From John Allen’s column of 12/23/05
A new letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship demands that the Neocatechumenal Way, a program for catechetical formation launched in 1960s Spain by Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, adjust its liturgical practice to the general norms of the church.
The letter, whose contents were reported Thursday, Dec. 22, by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, is seen as a step towards full recognition of the movement by the Vatican.
As anyone who has attended a Neocatechumenate Mass knows, there are several idiosyncratic features. Typically Mass is celebrated Saturday night, not Sunday, and just for the Neocatechumenate community rather than the entire parish. The “Sign of Peace” comes before the presentation of gifts, sometimes parts of the Eucharistic prayers are omitted, often lay people deliver remarks that resemble a homily, and communion is usually administered while seated.
The new Vatican letter demands that at least once a month, members of the Neocatechumenate celebrate Mass on Sunday during the normal parish liturgy; that all the prescribed prayers be followed; that a priest or deacon deliver the homily; and that communion be administered while standing or genuflecting, all in accord with general liturgical norms.
Some minor concessions are offered. Laypeople may still deliver reflections at the Mass (called “resonances”), as long as it’s not confused with the homily. The congregation also gives the Neocatechumenate two years to bring its practice on communion in line with the norms.