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Archbishop reins in Neocatechumenal Way in Guam

March 16, 2017

Archbishop Michael Byrnes has set new limits on the activities and liturgical practices of the Neocatechumenal Way in the Archdiocese of Agana, Guam.

The American-born prelate—who was appointed last year as coadjutor in Guam, after the removal of Archbishop Anthony Apuron—issued a 3-page pastoral letter in which he reported hearing numerous complaints that the Neocatechumenal Way was causing divisions within Catholic communities. “From listening to many of you I realize that a number of factors have contributed toward the divisions,” he wrote.

Archbishop Byrnes said that for a one-year period, the Neocatehumenal Way will not be allowed to established new communities in the archdiocese. During that period, he said, a priest will be appointed to “help me discern the effects of our efforts” to promote Church unity.

The archbishop went on to say that the Neocatechumenal Way must abide by Church liturgical guidelines. Specifically, Mass should be celebrated at a consecrated altar, in a church or chapel; and those who receive Communion must consume the Blessed Sacrament immediately. “There is to be no delay,” the archbishop emphasized—referring to the practice in which all members of the Neocatechumenal community wait until every can consume the Eucharist at the same time.

Finally, the archbishop said that when a community of the Neocatechumenal Way celebrates Mass in a parish church, some portion of the collection should go to the needs of that parish, and the pastor must have control over the liturgical celebrations.

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