Each year the members of the Neocatechumenal Way from across the world come together at Porto San Giorgio, Italy.
Those that gather there are the Responsible teams for each country, Kiko Agruello, the founder of the Way, himself gives this Convivence, and then the Responsible teams return to their own countries to feed back the same Convivence nationally.
So a few weeks ago the Responsibles from each of the communities in North of England gathered in Crewe to receive this handing back, while those in the South gathered near London. From this handback these Responsibles return to their own communities and hardback procedure continues. This is currently happening this weekend for our own two communities at St. Clare's. The community arrived Friday evening at the hotel in Frodsham. The Convivence happens at the same each year for preparation to begin the new liturgical year in the Church. Around 30 people from both communities have been able to attend this weekend which started last night with a Penitential Service. This morning began with Morning Prayer and then a catechesis on Ephesians 2: 1-10 & 3: 1-21 was given; after the short break the group began the to look at the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians in more detail.
Saturday afternoon the group heard the experience of both Carmen and Kiko with regard to the Neocatechumenal Way; an account of their journeys in beginning the Neocatechumenal Way and the journey towards the beginning. In the evening the group watched a video of the World Youth Day gathering with Kiko. These meetings at the end of the World Youth Day are known as the vocational call meetings. It is during these meetings that men are asked if they feel called to the priesthood to stand up and come forward. Women are asked if they feel called to religious life to also stand up. 3000 stood up for priesthood and 4000 stood up for religious life! There were also families called to offer themselves for the missions anywhere in the world, at this meeting 2000 families offered themselves for the missions.
In the evening there was a presentation on the whole purpose of the Neocatechumenal Way, which is part of the initial catechesis that people hear at the being of the Way. It was a good reminder for some of those who heard the catechesis some years ago. There was also some footage shown of the Funeral of Carmen (Carmen Hernandez was co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way; she died in Madrid on July 19 at the age of 85.
Together with Kiko Arguello, Carmen founded the parish-based faith formation programme in the 1960s as a way to deepen people’s faith and evangelise those normally excluded by society. Carmen, Kiko and Fr Mario Pezzi served as the leaders of the Way on the international level. There are Neocatechumenal communities in 120 countries across the world. Born in Olvega, Spain, on November 24, 1930, she received a degree in chemistry and worked for a time at a major food company her family founded and ran. However, she soon left to join the Missionaries of Christ Jesus to do mission work abroad. She also received a degree in theology.)
To end the weekend we celebrated the Eucharist with the community before sharing lunch together
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