VATICAN CITY, JAN. 17, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that the Neocatechumenal Way has been confirmed by the Lord through ecclesiastical approval, and entrusted to its members to offer an "original contribution" to the New Evangelization.
The Pope said this today in an audience with members of the Way who packed Paul VI Hall. Prior to the Holy Father's address, the group enthusiastically received the news that the "Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way" has been approved by the Vatican.
Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández, initiators of the community, were at the audience.
The Pontiff lauded the Way for contributing to "revive and consolidate Christian initiation in the dioceses and parishes, fostering a gradual and radical rediscovery of the riches of baptism."
He expressed his satisfaction that the statutes had been written down and submitted for approval, which came in 2008. Now, the Catechetical Directory has also received Vatican approval, Benedict XVI noted.
"With these ecclesiastical seals, the Lord confirms today and entrusts to you again this precious instrument that is the Way, so that you can, in filial obedience to the Holy See and to the pastors of the Church, contribute, with new impetus and ardor, to the radical and joyful rediscovery of the gift of baptism and to offer your original contribution to the cause of the New Evangelization," he said. "The Church has recognized in the Neocatechumenal Way a particular gift aroused by the Holy Spirit: as such, it tends naturally to insert itself in the great harmony of the ecclesial body."
The Way has on occasion found obstacles in working with dioceses or parishes. Most recently, the episcopal conference of Japan moved to suspend the group for a period of five years, but the Vatican intervened on behalf of the Way.
Today, in fact, the Holy Father exhorted the members to "seek always a profound communion with the pastors and with all the components of the particular Churches and the very different ecclesial contexts in which you are called to operate."
"The fraternal communion between the disciples of Jesus is, in fact, the first and greatest testimony to the name of Jesus Christ," he said.
Benedict XVI said he was "particularly happy" to send out more than 200 Neocatechumenal families who are joining some 600 others in mission work on the five continents.
He also had a special greeting for the priests and seminarians of the group. "Beloved," he told them, "you are a special and eloquent sign of the fruits of goodness that can be born from the rediscovery of the grace of baptism itself. We look to you with particular hope: Be priests enamored of Christ and his Church, capable of transmitting to the world the joy of having encountered the Lord and of being able to be at his service."
The Pope greeted other groups who form part of the Neocatechumenal community, lauding them for leaving their home communities "to go to more distant and uncomfortable places, accepting being sent to help parishes in difficulty and to seek the lost sheep and bring them back to the sheepfold of Christ."
"In the sufferings and aridity that you might experience," he said, "feel united to the sufferings of Christ on the cross, and to his desire to gather so many brothers far from the faith and from truth, to bring them back to the house of the Father."
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On ZENIT's Web page:Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31482?l=english