Meeting in Turin and online

Meditations by Brother Alois


Thursday 30 December 2021 in Turin

Here in Turin, this stage of the pilgrimage was prepared at the initiative of different local Churches. And I would like to thank with all my heart all those who have been working for months so that everything could take place as well as possible.

The fact of having prepared this meeting together with Christians of different Churches is a beautiful witness to unity: when Christians come together, they can contribute to brotherhood and sisterhood in the human family.

We have just heard that, in the Gospel we read, Jesus called his disciples to unity. He said, “I pray that all may be one. May they be one so that the world may believe that you sent me.”

Jesus says this clearly: the unity of all who believe in him is not only a goal in itself, but also the condition for the world to understand Christ and trust in him. How would Christians be credible in proclaiming God’s love when they remain divided?

Among the proposals for 2022, one concerns the quest for unity among Christians. In the trials that our world is undergoing, it would be so urgent to meet more often, among baptized persons of different Churches, for a prayer together centered on the Word of God.

By means of such a prayer, we will discover that Jesus already unites us. Christ’s love can shine out much more clearly when we recognize humbly what we lack and when we open ourselves to what we can receive from one another.

In the coming months, the next stages of the pilgrimage of trust on earth will also be characterized by this search for the unity of the human family. From May 8th to 15th, for the first time we will have a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, prepared with the different Churches and the Ecumenical Institute of Tantur. You are warmly invited; the Christians there are looking forward to your coming!

Then, at the beginning of the summer, we invite the young people who wanted to take part in the European meeting here in Turin to come in person for a meeting from July 7th to 10th. It will also be possible to come to Taizé before or after this stay in Turin.

And then, exactly one year from now, we will have our next European meeting in a region where they have been waiting for us for a long time now: the different Christian Churches and the civil authorities have invited us and they are preparing a warm welcome despite the cold climate.

You have understood: we will go to the North of Europe and we will be happy to be with you in Germany, in the East of that country, in the city of Rostock.

Our meeting will continue: after this final prayer in Turin, tomorrow evening we will transmit a prayer live from Taizé. Once again, many thanks to all those who, in difficult conditions, made this meeting possible. And let us pray that this coming year may be a year of peace and hope!

Wednesday 29 December 2021 in Turin

It is a joy to be here with some brothers of our community, together with you, young people from Turin and from the Piedmont region, with some from further away. And I greet those who are following us on line by means of the internet. We thank the leaders of the different Churches who have worked hard for this stage of the pilgrimage of trust in Turin.

Unfortunately, for the second year in a row now we have had to change our plans because of the pandemic. This year, we decided to propose an on-line program, while continuing to offer a European meeting that will take place next July, from the 7th to the 10th, in this beautiful city of Turin. With all those present here, I already want to extend to you a warm invitation to take part.

I came here with Brother Marek from the island of Lampedusa. As you know, for years now that island has been one of the places where migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Africa arrive. I was invited to spend Christmas on the island by a Little Sister of Jesus who lives there with other religious sisters. And their whole parish welcomed us so warmly, and asked me to greet you all.

I am still very affected by what we experienced on that island. In the course of a few days, a dozen boats of the coast guard and the Guardia di Finanza brought in people they had saved in the sea—above all young men, some women and even parents with a baby.

A blanket, a glass of water, a friendly look, a small sign of encouragement: together with the sisters, we could not do much more to welcome them.

Then the migrants were taken to a closed-off area, where the authorities register them. On Christmas Day, as an exception, we received permission to go there to spend a few moments with them, in that center where their future would be decided.

Some of the rudimentary boats with which they left the African continent are brought to the port of Lampedusa. Christians on the island sometimes take two pieces of wood from the boats to make a cross. We brought one of them with us and we will place it on our icon for the prayer around the cross.

Those days in Lampedusa made me feel still more an urgent call to the unity of the human family. Throughout the year, in Taizé and in the meetings elsewhere, we will reflect on six proposals I formulated to be “creators of unity.”

There are so many rifts that divide our human family, even close to us. So I would like us all to ask ourselves: on our own level, what can we do to be creators of unity, even very humbly?

Let us not be paralyzed by our fears when confronted by the immensity of the problems. When we create bonds of friendship and unity, even very small ones, a joy is given, the joy of receiving.

Tomorrow, in a workshop on line, we will reflect on the words of Jesus: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Several experiences of solidarity will be presented, by people committed alongside exiles, refugees, and asylum-seekers. A second workshop will be held on the topic “Acting together to take care of our common home.”

So see you tomorrow for the next stage in our meeting.

Last updated: 30 December 2021