Kiko Argüello Releases Autobiography

Founder of Neocatechumenal Way Recounts His Encounter with Christ in the Midst of Existential Crisis

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ROME, NOV. 26, 2012 ( “I tried to live as if God didn’t exist. At that moment, I shut out Heaven. Formed above me was a heaven of cement and life became very difficult.” This is how Kiko Argüello, initiator of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, talks about the existential crisis that led to his encounter with Christ and hence, to a turnabout in his life, in his first autobiography El Kerigma: En las Chabolas Con Los Pobres (The Kerygma: In the Slums with the Poor).

“I was dead inside and was literally amazed by the fact that people were able to live when I was absolutely unable to do so,” writes Argüello in the book published by ‘Buenas Letras’, and will be released in Spain on Tuesday, November 27.

“People were enthusiastic about soccer, the cinema,” continues Argüello. “For me, those things no longer had any meaning. I wondered: ‘But how do people live? How are they able to live?’ I looked at ordinary people and I thought: ‘but they don’t ask themselves: Who am I? Who created me? What is life? Why don’t people pose these problems to themselves? Perhaps I’m a bit mad, a narcissist, strange?'”

All this, he continues “also arose because I felt as if had on me a wet blanket that made me constantly seek truth: “Who we are and what do we do in the world?” For me it made no difference whether God existed or did not exist, but was a matter of life or death. “

“Hence, in a tragic moment of my life,” continues Argüello, “I went to my room, closed the door and cried out to God: ‘If you exist, come to help me, because death is before me!'”

Argüello wished to publish his personal account of how he found Christ in the midst of a strong existential crisis and from there, the change he experienced in his life which resulted in the beginning of the Neocatechumenal Way. The book also contains a Kerygma that, the author says, “can help overall, due to its content and anthropology, the Synod on the New Evangelization recently held in the Vatican.

An Instrument of the New Evangelization

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, stated in the book’s prologue that “the Neocatechumenal Way is a gift that the Holy Spirit has given to the Church following the Council, as a way or itinerary of Christian initiation or re-initiation, and as an instrument to promote a new and vigorous evangelization.”

“We thank God for the great wonders He does in favor of the Church and of humanity through this Way, for the great blessings and for the fruits that through this Way are poured out on his people: fruits of conversion, of Christian life, of vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life, of missionary activity of the Church, as well as fruits of charity, of life in keeping with the Beatitudes, of generosity, and of renewed families open to life.”

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, contributed to the book as well with a commentary on Argüello’s catechesis entitled “Three Angels.” The Austrian cardinal wrote that “this Way, so many times confirmed and encouraged by Popes Paul VI, Blessed John Paul II and our Holy Father Benedict XVI through the proclamation of the Good News, of the Kerygma, has opened the door of Faith to many people.”

“Kiko’s catechesis published here” – continues Cardinal Schönborn– is a strong ‘instruction’ for disciples. It is an invitation to personal conversion. This catechesis impresses me because it shows clearly, to me personally, that without a personal conversion it is impossible to evangelize. He who evangelizes must first be evangelized.”

One of the key points of Argüello’s book is that “it is necessary, in a parish, to move from a pastoral work of sacramentalization to evangelization.”

“If the parish has, for example, a territory with about 15,000 people, of whom only a tenth, or about 5% go to Mass on Sunday, there is still a group of persons who marry in Church, baptize their children, and so on. At the same time, there is another enormous quantity of people who don’t go to Church at all,” he writes.  

“Therefore, the question is: How did so many people ever become secularized?'”

Argüello gives several answers, “or brush strokes” as he himself describes them. One of these is: “In the Acts of the Apostles it says how: through miracles. In the Acts, every Kerygma is, in fact, preceded by a miracle that creates wonder, surprise, opens people’s ears to make them ready to listen. Faith in fact comes from listening. (…) These miracles prepare people to hear the proclamation of the Good News, the great news that saves the world.”

“There is no greater thing in the world to proclaim the Gospel,” stresses Argüello. “God wanted to save the world through the foolishness of the Kerygma. It is not a sermon or a meditation. It is the announcement of a news that takes place every time it is proclaimed. And what does it bring? Salvation.”

“The word Gospel means good news,” he explains. “The Gospel and Kerygma are the same. Proclaiming the Gospel means to proclaim the Kerygma. It is important to listen to the Kerygma.”

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[Translation by ZENIT]
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