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Pope praises Neocatechumenal Way's formation work

Pope John Paul II has recognised the "abundant good fruits" produced by the Neocatechumenal Way's work in seminary formation.

Speaking to the community of Rome's Redemptoris Mater diocesan seminary, the Holy Father paid tribute to its 16 years of "formation of priests for the new evangelisation".

"A great number of enthusiastic priests have come from your seminary," he said. "They are priests dedicated in part to the pastoral service in the diocese of Rome and in part to the mission in every corner of the world as fidei donum priests."

The Way was started by Kiko Arguello in the slums of Madrid in 1965. By the time it was formally recognised by the Pope in 1990 as an "itinerary of Catholic formation valid for the present society and for our times" it had already spread to over 87 countries. Today it is in 105 countries and more than 860 parishes.

The Pope told the seminarians that when they are ordained they will belong "to the diocesan priesthood which has the bishop as the main reference point, and at the same time will (live) the deep bond that links you to the Neocatechumenal Way."

Quoting their Statutes, he said: "Candidates to the priesthood find in participating in the Neocatechumenal Way a specific and fundamental element of the formational path and, at the same time, are prepared for the genuine priestly choice of serving the entire people of God, in the fraternal communion of the priesthood."

Missionaries from the Neocatechumenal Way came to Australia in 1977. The Way is now present in nine dioceses, with around 50 communities across the country. There are seminaries in Perth and Sydney.

The Way conducts ministry to Aboriginal people in the dioceses of Broome and Darwin, and the Archdiocese of Sydney, where Fr Gerry Prindiville was last year named the new Parish Priest of St Vincents, Redfern.

However Fr Prindiville, a diocesan priest who received his formation through the Neocatechumenal Way, has been the subject of accusations of gross pastoral insensitivity by longstanding Indigenous and non-Indigenous parishioners. He has replaced many practices and structures introduced by previous long-term parish priest Fr Ted Kennedy.

Pope thanks Neocatechumenal Way for vocation formation (Vatican Information Service 18/3/04)

Neocatechumenal Way (International site)
Neocatechumenal Way (Australian site)
New home for new breed of priest (Catholic Weekly 6/4/03)
Neocatechumenal Way setting up its second Australian seminary (AD2000 June 2002)
Archdiocese of Sydney: The Neocatechumenal Way - Background
Church Mouse | The mystery of the Eucharist: Polarised views at St Vincent's Church Redfern
Neo-catechumenate Review (Parishioners Against a Secret Church, UK)

19 Mar 2004