Rome, Italy, Feb 6, 2018 / 12:00 am (CNA).- During an international retreat of the Neocatechumenal Way held in Porto San Giorgio, Italy, Kiko Argüello announced Feb. 2 that Maria Ascensión Romero will be a new international member of the movement, replacing Carmen Hernandez, who died July 19, 2016. Argüello and Hernandez were the ecclesial movement's co-founders.
Romero joins Fr.Mario Pezzi and Argüello to make up the international team, which according to the the movement’s statutes is to be comprised of three members. Romero was an itinerant missionary for years in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The Neocatechumenal Way was founded in 1964 in Spain. It draws its inspiration from the practices of the early Catholic Church, providing “post-baptismal” Christian formation in some 40,000 small, parish-based communities. The movement is present all over the world, and says it has an estimated membership of more than 1 million people.
Since the Neocatechumenal Way was founded, the group has sometimes been cautioned by the Vatican for inserting various novel practices into the Masses it organizes. These include practices such as lay preaching, standing during the Eucharistic Prayer, the reception of Holy Communion while sitting, and the passing of the Most Precious Blood from person to person.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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I have been a member of the neocatechumenal way for more than 20 years. Through it, I came back to the Church. There are certainly aspects that be improved, and if there are corrections to be made they should be made. What I just don’t understand is why criticisms that simply aren’t true keep being repeated over and over again. I understand it even less when this is done by media which are committed to the church. To be concrete: I have celebrated the Eucharist in many different neocatechumenal communities in different countries and I have never ever seen the Blood of Christ being passed from hand to hand. There also is no lay preaching in mass. There are short introductions to the readings and short personal “echoes” to the Word of God before the priest’s homily. It is true that in many communities Holy Communion is received while sitting, but there are dioceses where the Bishop has said that Communion is to be received standing, and this has been done so.
Neocat, perhaps that is your experience and I do not doubt your word. The NC Way made its way to my parish a couple of years ago. They wanted private Masses, separate from the parish Masses, celebrated on Saturdays, at which only their members were welcome. They concocted their own Eucharistic bread. And they did indeed sit through Holy Communion, and had lay people preaching (a parishioner friend attended and was shocked). They did not use our consecrated church and altar, but insisted on a table and folding chairs in a former servers’ sacristy. Our good pastor permits them to meet, but no longer permits them to celebrate Mass on their own, in this manner. When the parish had an evening of Reconciliation, the NC Way people mingled among our parishioners and urged us to all sit together and participate in their service. I told the young man who approached me, who was apparently a seminarian in an NC Way seminary, that I need to concentrate on my own prayer before Confession, and that I wanted to be alone with God (I personally have to get my nerve up for Confession – it does not come easily to me). I told him it is not a social opportunity – it is a holy Sacrament. He apologized and left me alone, but he continued to push other parishioners to sit together and to participate in the NC Way service. I found this very distracting and disrespectful of our parishioners and of the Sacrament of Confession. I am afraid the NC Way is not for me, and with apologies and respect to you, I do not have a good impression of them.