The founder of Hakuna: “We are convinced that God is life and life must rule over the institution”

The Hakuna headquarters is an unexpected metaphor. The door is open; the plot is old, but the trees are green and there is a fresh smell, under a sun that appears and hides behind the clouds. The facilities made up a women’s convent with all the appearance of having been built half a century ago. Now it has a new use, with young people everywhere looking you in the eye without challenge and with a smile. You don’t feel strange, an I don’t know what familiar is perceived. After a while, you realize that they won’t keep you if you want to leave, but for now they welcome you with a hug.

Leaving the headquarters of Hakuna, I realize: I have brushed against the innocence, or the evangelical ingenuity, of the primitive Church, of those who lack interest in the disputes of hierarchies and departments. Here they are “to another roll”, to use their language. But what is Hakuna? Christian hippies who don’t smoke weed or indulge in free love? Guitar croons and Eucharistic adoration? The priest answers us Jose Pedro Manglano (Valencia, 1960), its founder. But he is also an unexpected founder, because until 2020 he was incardinated in the Prelature of Opus Dei; then, the directors of the Work understood that Hakuna had acquired its own dimensions and charisma, and that, therefore, the most appropriate thing was to let the Holy Spirit continue blowing, under the guidance of Josepe, as they call him.

José Pedro Manglano, during his interview with El DebateThe debate

–When you are relatively young, you ask for admission to Opus Dei. Is there something in Hakuna of the spirituality of the Work or of the legacy of Saint Josemaría?

–In the history of the Church’s spirituality, families can be recognized: the Carmelite family, the Ignatian family… They have very marked traits in prayer, contemplation or active life. There are families that affect the entire spirituality of the Church, because they are enriching. Hakuna is within the family, of spirituality, which awakens from the Second Vatican Council and which Opus Dei expresses: holiness in the relationship with the world. Everything we have experienced in Hakuna has been unconscious, in the sense that we have not been aware of what was happening, but rather that it has been experienced. Then you try to recognize what you have experienced and put words to it. No specific traits were chosen to apply later, but… life itself. The spirituality of holiness in the world, of the ordinary, of beauty, of what is small, of simplicity. All that is nowhere and is everywhere.

A phenomenon that will fill Vistalegre

This Saturday, September 17, Hakuna presents his new and fifth album, chaos, in a concert at the Palacio de Vistalegre. Weeks ago all available tickets were sold. On Saturday some 8,000 people come to sing, pray and dance.

–It could be said that Hakuna has two founding moments. In 2013, following WYD in Rio de Janeiro, which is the first WYD with Pope Francis. And then, in 2017, when it was established as an association of the faithful with specific statutes. Is there something that in 2017 represents a milestone, or is it really a path that is followed, in which there are no abrupt jumps?

There is no abrupt jump. In 2013, I was working with young people in the parish of San Josemaría. I have just been entrusted with a youth ministry in that parish and I summon some boys to go to WYD. The idea was to prepare ourselves throughout the year, from the call (October 2012), through formation and prayer. 97 university students ended up going to WYD in Rio de Janeiro. And what we live there is what it is now. Somehow, Hakuna was there undeveloped and then it has been developing and taking shape and taking words. But what we live there is exactly, in essence, the nucleus, what we are living, which was a group that wanted to follow Christ together. Something very open, because there were kids there who were not believers. Every day we begin by saying a prayer, a Holy Hour and the Eucharist; We celebrated it every day, and those who wanted to attended. It was the climate of freedom, of respect for each one. We had some sessions there that we now call “wallows”, but they were already there. Then the party, like a place filtered and illuminated by the truth. It is the same party, but with another significance and that was part of the life of service.

There is no Christianity without the cross and without ChristJose Pedro Manglano

– In what sense “service life”?

-There, in a spontaneous way, everything was service, there were no shifts, there was nothing forced. Each one wanted to serve, and that was the discovery of service as an honor or as a privilege. There were no mandatory shifts to take, or a cast. He washed or made the food he wanted, with a certain organization. He captures very well what Christ said: “I have not come to be served, but to serve.”

–You speak of unconsciousness and have alluded to the party. There is an idea of ​​a certain informality, not in the derogatory sense, which is also present in the different denominations that Hakuna uses, from his very name, or that of “wallows”, “losers”, or the title of some of his many books. , such as fucking saints. To many people it may seem provocative, but is it really an expression of something spontaneous, of a festive mood?

– We call the withdrawals God stops, because there is no schedule, but some items that accompany you during the day. Because it is not chaos for chaos’s sake, but rather we have the conviction that God is life, he is loving life, he is love, he is loving life. And life must rule over the schedule, life must rule over the institution; everything has to be at the service of the person, at the service of each person’s life. That is why we say that the order is not set by the schedule; the schedule accompanies, but you have to let life flow. It is the order of the organic, of the vital. Regarding the names, the mood is not to provoke. Although, if he has to provoke, we don’t care. For example, fucking saints. It is a book whose title I thought about a lot, but none was able to capture what I wanted to convey. Matter in its most degraded state. And the Spirit of God, which is the most holy, the most immaterial. Those two realities merge; It’s what we Christians believe. Jesus Christ rises and goes down to hell. Where sin is, He comes down to liberate with strength, with the energy of the Father’s love. With the names we do not look for provocation, but we do not mind provoking. Neither is the desire for originality the fact of, so to speak, renaming.

José Pedro Manglano, at the Hakuna headquartersThe debate

–Derived from this mentality of organization in fieri, there is another essential aspect of Hakuna: music, within this idea of ​​existence as a party, and also an enormous relationship with the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Kneeling before God to kneel before others. Is there a cycle presided over by joy?

–We are talking, indeed, about the charism of Hakuna: living with the joy and happiness of being a Christian. As a priest told me, the joy of living within the embrace of the living God. The power of the resurrection. Undoubtedly, the cross is present. There is no Christianity without the cross and without Christ. But it is the House of the Father where we live within the embrace of God, where Christ has already risen, and Heaven begins here. Heaven started here. The Lord said: “He is already within you.” And everything, the whole reality of my life, every vital circumstance, everything, by the energy of the Resurrection, can already be saved, can be redeemed and be a cause of joy. We stress a lot the joy of the Resurrection and life as a party.

The founder of Hakuna: “We are convinced that God is life and life must rule over the institution”