In the primitive church, when the world was pagan, those that wanted to become Christian had to begin a "catechumenate," an itinerary of formation in preparation for Baptism. Today the process of secularization had brought many people to abandon the faith and the church: because of this there is a necessity for an itinerary of Christian formation.
The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement or an association, but an instrument in the parishes at the service of the bishop to return to faith many of those who abandoned it.
The Neocatechumenal Way is lived out within the existing structure of the parish, and in communion with the bishop, in small communities each composed of people who are different in age, social status, outlook and culture. It is not a group formed spontaneously, neither is it an association, nor a spiritual movement, nor an elite within the parish. Rather, it is a group of people who wish to rediscover and to live Christian life to the full; to live the essential consequences of their Baptism, by means of a Neocatechumenate divided into different stages, like that of the early Church, but adapted to their condition as baptized persons.
As a consequence, these communities have the mission of being, at the center of the parish, the sign and sacrament of the missionary Church (Synod of Bishops); of opening a concrete way of evangelizing the `far- away', by giving - in the measure to which faith has been developed - the signs that call pagans to conversions; that is love in the dimension of the cross, and unity. `Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.' (John 12, 34-35). `May they all be one. Father, may they all be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.' (John 17, 21).