Stages of the Neocatechumenate Path

Kiko's fundamental idea is that infant baptism is like a seed dormant, almost dead, within most Christians. It thereby becomes necessary to revive it through a period of "catechumenate," or rather "Neocatechumenate," as he calls it.

The path foresees that the actual "Way" is comprised of six stages of initiation lasting for a total of at least eight to ten years. Passage from one stage to another is not automatic. A board of catechists conducts the examination. Failing may occur and the persons excluded may complain. This is why the Way may take longer than the usual duration of eight to ten years.

The first stage is Kerygma, or rather the "announcement of salvation." The process begins when a priest decides to introduce the Neocatechumenate experience in his parish, through preaching by itinerant catechists. These lead introductory catechesis groups, which should eventually result in new communities of 30-50 people. If the limit of members is exceeded, other communities are created.

Once established, the community begins the second stage: the Pre-catechumenate, or the period of Kenosis, in which persons consolidate their faith by following the path with others. The community has a Gospel service once a week, and on Saturday evening, the Eucharist. Once a month each member spends Sunday alone. The Pre-Catechumen period lasts two years, after which the catechists - founders of the community - return and in retreat for three days prepare the passage to the stage of Catechumen.

The Catechumen period has two phases. In the first, the community perseveres in the Scriptures, the Eucharist, and community life until God becomes the center of each person's life. Each person gradually turns from all modern "idols" (money, career, relationships). After one year, the catechists once again return to effect the final passage to the Catechumen. At this point, the Catechumenate communities engage in profound individual prayer and reflection. Those officially declared responsible for transmitting their faith begin holding three types of meetings: in the family for the family, in the community for every member of the community, and finally in parish celebrations for all parishioners.

The long catechumenate process teaches its adherents prayer, simplicity and thankfulness.

The last phase is the renewal of the baptismal promises. In this phase, members become aware of the significance and reality of baptism, make their choice, and renew their baptismal vows.

Once the Way has terminated, the groups return to the parish or dedicate their lives to missionary work.