VATICAN CITY, 13 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, today published a decree containing the definitive approval of the statutes of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.
During a celebration held in the offices of the council, the cardinal handed the decree of approval and a final draft of the statutes to Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, initiators of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and to the Italian priest Fr. Mario Pezzi.
"Thus ends the process that began in 1997" reads a communique on the subject released by the Neo-Catechumenal Way. A process that began "at the behest of John Paul II to give the Way 'formal legal recognition' and to make it a 'universal patrimony of the Church'".
In the communique the founders of the Neo-Catechumenal Way explain how "our recognition and gratitude go out to Pope Benedict XVI who with great love has followed and approved the conclusion of this work".
The communique goes on: "The process of approval was prolonged because the Neo-Catechumenal Way, as an instrument for the Christian initiation of adults, produces fruits of various kinds: from the renewal of parishes, to the figure of itinerant catechists and of missionary families; from the formation of priests for the new evangelisation in more than 70 'Redemptoris Mater' seminaries around the world, to the new experience of the 'missio ad gentes' in Europe, Asia and America. All this involves the areas of responsibility of five separate Vatican dicasteries: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, and the Congregation for Catholic Education, all of which gave careful examination to the statutes, alongside the Pontifical Council for the Laity which co-ordinated and concluded the process".
At the end of the communique Kiko Arguello, Carmen Hernandez and Fr. Mario Pezzi write: "Following the approval of the statutes, and faced with the great challenges the Church must confront, we are happy to be able to offer ourselves to the Holy Father and the bishops for the new evangelisation and the transmission of the faith to the new generations".
Since its beginnings the Neo-Catechumenal Way has enjoyed the support of all Popes from Paul VI to Benedict XVI. In the year 1990, John Paul II recognised the Way as "an itinerary of Catholic formation, valid for modern society and times", and expressed the hope that bishops and priests "appreciate and assist this work for the new evangelisation, so that it may achieve its ends, following the guidelines suggested by the founders, in a spirit of service towards the local ordinary and in communion with him, and in a context of unity with the particular Church and with the Universal Church".
The Neo-Catechumenal Way, which began in Spain in 1964 has now spread to more than 100 countries world-wide, including some mission territories. In the wake of the renewal brought about by Vatican Council II, the Way places itself at the service of diocesan bishops and parish priests as a means of rediscovering the sacrament of Baptism and of a permanent education in the faith, offered to those faithful who wish to revive in their life the richness of Christian initiation, by following this itinerary of catechesis and conversion. The Neo-Catechumenal Way is furthermore an instrument for the Christian initiation of adults preparing to receive Baptism".