Lay Spaniard Kiko Arguello, initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way, a worldwide, Vatican approved faith-formation process that seeks to bring people to mature Christian faith, and Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila spoke to media following a March 11 vocational meeting at the Coors Event Center in Boulder.
The gathering drew 12,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way from 16 states and Guam. At the meeting, nearly 800 men and women said yes to calls to priesthood and religious life, and 600 families stood up to go on mission to be a sign of Christian family life in de-Christianized areas of the world. Arguello’s remarks were translated. The Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Denver Catholic: What brought you to the Denver Archdiocese?
Kiko Arguello: This apostolic trip is because of God—I am doing the will of God. God desired to call these (220) men to offer their life to the priesthood. I said, “Stand up (if you feel called)” and they obeyed. Like in the Gospel, Jesus said to Matthew (9:9), “Hey you, follow me!”
DC: What percentage of men who stand up for the vocational calls actually enter priesthood?
KA: It’s not that 100 men stand up but only three go to seminary. The men stand up because there is a Christian community behind them. It’s not a sentimental moment. God changes their life because there is a community (of support) behind them. That’s why almost all of them end up in the seminary and (women) in consecrated life.
DC: Why does the catechumenate take so long—several years—to finish?
KA: Maybe because of a change of parish (for the community). Maybe because the community sometimes does not pray. Sometimes we need to wait (for a time). We need to manifest eternity.
DC: At the end of the meeting, you said some encouraging words to Kiko Arguello; how do you feel?
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila: I am truly joy-filled to see (how) the Way has been such a blessing for the Church and for our archdiocese, and also for the number of dioceses and people who came from so far away from so many different states. You can see the action and presence of Christ in them in their willingness to sacrifice in order to be here, but also their deep faith because if they did not have a deep faith in Jesus Christ, they would not be here. So that faith is alive and it has been brought to birth through the Neocatechumenal Way.
Question: What were your thoughts as you saw all the men, women and families who stood up answering the Lord’s call?
Archbishop Aquila: It was one of a real answer to prayers. I believe that the more we pray for vocations, the more that we follow the command of Jesus to turn to the Father and to really ask the Harvest Master to send forth workers for the field, that he will send them and he will move the hearts of people to that. I was especially touched by the large number of families who so willingly volunteered themselves to go out on mission—that is a tremendous witness to the power of Christ and to the working of the Holy Spirit. So it gives great joy to my heart to see that.