On April 7, 2013, more than 100 members of the Neocatechumenal Way announced the good news of the Gospel via loudspeakers in 10 public squares in Colorado and two in Wyoming as part of a Year of Faith evangelization effort called “The Great Mission.”
The 12 teams of some dozen members each, which include married couples, young adults, seminarians and a priest, were part of an estimated 10,000 such teams across the world, including 100 in Rome, according to Rose Mary McLeod, who with her husband Don lead the Way, a parish-based catechumenate, in the two states.
“This is precisely the new evangelization that John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now (Pope) Francis have called for,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila told 10 of the teams April 6 just before blessing them during a liturgy in a chapel at Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary in south Denver.
“This is new in ardor, new in zeal and most of all new in method,” the archbishop said.
The Great Mission, in which Catholics witness to their encounters with the risen Christ, will continue for the next four Sundays at locations in Denver, Boulder, Centennial, Fort Collins, Greeley, Holyoke and Pueblo as well as in the Wyoming cities of Laramie and Riverton. Sites include town squares, a trailer park and parking lots.
Each team is supported by Neocatechumenal Way communities that set up and tear down the stage and equipment for the evangelizers and pray for the team, McLeod said. The effort was conceived by Kiko Arguello, a co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, as the Way’s contribution to the Year of Faith.
In Pueblo, Bishop Fernando Isern blessed two of the teams, including the one he is a member of that is evangelizing just outside his cathedral. Cheyenne Bishop Paul Etienne had previously given his blessing to the effort in his diocese as well, McLeod said.
“And I believe that today the Holy Father is blessing the teams in Rome,” McLeod told the Denver Catholic Register April 6 after the blessing led by Archbishop Aquila.
At the Denver blessing, Archbishop Aquila told the teams that the Neocatechumenal Way’s Great Mission effort “is truly a work of the Holy Spirit.” Quoting the Gospel reading from Matthew called “The Great Commission” in which Christ charges his disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” the archbishop urged the teams to “’Be not afraid.’
“For too often, we as a Church have waited for people to come to us rather than going out. … It is as if we kept that good news all to ourselves in our churches,” he said. “Certainly it was done in foreign countries where there were missions, but not so much here.
“I want to extend my deep gratitude to each one of you for having the courage to go out to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a great joy for me as a bishop, as a successor to the apostles, to see you go out and carry on the mission of Christ.”