The founder of Hakuna: «We have the conviction 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, you perceive something familiar. After a while, you realize that they won’t hold you if you want to leave, but for now they welcome you with a hug.

As I leave the headquarters of Hakuna, I realize: I have brushed against the innocence, or the evangelical naivety, of the primitive Church, of which it lacks interest in the disputes of the hierarchies and the dicasteries. Here they are “to another roll”, to use their language. But what is Hakuna? Christian hippies who don’t smoke pot or indulge in free love? Guitar humming and Eucharistic adoration? The priest answers 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 to blow, 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 spirituality of the Church, families can be recognized: the Carmelite family, the Ignatian family… They have very marked features in prayer, in contemplation or in active life. There are families that affect the entire spirituality of the Church, because they represent an enrichment. Hakuna is part of the family, of the spirituality that has been awakened since the Second Vatican Council and that Opus Dei expresses: holiness in the relationship with the world. Everything that we have lived in Hakuna has been in the unconscious, in the sense that we have not been aware of what was happening, but it has been something lived. Then you try to recognize what you experienced and put words to it. Specific traits were not chosen to apply later, but… life itself. The spirituality of holiness in the world, of the ordinary, of beauty, of the small, of simplicity. All that is nowhere and is everywhere.

A phenomenon that will fill Vistalegre

This Saturday, September 17, Hakuna presents its new and fifth album, Qaos, in a concert at the Palacio de Vistalegre. All available tickets were sold out weeks ago. 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 the 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 traveled, 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 training 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 experienced there is exactly, in essence, the nucleus, what we are experiencing, 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 start with a prayer, a Holy Hour and the Eucharist; We celebrated it every day, and those who wanted attended. It was a climate of freedom, of respect for each one. We had some sessions there that we now call “wallpapers”, 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 it 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, spontaneously, 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 a privilege. There were no shifts to fulfill in an obligatory way, or a distribution. He washed or cooked whatever he wanted, with a certain organization. He picks up very well what Christ said: “I did 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 its very name, or that of “wanderers”, “pringados”, or the title of some of its many books. , such as holy shit. It may seem provocative to quite a few people, but is it really the expression of something spontaneous, of a festive mood?

–We call withdrawals god stops, because there is no schedule, but rather some items that accompany you throughout the day. Because it is not chaos for chaos, 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 the life of each person. 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 you have to provoke, we don’t care. For example, holy shit. It is a book whose title I thought about a lot, but none was able to pick up what I wanted to convey. Matter in its most degraded state. And the Spirit of God, which is the most holy, the most immaterial. These two realities merge; It is what we Christians believe. Jesus Christ resurrects and goes down to hell. Where sin is, He comes down to free it with force, with the energy of the Father’s love. With the names we are not looking for provocation, but we do not mind provoking. Nor is the desire for originality the fact of, so to speak, renaming.

José Pedro Manglano, at the Hakuna headquartersThe debate

–Derived from this organizational mentality 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. Kneel before God to be kneeling 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 strength of the resurrection. Undoubtedly, the cross is present. There is no Christianity without the cross and without Christ. But it is the Father’s House 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, all the 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 for joy. We strongly emphasize the joy of the Resurrection and life as a party.

The founder of Hakuna: «We have the conviction that God is life and life must rule over the institution»