News from the Small Provisional Communities

Since 2014 the small provisional communities have been an enriching experience, both for the communities that have welcomed them, the parishes, the places of solidarity and for the young people themselves who take part in this spiritual adventure. And so we are very happy to be able to continue with the project. Life in the communities follows a rhythm based around praying together three times a day, taking part in pastoral and social activities with local Christian communities, visiting lonely people or those in difficult situations, and leading prayers and youth gatherings. On this page you can catch up with news from these small provisional communities.

Paris (France)

Madlen (Canada), Luisa and Hannah (Germany) will be welcomed in November at the former St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Paris (near Montparnasse) by a group of volunteers. They will be there, welcoming poor people and offering various activities. They will also conduct prayers in the chapel on site:
https://fraterniteprovisoire.wordpr... []

Almeria (Spain)

Justyna (France), Lotte and Irma (Netherlands) will live in a small fraternity from October 5th to the end of the month in Puebla de Vicar / Almeria (Spain), hosted by a parish of the city. They will be working with immigrants, with Roma people and in the local prison:
https://taizecomunidadvicar.blogspo... []

Novosibirsk (Russia)

Sarina, Rabea and Marie will be welcomed by Caritas in Novosibirsk, Russia, from 25 September to 5 November. They will participate in the different activities run by Caritas, have regular prayers and lead a community life:

Roman (Romania)

From 13 September to 9 October, Marion (France), Elli, Karin and Elisabeth (Germany) will be living as a temporary community in Roman (Romania). They will be welcomed by Conventual Franciscan Brothers (OFM Conv), and will be involved in various educational initiatives and actions of solidarity with the local Roma population. They will also make visits to praishes in the surrounding region: []

Oran (Algeria)

The Diocesean Centre in Oran and Bishop Jean-Paul Vesco are welcoming Souhir (Algeria), Rebecca, Silke and Antonia (from Germany) from end July for the month of August to live there as a temporary community. There will be a camp for children, time spent with young people from different backgrounds, including students from other African countries.

Bouet (Egypt)

Narimane (Egypt), Lena (Germany) and Lieneke (Netherlands) are going to live in a small temporary community in Bouet, Upper Egypt, from 7 August to 7 September. They will be welcomed by the Sisters of Carmel Saint-Joseph and will participate in education projects, catechesis, and make visits in the surrounding area:

Sidon (Lebanon)

The Community of Fratelli and Bishop Elie Haddad will welcome Friedemann, Florian and Jonathan (from Germany) in August in Sidon, Lebanon. They will engage in pastoral activities and work at the social and cultural centre of the Fratelli, in the town of Rmeileh with Syrians, Lebanese people and Palestinians, especially children.

Freiburg (Switzerland)

Viktoria (Ukraine), Miriam (Italy), Basia (Poland) and Anna-Larissa (Germany) will spend the month of August in Freiburg and Bulle, Switzerland. They Will be welcomed by the parish of St. Pierre and will be working with migrants, teaching and leading prayers. Contacts With various parishes and Christian communities are planned.

Sumy (Ukraine)

Clotilde (France) and Andy (United States) will be hosted from 20 July to 20 August by the parish of the Annunciation in Sumy, Ukraine. They will participate in various Caritas solidarity projects and will help lead times of prayer.

Toulouse (France)

Marie (from Switzerland), Christine (France) and Katarzyna (Poland) will be in Saint-Esprit parish, Toulouse (France) welcomed by the community of Bonne Nouvelle sisters. From 13 July to 9 August they will share the life of those who live in this poor neighbourhood, as well as participating in a mission week and helping lead a children’s camp: []

Bad Doberan (Germany)

- Stanisław (from Poland), Felix and Nikolas (from Germany) and Hannes who is from the town itself, will be living in Bad Doberan (on the shore of the Baltic Sea), welcomed by the Lutheran parish. From 26 May to end June they will constitute a small temporary community, leading prayers in the Minster church and elsewhere, working in the community garden and with refugees.

Tallinn (Estonia)

- Paulina (Poland), Helena et Malena (Germany) will spend the month of June with the Lutheran community of Mustamäe (Tallinn / Estonia) and live there In a small provisional community. They will lead prayers and participate in activities ranging from serving meals to the animation of sharing groups. Visits to other church communities and individuals will also be on the program.
https://smallprovisionalcommunityin... []

Minden (Germany)

- Sarah (France), Marta (Poland) et Julia (Germany) will live from May 17 to June 16 in a small temporary community in Minden, Germany (in the Region of Bielefeld, Hanover). A group of Christians from different confessions, in connection with the local communities, will welcome them in the Simeonsherberge, once an empty parish house, now transformed into a place of hopsitality and meetings. They will have different commitments, such as in a distribution of soup: []

Oberrieden (Switzerland)

- Maciej (Poland), Sebastian and Jan (Germany) will be spending the month of March living in a small provisional community in Oberrieden and the area around Lake Zurich (Switzerland). They will take part in various religious education activities as well as making visits in the area and working with local charity projects:

Zaragoza (Spain)

- Zofia (Poland), Katharina (Germany) et Nikki (Netherlands) will go for a month, starting from 10 March, to Zaragoza (Spain). They will be welcomed by the diocese of Zaragoza and will work as volunteers with the homeless and children of the district Delicias: [].

Delemont (Switzerland)

- Elsa (from France) and Annika and Judith (both from Germany) are going to live in a small provisional community in Delemont, in the Swiss Jura from 5 March
to 2 April 2017. They will be welcomed by the Inter-confessional Praying Fellowship and the various churches of the area. They will help lead prayer services and take part in activities organised by a local charity who work with refugees in the canton:
https://provisionalcommunitydelemon... [].

Akkar (Lebanon)

- Between 19 December 2016 and 24 January 2017, Rafaela (Switzerland), Julia (Spain), Maria (Romania) and Raquel (Portugal) were living in a small provisional community in northern Lebanon. They have been building links with various communities in the Akkar region and working alongside other volunteers at the "Relief and Reconciliation" centre which works for peace. They also spent time with Syrian refugees living in the area:
https://lebanonprovisionalcommunity... [].

Givors (France)

- Two of the brothers and two young volunteers from Taizé were living in Givors, in the outer suburbs of Lyon, from early November until mid-December 2016. Their presence there was a small sign of fellowship with opportunities to discover signs of hope in the district, working closely together with the local churches, and with a particular focus on inter-religious dialogue. They were also involved in practical initiatives, social support work, and made pastoral visits as well as praying together three times a day. The prayers, open to all, were also an occasion to welcome a wider public.

Bari (Italy)

- Szilárd (Romania), Markus (Germany) and Rui (Portugal) spent the month of November as a temporary community in Bari. They were welcomed by the parish of San Marcello and the Comunità di Santa Scolastica, leading and participating in prayers and helping in a refugee camp in the area:

Torres Vedras (Portugal)

- Denisa from Slovakia, Sarah and Rebecca from Germany will be living from 7 August to 2 September as a small temporary community in Torres Vedras (Portugal). They will be welcomed by the parish of São Pedro e Santiago in Igreja da Graça and the Community "Concha de Santiago". They will help lead times of common prayer, make visits to people in their homes, and be involved in activities for young people and children: [].

Milton Keynes (UK)

- Bianca and Franzi from Germay, and Miriam from Spain, will live as a small temporary community in Milton Keynes. From 13 August to 11 September they will be welcomed by "Church without Walls", taking part in the activities of the local community and sharing their times of prayer:

Münster (Germany)

- From 24 July to 21 August St Lamberti parish in Münster (Germany) together with the student community and the seminary will welcome András (Hungary), Anton
(Germany) and Michael (Switzerland). They will be leading prayers and will become involved in various parish activities: [].

Marrakesh (Morocco)

- Nawojka from Poland, Caren from Germany and Maria from Spain will be in Marrakesh (Morocco) from 22 August to 22 September. They will be with the Catholic parish of the city and the student chaplaincy. They will be taking part in a range of exchanges and actions of solidarity:

Halle (Germany)

- In September Bálint from Hungary, Pieter from the Netherlands and Michael from Germany will be living in Halle for an experience of living in a Small Provisional Community. They will be welcomed by Halle South Protestant Church and St. Franzikus’ Catholic Parish together with the Franciscan Convent. The young people will volunteer in various places, in particular in the Silberhöhe area of the city:
https://communitylifehalle.wordpres... []

Paris (France)

- In August, Colin, Michael, Tomislav and Ben will live in a small provisional community in Paris with the Dominicans, working in a welcome centre for refugee children.

Bruges (Belgium)

- In May, Malena (Germany) and Ester (Spain) are in a small provisional community with the L’Arche Community in Bruges (Belgium). They speak about their experience on the blog:
«One Month with the L’Arche-Community in Brugge» [].

Birmensdorf (Switzerland)

- Also in May, Hannah, Maxie and Marlen (all three from Germany) are in a small provisional community in Birmensdorf (Switzerland) invited by an interdenominational group. They speak about their experience on the blog:
http://smallprovisionalcommunity-bi... [].

Krefeld (Germany)

- Leonie (Germany), Wing (Macau) and Anne Christin (Germany) will go in June to Krefeld (Germany). The Protestant and Catholic parishes there have invited them as a small provisional community. They speak about their experience on the blog:

Sumy (Ukraine) - February/March 2016

From February 21 to March 21, Lenka (Czech Republic), Rafaela (Switzerland) and Mira (Germany) lived in a Catholic parish at Sumy, in Ukraine. At the beginning of their experience they wrote:

This country is really different from everything we know but we are so happy to have the opportunity to discover it. People are very open and warm-hearted towards us. We get to know about the difficult situation in Ukraine as well. Many people are without work or even homeless. Twice a week we cook for them and this a new experience as well. We are impressed by the optimism of the people. War is a topic as well when people tell us about family members who have died.

We met an old man who is blind. We visited him once to help him clean and he invited us again. He impressed us with his faith. For him believing is the source of life. We see an inner light he has. He is called Ishtwan.

Later they added:

We had a prayer with many parishioners and many people from Africa. We also had the opportunity to meet some soldiers from Donetsk and that was a powerful experience as well.

Rafaela wrote again:

We met so many people; all of them were so nice to us. We got a lot of new impressions; some of them were quite hard, some were connected with so much joy. Sometimes I was worried about how things would work, but every time all was fine at the end, since we were led by God. The daily prayers helped us to quiet down and to handle it all.

It was such a great time and in the end it was so hard to say goodbye to everyone. I could never have imagined I would enjoy it so much, meet so many interesting people and feel at home in Ukraine. Although we had a difficult goodbye, the time in Ukraine gave me a lot of new faith, strength and motivation for my life.

Oksana, who had organized the welcome of this provisional community, wrote after they left:

Among the main activities that the girls did were a lot of charitable deeds, such as cooking and meal distribution for homeless people, visiting ill and elderly people, cleaning houses and, of course, we devoted one evening for a Taizé presentation.

We all agreed that for Sumy it was an unforgettable experience of hosting volunteers, so we would like to invite more volunteers for Lent every year.

Grzybow (Poland) - February/March 2016

Katia, Julia and Josy lived in a small provisional community from mid-Februarty to mid-March at Grzybow, in Poland, welcomed by the parish and the Zierno rural community:

It was important for us that the daily prayers were the center of our community. Besides Ewa and Peter there was another regular guest: Magda, a young woman from Słubice, who came every morning to the prayer. And although there were some problems with speaking English, she often stayed for tea or invited us to spend time with her and her husband. (…) It is a challenge to sing songs in Polish but we want to make it easier for the people to participate in the prayers.

Our social activities were not spectacular. But for the people we met and whom we helped, they were important. For example we helped a women who is physically limited due to a disease, so we went with her to her parents’ grave and also did some shopping. Although she does not speak English or German and none of us Polish, the communication went very well; probably because she is a very open and curious person.

Ewa, who welcomed the small community to Grzybow, wrote:

I explained to the young women that the prayers they led were wings for me that helped me to face my challenges and daily problems.

Gyongyosoroszi (Hungary) - February/March 2016

Stephan, Javier and Timothy were welcomed as a temporary community in Gyongyosoroszi (Hungary). From mid-February to mid-March they lived at the community of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in this village, marked by the presence of a gypsy population :

Stephan wrote:

In the small village of Gyöngysoroszi we met a culture which is so exotic for us or by European standards. Yet we know they have shared the continent for many centuries with us. When we look at the gypsy population, they are nomads, so they are used to a totally different world and society than the one we live in. They value material things differently.

Javier added:

In the primary school we visited we made the children laugh; we played together. I felt in a way that the adults were just as thirsty for our presence. They wanted to tell how hard it is to conduct their teaching mission. The teachers are all Hungarian and the students are all without exception Gypsies. The younger children seem unaffected by that segregation (all the Hungarian kids go to school in the nearby town) but the teenagers show signs of frustration and resentment. A grandmother told us how present this divide is in her life, even when, on Sundays, she goes to church.

Timothy :

Yesterday, we had the great joy of being invited to lunch by Katti and her big family. To the simple pleasure of a good meal was added the satisfying feeling of having shown that such an invitation was possible. When, ten days ago, we expressed to the sisters our wish to share a meal with some of the adult villagers who were close to the community, they had answered that this was most probably not possible.


The three of us were perfectly made to live in such a small community. It was not that we were all the same but the differences in experiences of life and faith, the three slightly different cultures of our countries and also the voices for the Taizé songs made it far richer than I had ever expected. It was not always without difficulties and sometimes we had some discussions about how or what to do but it was good for the three of us to know that there is a common base from which we could live together.

Lancaster (UK) - February / March 2016

From February 15 to March 15, Lisa, Camilla and Elli lived in a small temporary community of young adults in Lancaster, in the community of Lunesdale. Impressions of their stay can be found the in the blog: [].

Rome (Italy) - February / March 2016

During Lent 2016, the Holy Year of Mercy, Xiaoxia (China), Johanna, (Germany), Franziska (Germany) and Dominika (Poland) are living in a small temporary community with the Canossian Sisters in Rome. With some brothers of the community, they are leading meditative prayers with the songs of Taizé twice a day in the church of San Giovanni Battista de’Fiorentini. At other times they are helping in a Caritas canteen, serving meals for refugees as well as for people who are homeless or unemployed.

From Franziska:

Crossing the street in Rome is a pilgrimage of trust! You have to be brave to take the first steps onto the street until you see the cars getting slower, so that you are sure you can continue your way safely. Coming to be a part of a small provisional community in the capital of Italy is a bit like that as well. There are many small uncertainties, for example that none of us speaks any Italian - only a few words or a bit of French and Spanish - and not many Italians speak good English - , but somehow we manage our way around the city. But when you hear the languages around, you know that you are not the only German, Polish or even Chinese in this very touristic city.

Our days are structured by three prayers: morning prayer around 9am at home, midday prayer at 12 noon and afternoon prayer at 5pm with a few Taizé brothers in the side chapel of San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini.

Between these two prayers in the afternoon, we actively practice solidarity and mercy by helping out in a Caritas canteen, which serves between 450 and 550 homeless, unemployed and refugees. It is beautiful to see that many people come to help. During our work, we automatically start singing, which is usually appreciated by the people eating. For many of them, the most important thing is that we give time and space in our lives to be with them. This experience shows us that going where we are needed, being there and seeing how to help without speaking the language requires trust at first but is not difficult. After all, we all smile in the same language!

Calais (France) - February / March 2016

Petr and Tomasz, two volunteers from Taizé, are in Calais for a few weeks. Here is their first message, giving some news from their life there and the work with the refugees in the “jungle”.

We are sitting in “Maria Skobsova"s house after our second day in Calais. Marie and Adam took perfect care of us and we had a great time together. We are trying to organise a common prayer at home but mainly in the Jungle. We helped in the so called "Belgium" kitchen to distribute 350 meals.

Tuesday creates a great anxiety, because of the eviction ultimatum and destruction of half of the camp. This is also where “our” orthodox church of Saint Michael Angel is. This ultimatum has been used few times in the past and although nothing happened, people are naturally scared. Please pray for this.

Some time ago a few caravans belonging to the camp volunteers were attacked and some of them burnt. Fortunately nobody was sleeping in them at the time.

For us the first impression is very strong. The worse was to see children in the camp.… and families with small babies… is this a sign of hope? And the parents are exhausted.

We enjoy all the opportunities to stay and talk with people in the camp for many reasons. someone wants a small cross, another one needs some material; but mostly people want to simply talk about their day, about what will happen on Tuesday etc.

When we were leaving the Jungle today, one car stopped in the middle of the avenue and some Muslim girls in hidjab told us that they left a box of English Bibles in church for us...

Petr wrote later, on February 14:

In the Maria Skobtsev House, one of us is repairing the old house and even some bicycles. Yesterday we had a Taizé prayer. Together we were about 20 persons, mainly from Arras and Lille. We decorated our chapel and people from Arras played guitar.

We’ve had a great discussion with Calesiens from an ecumenical association and the Anglican church. I understand more about the feelings and fears of people who are ’’tired by refugees’’. Even for these people it was very interesting to ask us for our opinions and daily experience of the camp. It’s necessary to be present also among the Calesians. We have try and understand them. They have to understand/feel that we aren’t here just for the refugees, but also for them. I feel same fears and prejudices of people in the Jungle and in Calasiens. The Maria Skobtsova House should be a place for making bridges between both groups.

Eritreans - we are coming every day in the Jungle to pray in their Orthodox church. There is Salomon, who is a church leader. He is "easy-going and never-a-problem man". We used to sing as part of our prayer when we were alone. Once I joined a Mass there, which was very nice and at the end there was a six-year-old girl who sang and prayed for and with all the others. She reminded me of the children in Taizé and when I realized that she is also a target of hate against refugees I can’t keep from crying.

Brother Johannes, a priest responsible for the Maria Skobtsev House, wrote on February 29:

Today the police started with the demolition of the camp. (…) Only shortly beforehand the Iranian Christians had asked me to sit in front of their houses together with them and to pray for them. (…) This is a sad day for the people in the camp, people who have run away from violence, from war and conflict, from poverty. They are people and youngsters who already suffer trauma. And please pray for the people who have lost their houses, for the people who have lost their papers and private stuff and for those who have been victims of violence once again.

Porto (Portugal) - January 2016

In January, Rita (Ireland), Cecilia (Italy) and in (Germany) lived in a small temporary community of young adults in Bonfim / Porto. Here are some echoes:

Why am I here? I can’t speak the language, no one understands when I speak English "because I speak too fast, and have a funny accent", I can’t sing, I have no idea what’s going on?! Why am I here? Then the words of a brother came back full steam - just be there, be with the people and have three daily prayers... that’s all you have to do. Okay.
There is a strange intensity to interactions with people when you cannot speak the same language, that is not to say you do not understand each other. Without language, without the misunderstandings that sometimes come with words, without the ability to lable each and every moment, there comes a strange but beautiful moment of just being present with the other person.
We feel like part of the family, despite the language barrier. The Portuguese people in general as we have experienced don’t let the language be an issue in getting closer and caring, and they take the time to communicate in whatever way possible. (…)
The community of Bonfim: in its latin character very welcoming, warm, careful.. It was visible that Padre Nuno and the people living at his house were very happy that we were there, which was also manifested through so many hugs and smiles. This open, welcoming, familiar and simple environment helped us to be spontaneous and ourselves, and it was essential to build our small community. We manage to create a balance between our space, physical or not, and the sharing time with the people of the parish. We lived in a small house next to Padre Nuno`s, but still separate from it.
During the four weeks we helped in the morning with whatever the people in the secretariat asked us to do (wrapping statues in paper, taking pictures of icons ... ), we spent a few hours a day in a "daily centre" for old people and we worked in a project aiming at saving food from restaurants and re-distributing it to families in need.
The work in the daily centre was not aiming at a practical result, which made it a very powerful and a real "servizio" (service); in fact, there weren’t any expectations from their side. I would say that from our side, we had some at the beginning, such as doing more activities together so that we could get to know them better; but we soon understood that it was, very simply, just about being there and sharing our time with a group of old people that sits on couches for a long part of its day. We had a wonderful nice prayer in the "centro de dia" with the old people! It was a moment of pure harmony and peace and they asked us to do it again! We are so grateful for this sharing!
The food bank project was great and interesting in how it worked. The best part was the people, the group dynamics with such a broad mix of social backgrounds. They worked together in little teams, a different one each evening, each with their own system and their own personalities shining through.
On Friday 29th, we organized an all night prayer, from 9pm to 9am. At this point there were many people coming and the chapel was full for many hours. we had a prayer every hour and the rest was silence ... never thought I would have said that, but it was great.
It was not always easy; as we spent so much time together. I think it s normal that sometimes there were some tensions and misunderstandings. We were able to deal with that, even though sometimes our diversities stood out and we had to think together how to merge them once more. (…)
The common life in Porto had with it some challenges, but I think that in any common life that is just part and parcel of what you are doing. It is inevitable that there are some days where it is a little more difficult, but then the beautiful and fun times outweigh every one of those days.

Father Nuno writes:

A month seems to be a short time, not enough time for fighting and making up again, understanding that it is possible. My house and my parish are always open to welcome a provisional fraternity. I think that the evangelization of the cities will come through prayer and work, with the sole desire to serve Jesus. And if the community family ever live less by the gospel it is very good to "force" the existence of small communities living in the radical gospel effort. They do not replace the family, but go beyond the family.

Printed from: - 21 January 2018
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