“Dear brother, I do not want this day to pass by without sending you a few lines expressing my closeness and fraternal thanksgiving for your 80th birthday. I thank God for having chosen you and I thank you for your fidelity. May the Lord repay you for all the good you do to the Church. I am close to you, and I pray and accompany you. Happy birthday. I hope that those of the Way will make you a cake with 80 candles. And please, do not forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you. Your brother who loves you and admires you, Francis”. Pope Francis sent this personal message to Kiko Argüello, the founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, who turned 80 yesterday in Madrid. Kiko welcomed the Pope’s message “with great enthusiasm”. Yesterday he had already thanked the Pontiff who, at the end of Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, praised “the apostolic zeal with which he works for the Church”. In a statement Kiko, alongside Father Mario Pezzi and Maria Ascensión Romero, who with him are responsible for the Way’s international team, expressed gratitude to the Pope and reiterated “his affection and closeness, and the assurance of his prayers for his Petrine ministry”. The Neocatechumenal Way is a movement for Christian initiation. It is currently present in 134 countries on the five continents with thousands of community. It began in the sixties in the slums of Palomeras Altas, on the outskirts of Madrid.