Pope Francis will meet in audience with an estimated 10,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way tomorrow at the Vatican.
This will be the first meeting with the ‘itinerary of Christian initiation for adults’ since his election as Supreme Pontiff. The Pope met in September with Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernández and Fr. Mario Pezzi, leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way.
Following the example of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Holy Father will send new missionary families to evangelize all over the world, particularly in Asia. On this occasion, he will send 414 families in mission, from which several will be part of 40 new missio ad gentes in the world. An estimated 100 families who are already in mission in various parts of the world are expected to attend.
The missio ad gentes refers to the evangelization in areas where the Church has little or no presence. The majority of the families that will be sent by Pope Francis are from Europe, particularly families from Spain and Italy. Each missio is comprised of four families, one priest, a lay person or seminarian, an elderly woman and three lay women who collaborate in the mission.
According to communique sent by the Neocatechumenal Way, the missio ad gentes follows an “apostolic model of the primitive Church” among those far away from the Church or non-baptized.
“Together, they create a Christian community that shows, among the pagans, the signs of faith: love and perfect unity.”
In an interview with ZENIT in December, Argüello expressed his hope to present the work that God is doing with the Way. “It is a work of God, not mine, nor of anyone else,” he said.
“Our charism can never be separated from the Successor of Peter; it would not survive.” (J.A.E.)