Neocatechumenal Way

First of all, Hi everyone, I’m Peter, 19 and am new on here!

So I’ve checked up what posts on here are about the Neocatechumenal Way and just thought that I would open a thread about it considering I am a part of it!
I’m based in London, and my particular parish has 4 communites that are part of the neocatechumenal way. I’ve been walking with my community for 6 years and was brought up in it by my parents how ever only really started fully entering in and groweing out of rebellion in the past year.

I understand some people are a little confused as to what it is so I’ll be open to answering questions which I feel I can and just generally discussing what some of you think about it!


Welcome to CAF, Peter! :wave:

I am glad to hear you’ve had such a positive experience with that apostolate.

Dear Peter :smiley:

Welcome to CAF!

I am so thrilled to have you with us since I have actually been looking into the Neocatechumenal Way of recent and have been considering getting involved with them if they had a significant presence in the UK. To now hear from you is just brilliant because you are British!

Well I have a whole stack of questions but I’ll start with these two:

  1. What is the current status of the Neocatechumenal organisation of the mass vis-a-vis Vatican guidelines? I heard (or rather ‘read’) that there have been past disputes.

  2. Is it true that you sometimes have an agape feast after the celebration of mass in imitation of the Early Church?

I am 20 years old by the way and so am also happy to find people of my own age group such as yourself involved with the apostolate.


Welcome to CAF!

I am a member of the Neocatechumenal Way as well. I signed up to CAF when I did exactly to clarify some misunderstandings that people posting here had. Since this is WWW, everyone can read, so is a bit like publishing stuff and I desired to balance the unbalanced or biased views of certain publishers. Since then I was informed that I couldn’t be a member of CAF if my posts dealt with NCW only, so I discussed some other stuff as well. I love Sacred Scripture and Sacred Liturgy and I like to engage in discussions.
I hope you don’t mind, but I will give my personal answers to Vouthon’s questions, even though he directed them to you:

  1. I have witnessed or encountered, at times engaged in, disputes in regard to the interpretation of what the Vatican meant by the guidelines, and in regard to what the actual practices of the NCW were, as a result of some false information in articles written by persons who weren’t in possession of reliable sources. Any of Sandro Magister’s articles about the NCW which he publishes in the in the l’espresso (online version of LaReppublica) could be a good example of an article containing half and fully incorrect information. Many people (unfortunately) take it for granted that what is written there is true (e.g. an anonymous Vatican official interviewed by CNA). So people are confused. One of Magister’s articles is titled “That liturgy which the Pope doesn’t like”. Of course, he didn’t ask the Pope, nor does he have any reliable source to show. The Pope always spoke very positively and never expressed any dislike.
    There are some other disputes which occurred in regard to the Pope’s directives about the NCW to a prelate of a specific region, which he then (without braking any law) decided not to follow. You may call that a dispute.
    Otherwise, Vatican guidelines have been received with joy by initiators and members of the NCW (we have always found the guidelines very helpful and a sign of the Church’s love for us).
  1. It is customary in the NCW (whether correctly or incorrectly, I don’t know) to call receptions/dinners enjoyed together by Neocatechumenal community or communities agape. They are, however, not imitations of the agape meal that early Christians used to have during or after the celebration of the Mysteries. They rarely occur after the celebration of Mass. More frequently after the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which is celebrated communally with individual confession and absolution. When we do that, we don’t leave the church after confession but wait until confessions are over, the priest sings a prayer of thanksgiving, and after the final blessing we usually go to a suitable hall to eat together. On occasion (e.g. when a new community has been formed or at one of the rites of renewal of a certain stage of the catechumenate) we also eat together after Mass. But they are two separate events: Mass then dinner. It has nothing to do with imitating early Christians, but we call it agape (again whether right or wrong I don’t know).
    In many of the catecheses of the NCW the Greek word agape is explained, so I don’t think there should be a serious concern regarding the misuse of the word.

I’m not a member of this movement, but I am a member of others, and would like to make this comment:
Most groups which are vibrant will attract strong criticism and condemnation from arch conservatives who don’t like or understand what that group is about.

Many groups led by lay people will at times, from sincere mistake, bend or step beyond the boundaries of what other people in the church consider to be “normal” or “orthodox”. Tne Neocats have been accused of this. They have been accused of being “Cultish” and of a range of liturgical abuses. so have other many movements focused on the renewal and reform of their members - from the most Charismatic to the most Traditional.

In their defense: They have been given the gift of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which has been an authoritative text which has helped the Neocats and many other organisations to refine their catechises programs to be better attuned to the teaching of the Church. The NeoCats have done this.
They are an officially recognised Lay Ecclesial Organisation, with full Vatican approval. That’s good enough for me.

His Holiness the Pope, and his predecessor have both been very supportive of this movement.

Except where a local bishop has decreed otherwise this group and others like it should be treated with the respect they deserve due to their recognised status.

God Bless the Neocats. God Bless their mission. and god bless you members who will stand up and be apologists for them.

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Just exactly what is the Neocatechumenal Way? What is its mission or purpose? What does it do to fulfill that purpose? Just looking for basic information about a group I have never heard of until I read this thread. Thanks in advance.

Too true. The internet tends to exacerbate things because people go looking for stories that confirm them in their suspicions.

I am not really familiar with the movement at all, but if the Church supports them, then I see no reason not to.

Their member will give a better answer than I can. but they are a movement of Lay people who are responding to the poor standard of catechesis which is so widespread in our society who have come together to teach a program of adult catechesis for existing Catholics, and to learn and grow together in the Faith and to worship together. They are a Parish based movement, and operate under the supervision of a parish priest.

Their members will be able to correct me where necessary, and fill in the blanks I have left.

I will try to formulate it with my own words (not that I invented those words, but as it comes to my mind). It makes more sense, since the “official” answers to those questions can be found in the Statute. So here you have another take on it:

  1. What it is: An itinerary of Christian formation (I can’t put it better than Bl John Paul II did)
  2. Purpose: to form Christians out of those who are not Christians or do not live their Christianity sufficiently: people who “went through the motions” of Christian Initiation but haven’t lived it, those who just haven’t lived it enough and need more, or non-baptized persons who wish to be initiated through this charism.
  3. What it does to fulfill its purpose: Invites people (in and from outside of the parish) who wish to benefit from this itinerary to (re)live the stages of Christian Initiation in small communities in the parish. The small communities “walk” this itinerary by listening to catechesis, celebrating liturgies (including Holy Mass, the Sacrament of Penance, the Liturgy of the Hours, celebrations of the Word of God, common reading/study of Church teaching, etc) based on the Word, the Liturgy, and the Community, i.e. there is a synthesis of the catechetical and liturgical aspects of Christian Initiation which inserts one in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, Mater et Magister (mother and teacher) and at the same time a communion of brethren who love each other (or are learning to do so, inasmuch as this is an initiation, not a club of perfected Christians – Worldwide, most members come from a background of having been “lapsed”, no longer practicing Catholics, although there is a number who were practicing and find this helpful to strengthen and deepen their faith. There is also a growing number of non baptized joining.).
    Hope you find this helpful.

That was very helpful. It’s difficult to see how anyone could be against this.

Hi, nice to meet you, and thanks! :thumbsup:

Lovely to meet you and great to hear that you’re thinking to join! It is such a help to me and although it isn’t for everyone, I do think many people can benefit greatly from it!

Nice to meet you nagyszakall! Great to meet a fellow Neocat on here and yes I didn’t join solely for neocatechumenal talk at all as a lot about the catholic faith intrigues me!

Thanks for all replies, great to meet you all! :slight_smile:

I am also in the NCW and to tie what some others have said together, it can simply be described as a way for the baptized to “rediscover” the meaning of their own baptism as well as to call the non-baptized to Christ. Many of the Church’s baptized do not live as Christians and this is an opportunity for them to mature in the faith through a time of catechumenate.

Or as JP II put it that the NCW is an itinerary of Christian formation valid for our times.

And Paul VI noted that what the NCW was doing was providing a way for catechetical formation either before or after being baptized. In fact, and I paraphrase here, Paul VI said it didn’t matter if the catechumenate was done before or after baptism, just as long as it’s done. And he’s right. After all, we baptize infants with the belief that they will then be properly catechized in the faith. Unfortunately, many are baptized and grow into adulthood without ever being properly catechized, hence their faith is somewhat if not totally immature. The NCW provides a way to remedy that situation.

Lastly, I would say that the NCW is evangelistic at its core. It reaches out to those who hear the Good News and would like to become Christian in the fullest sense of what it means to be baptized, i.e. actually living a life of faith through loving the other even to death, even the enemies, as Christ did, by providing the signs of love and unity by which Christ said we would be able to identify his disciples. And these signs will call other men to Christ as well.

Nice to meet you and thanks for the post! I’m not so good at explaining but this does a great job. The Neocatechumenal Way isn’t a way for everyone but could never be considered as something bad!

Hello, My name is Antonio. I’m a Catholic from Spain. First of all I want to apologize for my bad English. Unfortunately I don’t mastered the language of Shakespeare. I would like to leave you a Spanish website translated by Google about Domus Galiaeae,a meeting place in Israel, primarily used for Neocatechumenal Way seminars and conventions, although more than a Christian center seems a synagogue. Judge for yourselves:

First part:

Second part:

Greetings in Christ.

Hello Antonio,

Your English looks pretty good to me. I tried to read those articles: it’s a mouthful, to say the least. I tried to follow all the reasoning. I must admit, the author lost me a few times. Especially reading the second part, I thought that the author is way too obsessed, looking for hidden Jewish symbolism in the words “Ave Maria”, as if that were only a cover for the “real” hidden meaning. That made me realize: all he wants to say is that the NCW is a secret Jewish conspiracy. I’m sorry, but I can’t take that seriously, even if the photo of AVE MARIA turned upside down can be read as a confusion of Hebrew letters.
I rather rely on the judgment of the Pope and the Holy See.

Grace and peace of Christ be with you.

Hi i am also part of the NCW in Pakistan.

I have to say I am very disturbed by what I have observed in my own parish of the neocat way. About 20 neocat’s were dancing around the altar at the end of the Easter Vigil mass a few days ago while singing some hippy like music with a lady playing the guitar (very badly). Not one of these people bowed with any sign of respect towards the altar or Tabernacle before approaching the altar. My parish has a beautiful, very talented bilingual choir which has repeatedly try to no avail to include the neocats in the Easter Vigil celebration. I was very surprised and offended to see them suddenly hijack the sanctuary with such odd music after the bilingual choir had worked so hard together on the music for the mass.

At this same mass, many refused to give the sign of peace to anyone who was not part of their “way”. Also, it seems that this group attracts lots of fallen away Catholics (who don’t really seem to want to be Catholic). I also don’t understand why these neocat’s are always trying to evangelize me. I am a big “C” Catholic, attend daily mass, participate in the choir & parish council. I find the neocat’s very odd and concerning.

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Jesus used to upset a lot of big “P” Pharisees.

You are equating traditional Catholicism with being
a Pharisee? This response is exactly the problem
with the neocats – a lack of respect for Catholicism.
I really think neocats would be happier within the
Protestant church. You all clearly don’t like Catholics
and don’t seem to respect Catholic teachings and liturgy.

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I can’t speak for everyone, like you seem to be able to do. I do both love and respect the liturgy and teachings of Holy Mother Church and want to be Catholic (traditional too). I don’t agree with you, and I don’t see the reason for your vehement attack.
I equate Pharisaism with parading oneself perfect and despising others. That is not Catholic at all.
God bless.

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