Holy Father Pope Francis joined a rally of the Neocatechumenal, as the movement celebrated the 50th anniversary of its arrival in Rome. Initiated in Madrid in 1964 by lay Spanish artist, Kiko Argüello,  the Neocatechumenal Way, is dedicated to post- and pre-baptismal formation of Christians, based on the word of God, the Eucharist and the Christian community. His Holiness Pope Francis encouraged the rally of some 150,000 representatives of the Neocatechumenal Way from 135 countries who gathered on Saturday at the “Tor Vergata” University grounds, on the outskirts of Rome, to thank God for the 50 years of their presence in Rome.

As reported by Vatican news, Holy Father Pope Francis exhorted that “Only a Church that renounces the world announces the Lord well. Only a Church free from power and money, free from triumphalism and clericalism, testifies in a credible way that Christ liberates man.”

At the end of the meeting, the Pope sent out 34 new “mission ad gentes” to proclaim the Gospel in various parts of the world, and another 25 communities to parishes of Rome Diocese. His Holiness Pope Francis also urged the Way to love the cultures and traditions of peoples they are sent to, without applying pre-established models.