Sunday, June 11, 2023


By Tim Rohr

Every once in a while, someone sends me something related to Guam's Neocatechumenal Way that he/she/they want me to be aware of. Usually it's a link to a post on my old friend "Diana's" blog. I normally don't care to address it. 

Back when "the monk" was running this place (and running Apuron) it was necessary to engage the errors since no one else was. But the monk is gone and so is Apuron, so it's really the new guy's problem, not mine. 

And, as far as I know, the Neo's are conforming, or maybe just laying low in order not to raise any red flags while Rome searches for a new bishop for this place. 

The link someone sent me today had a comment from Diana which was refreshing to read given that Diana in effect said to "behave and mind your manners." 

Anonymous: Diana, the Way has its statutes and directory approved by Rome. With those approval from the Vatican, don't you think that would override the moratorium? Just asking. 

Diana: Dear Anonymous at 8:57 am,

The approved statutes and directory does not override the moratorium. According to Article 1 section 2 in the approved statues, “The Neocatechumenal Way is at the service of the Bishop as one forms of diocesan implementation of Christian initiation and of the ongoing education in faith.”

Furthermore, the letter of Pope Francis to the Neocatechumenal Way dated June 27, 2022 stated:

This missionary spirit, that is, of letting oneself be sent, is an inspiration for you all. I thank you for this, and I ask of you docility to the Spirit who sends you, docility and obedience to Jesus Christ in his Church. Everything in the Church, nothing outside the Church. This is the spirituality that must always accompany us: preaching Jesus Christ with the strength of the Spirit in the Church and with the Church. And the one who is the head, let’s say, of the various Churches is the bishop: always move forward with the bishop, always. He is the head of the Church, in this country, in this state…”

Therefore, the NCW should obey the moratorium issued by the Archbishop or to Father Romy who is the Apostolic Administrator. So, when the moratorium stipulates that the Holy Eucharist be held inside the Church before a consecrated altar, then the NCW should be obedient.

Diana's answer is solid. Thanks Diana. However, her answer reminds us that the Neo's do not normally celebrate "Holy Eucharist...inside the (c)hurch (on) a consecrated altar," and it takes a special instruction from the bishop to cause them to do so. As its founder Kiko Arguello has said: "any old table and any old place will do" (paraphrased). 

Meanwhile, it appears Diana still can't resist resorting to her old self. In her post above the comment, Diana implies that Fr. Romy is disobeying the Pope:

Easter was celebrated in the NCW in Guam differently as in previous years due to the fact that we obeyed Father Romy, the Apostolic Administrator. Father Romy made a few changes in our Easter Vigil so that it became a Sunrise Mass rather than a vigil...I am certain that in time we will celebrate the Easter Vigil again as we did before. Why? Because it is not only us who need to be obedient to the Bishop or Apostolic Administrator (as in this case). All Bishops must also be obedient to the Pope.

Diana goes on to copy a portion of an article from Crux and emphasizes the following:

An exception exists for “national churches,” like the U.S. Catholic community at St. Patrick Church in Rome, and for members of the Neocatechumenal Way, whose Vatican-approved statutes allow for small-group celebrations of the Easter vigil.

Sounds pretty authoritative, coming from Rome and all. However, the excerpt is from a document distributed by the "episcopal council of the Rome diocese" to the Rome diocese, which is why "the U.S. Catholic Rome" is mentioned. The full article in Crux clearly indicates that the matter concerns ONLY the Rome diocese, not the Archdiocese of Agana and NOT Fr. Romy.

Meanwhile, the episcopal council of Rome appears not to have read the NCW Statutes which say nothing about "small-group celebrations of the Easter vigil." 

Art. 12

[Paschal Vigil]

§ 1. Axis and source of Christian life is the paschal mystery, lived and celebrated in a pre- eminent way in the Sacred Triduum,42 whose brilliance fills the whole liturgical year with light.43 For this reason, it constitutes the fulcrum of the Neocatechumenate, since this is a rediscovery of Christian initiation.

§ 2. “The Paschal Vigil, focal point of the Christian liturgy, and its baptismal spirituality inspire all Catechesis.”44 It is for this reason that during the itinerary, the neocatechumens are initiated gradually45 into an ever more perfect participation in all that the holy night signifies, celebrates and realizes.

§ 3. In this way, the Neocatechumenate will stimulate the parish to have a richer celebration of the Paschal Vigil.46

The very next article in the Statutes addresses the small group celebrations which are permitted on other Sundays of the year. Sure, it doesn't specifically say "other Sundays of the year," but that's because the authors and approvers of the Statute assumed they didn't have to. It's clear that Art. 13 addresses "other Sundays of the year" given that Easter stands above and apart from the other Sundays.

Art. 13


§ 1. The Eucharist is essential to the Neocatechumenate, since this is a post-baptismal catechumenate lived in small communities.47 In fact, the Eucharist completes Christian initiation.48

§ 2. The neocatechumens celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in the small community after the first Vespers of Sunday. This celebration takes place according to the dispositions of the diocesan bishop. The celebrations of the Eucharist of the neocatechumenal communities on Saturday evening are part of the Sunday liturgical pastoral work of the parish and are open also to other faithful. 

As we have come to expect, unless the NCW Statutes specifically say "DON'T" or "NOT PERMITTED," then the Neocats (the leadership) interprets the Statutes to their liking. 

The Neocats, at least in Guam, don't do the Easter Vigil in small groups anyway. It's usually an islandwide bash with all the communities coming together. 

I don't have a problem with the Neocats doing whatever they want. In fact, I've experienced far worse "straying" from liturgical norms at "regular" parish Masses. However, I'll still set the record straight from time to time. Not that I'm an expert. I just read the Statutes, as written, and adhere to their plain meaning. You can do it too. 

Courage :)

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