300 Neo-Catholics from U.S. descend on Prague, much to the chagrin of local police.
By BOHEMIST STAFF
Pope Francis once famously urged Catholic youth to get out and “make a mess.” Three hundred parishioners from the American state of Colorado have certainly heeded the call.
Throngs of Neocatechumenal Way followers — around 300 in all — descended on Prague last night for a two-day occupation of the streets – called their ‘witness,” on their way to Krakow for a highly anticipated visit by Pope Francis this weekend for World Youth Day.
“We are on a pilgrimage to meet God,” said Father Giuseppe Fedele, who was in Prague with the cohort.
Banging drums, strumming guitars and blaring microphones with loudspeakers are the calling card of the flock who carried with them large banners professing their faith as they made their way down Na Belidle in Smichov last night at around 11pm and throughout today around Wenceslas Square and Old Town.
“Society today is so confused, especially in Europe. To believe in God is to have a mission,” Father Giuseppe said. The group, which fund-raised their passage to Europe over several months, is just one among several others on their way to Poland. According to Father Giuseppe there are 7,000 American Neocatechumenal Way followers headed for Poland in the coming days.
The group are an unusual subsection of Catholicism. The so-called Neocatechumenal Way was founded in 1964 by two Spanish Catholics who lived in a commune with a guitar and a community of gypsies and marginalized poor and focused on adult integration or reintegration in the Church.
The group are hard to miss, unless you are extremely poor of hearing. The Way are known for their vivacious hymns, that bear heavy flamenco and Israeli musical influences.
A number of police rushed to the scene of the huge gathering last night just minutes after it started, trying to direct the movement off the roads. Bohemist witnessed a gaggle of the American pilgrims attempting to negotiate with police late into the night. The negotiations were unsuccessful, unfortunately for the group, and police ordered the group silenced.
One upset pilgrim yelled, “We’re in Europe, freakin’ assholes.” His voice was drowned out by a spontaneous group Hail Mary chant as they proceeded to base. The group takes the show on the way