Germany, October 2009

Prayer and meeting in Stuttgart


The communion of the Church: going towards one another

“This autumn, the city will get younger, as it welcomes a Taizé meeting on 10 October” was the title of a Stuttgart newspaper article at the beginning of September. And that is just what happened! Over 1200 young adults came together for midday prayer at the Stiftskirche, and 3000 for the evening prayer that was open to all generations and took place simultaneously in the Protestant Stiftskirche Church and the Catholic Saint Eberhard Cathedral. Both bishops took part, Catholic and Protestant, and they accompanied Brother Alois from one church to the other.

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For Reinhard, of the Protestant Church, “It was impressive and symbolically very strong that Brother Alois went from one church to the other with the two bishops. It was a prayer filled with peace, through the communion that Christ offers us.”

During the afternoon, several theme workshops were on offer, presenting different possibilities of commitments for the service of others. The young people were received everywhere with open arms. Among the workshops: a dialogue between young Moslems and young Christians at the Mosque at Stuttgart-Feuerbach; a meeting with the sisters of the Marienhospital, at the welcome centre for drug addicts U21; a meeting with immigrants at the Centro di Spiritualia; song practise with the choir… and of course a Bible introduction given by one of the brothers which brought together many young people and contained a meditation on the Letter from Kenya. It was also possible for those who wished to spend the afternoon in silence.

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Brother Alois, for whom the meeting was an opportunity to come back to his home town, spoke during the evening prayer. “I remember my childhood and my youth with much joy, during the years 1950-60. The parish quickly became a place where I formed friendships. … Today, it has become difficult for many people to believe in God. The existence of God is often seen as a limit imposed on our freedom, or else God is quite simply forgotten. For some, God exists perhaps but for God to be present here and now seems to them inconceivable. … The love of God is stronger than violence and death. It is in trust in God that we find the strength for taking on responsibilities in life.”

The meeting in Stuttgart was prepared all through the spring and summer, week by week. In September, there were visits made to 40 schools. Franziska, who prepared the meeting and visited several schools, says, “Some of the teachers remembered the European meeting in Stuttgart in 1996. But many of the students had never heard of Taizé and had a whole lot of questions to ask.”

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Throughout the day, people could experience a communion in action. The various Christian communities, in particular the Catholics and the Protestants, had worked hand in hand to prepare the meeting. As Brother Alois expressed it, “what changes the world is not so much actions that are spectacular, but persevering day by day in human kindness.”

Last updated: 23 October 2009