In Rotterdam, 30 000 young people reflected on joy and solidarity with those who suffer
After Poznan, Brussels, Geneva, Zagreb, Milan, Lisbon, Hamburg, Budapest and Paris, this year the 33rd European meeting organized by the Taizé Community was held from December 28, 2010 January 1, 2011 in Rotterdam, at the invitation of the Bishops Conference of the Netherlands, the General Council of the Dutch Protestant Church (PKN) and the Netherlands Council of Churches. Approximately 30,000 young people across the continent came to Rotterdam for five days of sharing and prayer.
With this new stage of the "pilgrimage of trust on earth", the Taizé Community continued on the road opened by its founder, Brother Roger, to support young people searching for reconciliation and peace, not only among Christians but also between peoples.
In the spirit of this European meeting, Rotterdam rediscovered the thinking of one of its most famous citizens, the precursor of today’s Europe—Erasmus, born there in 1467. He was an ardent supporter of the "peace of Christendom", the "concord of the Church", of reconciliation among peoples.
The young participants were welcomed by communities and families across the region, from Breda to the Hague, from Gouda to Hoek van Holland. They spent their mornings in 150 host churches, and afternoons at the city exhibition center (Ahoy) for meals and prayer together. The afternoon workshops allowed young people to reflect on the sources of faith and their commitment to serve Christ in the Church and in society. Some topics were inspired by the "Letter from Chile" that Brother Alois, the Prior of Taizé, issued following a meeting of Latin American youth led by the Taizé Community in Santiago, Chile, from December 8 to 12.
This letter from Chile encourages young people to reflect on joy and solidarity with those who suffer, "a joy that resists discouragement."
"Not better than others, but belonging to Christ": this is another expression of this letter which inspired a workshop in Rotterdam. These workshops were held on the afternoons of December 29 and 30 and were led by Taizé brothers and also by people committed locally. The mayor of the city, several bishops and pastors as well as Dutch politicians gave their contribution in helping young people to reflect on their own journeys and their commitment to the Church and in society. Brother Alois spoke to the young people every evening during prayer at the exhibition center (Ahoy).