Today, the Pope received 200 families from the NeoCatechumenal Way in audience:
Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a group from the Neocatechumenal Way, including 200 families who will soon depart on evangelizing missions in various countries, especially in Latin America.
These "mission families" came into being in 1986 in response to a call from John Paul II to undertake new evangelization. Participants, who all belong to the Neocatechumenal Way, offer themselves as volunteers to go to countries where the Church needs help. Their destination is decided by the founders of the Neocatechumenal Way – the Spaniards Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, and the Italian priest Mario Pezzi – bearing in mind the specific requirements of each particular area, and in response to requests from bishops who ask for "mission families" to be sent to their dioceses.
"Your task," said the Pope after greeting the group, "is part of the context of new evangelization, … because your apostolic activity aims to situate itself within the bosom of the Church, in total harmony with her directives and in communion with the particular Churches where you will go to work, fully evaluating the richness of the charisms that the Lord has generated through the founders of the Way."
The Holy Father stressed how the families will be "humble and joyful witnesses" of Christ, "travelling in simplicity and poverty down the roads of all the continents. "He then went on to emphasize the importance of the liturgy in evangelization: "Your long experience can well confirm how the centrality of the mystery of Christ, celebrated in liturgical rites, constitutes a privileged and indispensable way to build vibrant and lasting Christian communities."
The Pope then referred to norms concerning the celebration of the Eucharist recently emanated, specifically for the Neocatechumenal Way, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. "I am sure," he said, "that you will attentively observe these norms, which are based on liturgical texts approved by the Church. By faithful adherence to all Church directives, you will render your apostolate even more effective, in harmony and full communion with the Pope and the pastors of dioceses."