By Salvatore Cernuzio
VATICAN CITY, Oct. 12, 2012 (ZENIT.org) – With “great joy” yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI has given way to a historic moment for the Church of our time: the Year of Faith. Thousands of faithful filled St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the occasion with the Holy Father. Present at the Opening Mass were some of the Council Fathers and the various participants in the Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelization, which is still in progress.
Among the auditors invited by the Holy See was Kiko Argüello, founder of one of the numerous ecclesial realities of the Church, the Neocatechumenal Way. Founded over 40 years ago, the itinerary of Christian formation’s charism has been to develop a mature faith in the midst of the “spiritual desertification” that, according to the Holy Father, has characterized the last decades of humanity.
At the end of Mass, Mr. Argüello spoke briefly with ZENIT on the Synod and the Year of Faith
ZENIT: Kiko, in the first congregation of the Synod Assembly, great attention was devoted to the movements and ecclesial realities, referred to as “a grace of the Holy Spirit that gives new energy to the Church”. Cardinal Wuerl cited in particular Communion and Liberation, Opus Dei and the Neocatechumenal Way. What effect did these words have on you?
Kiko Argüello: It was beautiful! We emerged from the Second Vatican Council to help the Church and I’m glad that this was recognized. We wanted to introduce into the Church a journey of faith, because only an adult faith can respond to the current situation of secularization that can be found in many parts of the world. Even yesterday, during the individual group work of the Synod, during the course of the fifth Congregation, one of the speakers, Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Valladolid, spoke of the Neocatechumenal Way, and said he was convinced that it is one of the answers, after the Council, to the problems of the Church.
This does not mean that we want to replace the Church, or that we are the only valid ecclesial or religious expression. In fact, we are just humble servants who are at the service of the Church, to help people to discover the beauty of being a Christian. Because this is a great thing: to be children of God, united, that love one another. It is really fantastic!
ZENIT: Can it be said then that, in a sense, the Neocatechumenal Way has realized the promises of Vatican II?Kiko Argüello: Yes, it is doing that, despite us and our sins. Lay people who evangelize, mission families, thousands of vocations. This year we opened ten new seminaries, including one in India and one in Rio de Janeiro. We really surprised ourselves of the fruits that we continue to see, because it is absolutely not our work in any way.
When I ask families to go on a mission in the world, is certainly not by any power of mine that 3,000 go. Or, as it happened last summer in Madrid that I asked for priests for China and nearly 5,000 young men gave their willingness […] It’s a beautiful thing. We are spectators of the works of the Holy Spirit.
ZENIT: We recently heard that you will be releasing an editorial publication soon. Is this true?
Kiko Argüello: Yes. It is a small volume that will come out maybe at the closing of the Synod, where we try to put in writing the Kerygma that was proclaimed at meetings in Naples, Budapest, Milan and Trieste this year. It is the kerygma of the three angels, which, in my opinion, is a very important catechesis for anthropology today, which has lost its profound content. It can be said that it is a book for the New Evangelization, and we believe it is important to pass this announcement that restores a sense to the question: “Why evangelize?”
ZENIT: The Holy Father opened not too long ago a time of grace for the Church today: the Year of Faith. What are your hopes for this year?
Kiko Argüello: I hope we can rediscover the beauty of Faith; that Faith which gives us the nature of God, and heals the human being who was deeply wounded by original sin. Man becomes a slave of “not being” after separating from God, the consequences are obvious as we see from: the amount of women who are murdered each year, the suicides that continue to happen everywhere, and so on. When a man discovers that he “is not” he decides to kill himself. The Church, therefore, in this year must rediscover the word of salvation to all mankind: that Christ came to give them life, to give “the being of the Holy Spirit.”[Translation by Pietro Gennarini]