1. The nature of the Neocatechumenal Way was defined by His Holiness John Paul II when he wrote: “I recognize the Neocatechumenal Way as an itinerary of Catholic formation valid for our society and for our times“.
2. The Neocatechumenal Way is at the service of the Bishop as one of the forms of diocesan implementation of Christian initiation and of ongoing education in the faith.
3. The Neocatechumenal Way, endowed with public juridical personality, is composed of an ensemble of spiritual goods:
“Neocatechumenate” or post-baptismal catechumenate, as referred to in Title II;
the ongoing education in the faith, as referred to in Title III;
catechumenate, as referred to in Title IV;
catechetical service, discussed in Title V, performed as specified and by the persons specified there.
(from the statute of the Neocatechumenal Way, article1, the nature of the Neocatechumenal Way)
In the primitive Church, while the world was pagan, those who wanted to become Christians were due to begin, “Catechumenate”, which was the way of formation in preparation for Baptism. Today the process of secularization has led many people to abandon the faith and the Church: due to this, the road of formation is needed in order to become Christians. The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement or association, but an instrument in the parishes at the service of bishops, to return to faith many people who have abandoned it. They started it in the 60s in one of the poorest suburbs of Madrid Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez at the time when the Archbishop of Madrid was Casimiro Morcillo who saw in that first community a true rediscovery of the Word of God and the practical implementation of the liturgical renewal, encouraged by the Council in those years.
Due to the positive experiences in the churches of Madrid, in 1974 Congregation for the ministry chose the name Neocatechumenal Way for this experience. It is a journey of conversion that can detect the richness of the Gospel. For all these years the Way has spread to more than 900 dioceses in 105 countries, with over 20 thousand communities in 6,000 parishes. In 1987 an international missionary theological school “Redemptoris Mater” was opened in Rome. It accepts the young men matured in the Neocatechumenal Community and who have given their availability to go into all the world.
After that, many bishops have followed the experience of Rome, and there are more than 100 diocesan mission of theological education “Redemptoris Mater” in the world today, where formed more than a thousand seminarians are formed. Recently, in response to the request of Pope for the new evangelization, many families who completed the way have offered to assist the mission of the Church, going to live in most secularized and non-Christian areas of the world, preparing the birth of new missionary parishes.
Neocathecumenal Way Movement in Belgrade
The Neocatechumenal Way came to Belgrade Archdiocese in 1991 during Archbishop Dr. Franc Perko. Fra Ivo Bono Mazić of the third order of Franciscans came to Valjevo then, and from there began to catechise throughout Serbia.
Today, the Neocatechumenal Way is present in eight parishes (nine communities) of the Archdiocese of Belgrade: Valjevo, Šabac, Niš, Bor, Zaječar, Smederevo, Užice and Belgrade – the parish of St. Joseph the Worker. The three parishes: Šabac, Užice and Belgrade there are families who came to testify Christian life present. These families have been invited by the of Archbishop father Stanislav Hočevar, and sent by the Holy Father the Pope.
In the pastoral work of our Archdiocese are the elders who had come from the diocesan missionary theological colleges Redemptoris Mater from Pula, and the Neocatechumenal Way; as Marko Trošt in Niš, Antun Kragol in Šabac and Valjevo, Leonid Bevza in Bor and Zaječar, Zygmunt Ciba in Užice, Geremia Massa in Smederevo, and Jovan Vejin i Grzegorz Chudek in Belgrade, as well as the elders who are no longer here, who came first: the aforementioned fra Ivo Bono Mazić, Drago Žumer and Girolamo Iacobucci.