Kiko Argüello, initiator and responsible of the Neocatechumenal Way, was formally invested with an honorary doctorate in Sacred Theology by the Catholic University of John Paul II in Lublin, Poland yesterday.
According to the University, Argüello was awarded the honorary doctorate “for his valuable contribution to the renewal of the Church, carefully following the indications of the Second Vatican Council, bringing back Christians who have strayed from the ecclesial community to the sources of faith that come from the Bible and from the liturgy, in having initiated, with Mrs. Carmen Hernández, a Post-baptismal institution, an extremely precious work for today’s world, known worldwide as the Neocatechumenal Way. This form of Christian initiation, enhanced by the beauty of the new aesthetic, places today a work of evangelization and re-evangelization, all over the world; it prepares the missio ad gentes; actively intervenes so that Christianity and Judaism can come close to one another, defends the values of life and human dignity, marriage and the Christian family. “
During the event, Argüello said he felt “embarrassed” in the face of so much praise while explaining to those attending: “Like every Christian, I am just waiting for persecution,” because “Christ was hated and persecuted. Today, they are called to humility, accepting all this. ” Also, he said “Carmen Hernandez deserves this degree much more than me” Hernandez, co-founded the Neocatechumenal Way with Argüello in the shanty towns of Madrid.
“Today I receive this in her place, because it is she who has brought, plus much more, all the paschal theology and has brought us closer to the Jewish people.”
After these words, Argüello announced the Kerygma stating that “the greatest thing we can do in this life is to preach the Gospel.”
The investiture was attended by several bishops, including Archbishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Siedle, and Bishop Grzegorz Rys, auxiliary Bishop of Krakow, and an estimated 1,000 people.
Other notable past recipients of the honorary degree are Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (prior to his election to the papacy), Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant’Egidio Community, and Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement.