatechumenal Way is unique in its mission of evangelization.
Two lay people, Francisco “Kiko” Argüello and Carmen Hernández, initiated a unique spiritual pathway within the Church during the 1960s. They began their work in Madrid, Spain, but soon their idea started to spread throughout the world. They recognized a great need to introduce people to the message of the Gospel, and founded a profound spiritual tool to fulfill that need.
They named it the Neocatechumal Way, and it is inspired by the catechumenate of the early Church, a period of spiritual formation for those who are about to receive the sacrament of Baptism. It is technically not a “movement” or “association” of the Church, but is an organization with a particular charism that assists in the mission of the Church to evangelize.
“The Way,” as it is commonly known, is focused on personal conversion, reaching out to those who have left the Church or are on the fringes of the parish community, as well as those who have no faith at all.
Catechists and whole families who join the group are sent on mission to places where the presence of God needs to be reawakened. They do this “mission work” within the context of the parish, with the approval and guidance of priests and bishops.
St. John Paul II recognized the fruit of their work and offered this summary of their mission.
These communities make the sign of the missionary Church visible in the parishes and “work to open a path for evangelization for those who have all but abandoned Christian life, offering them a catechumenal itinerary that passes through all the stages which catechumens in the early Church went through before receiving the sacrament of Baptism; it reconciles them to the Church and to Christ” … They are proclaimers of the Gospel, witnessing in small communities, and the celebration of the Eucharist in groups … which permit the members to place themselves at the service of the renewal of the Church.
Pope Francis has also welcomed this powerful organization, recalling the three pillars of their spirituality in a letter addressed to them.
The Way stands on those three dimensions of the Church, which are the Word, the Liturgy and the Community. Thus, obedient and constant listening to the Word of God; Eucharistic celebration in small communities after First Sunday Vespers, the celebration of lauds at home on Sunday with all the children and the sharing of their faith with other brothers and sisters are the source of the many gifts that the Lord has bestowed upon you, as well as the many vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life. Seeing all of this is a consolation, because it confirms that the Spirit of God is living and working in his Church, even today, and that He responds to the needs of modern man.
Above all, The Way is a missionary approach to evangelization that values the human community and personal relationships as an essential pathway to conversion. Formed by the Gospel and fed by the Eucharist, they are ready and willing to go wherever the Church needs them to find and seek out the lost, bringing them into the fold of the Catholic Church.