Some Recent News

A Jew’s prayer for the children of Gaza

At this time of war we return to the prayer brought to our attention, years ago, by a Rabbi.

At this time of conflict, prayer for the peoples of the Middle East, for all who are seeking a just and lasting peace in that region, has become more intense in Taizé. Especially since a number of Palestinians have taken part in meetings on the hill.

A friend of the community, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, of Kol HaNeshama, Jerusalem, brought this prayer to our to our attention. It appeared in 2009 in the Haaretz newspaper.

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Brother Alois with a Franco-Palestinian family, August 2014

If there has ever been a time for prayer, this is that time.

If there has ever been a place forsaken, Gaza is that place.

Lord, who is the creator of all children, hear our prayer this accursed day. God, whom we call Blessed, turn your face to these, the children of Gaza, that they may know your blessings, and your shelter, that they may know light and warmth, where there is now only blackness and smoke, and a cold which cuts and clenches the skin.

Almighty who makes exceptions, which we call miracles, make an exception of the children of Gaza. Shield them from us and from their own. Spare them. Heal them. Let them stand in safety. Deliver them from hunger and horror and fury and grief. Deliver them from us, and from their own.

Restore to them their stolen childhoods, their birthright, which is a taste of heaven.

Remind us, O Lord, of the child Ishmael, who is the father of all the children of Gaza. How the child Ishmael was without water and left for dead in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba, so robbed of all hope, that his own mother could not bear to watch his life drain away.

Be that Lord, the God of our kinsman Ishmael, who heard his cry and sent His angel to comfort his mother Hagar.

Be that Lord, who was with Ishmael that day, and all the days after. Be that God, the All-Merciful, who opened Hagar’s eyes that day, and showed her the well of water, that she could give the boy Ishmael to drink, and save his life.

Allah, whose name we call Elohim, who gives life, who knows the value and the fragility of every life, send these children your angels. Save them, the children of this place, Gaza the most beautiful, and Gaza the damned.

In this day, when the trepidation and rage and mourning that is called war, seizes our hearts and patches them in scars, we call to you, the Lord whose name is Peace:

Bless these children, and keep them from harm.

Turn Your face toward them, O Lord. Show them, as if for the first time, light and kindness, and overwhelming graciousness.

Look up at them, O Lord. Let them see your face.

And, as if for the first time, grant them peace.

Bradley Burston, Haaretz newspaper

30 September 2023

An ecumenical prayer vigil in Rome

On Sunday 15 January in Rome, at the end of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis announced that the work of the next assembly of the Synod of the Roman Catholic Church would be preceded by an ecumenical prayer vigil on Saturday 30 September on St Peter’s Square, Rome:

"The path to Christian unity and the path of synodal conversion of the Church are linked. I would like to take this opportunity to say that on Saturday 30 September, an ecumenical prayer vigil will be held on St. Peter’s Square, with which we will entrust to God the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. For the young people coming to the vigil, there will be a special programme throughout that weekend, led by the Taizé community. As of now, I invite brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations to participate in this "Gathering of the People of God."

This gathering of the people of God was prepared by representatives of around fifty church groupings from many different denominations.

- See the event website www.together2023.net for more information.

The Lutheran Bishops of the Church of Sweden in Taizé | April 2023

Brother Alois and the Taizé Community were very happy to welcome in Taizé the Church of Sweden Bishops’ Conference for their biennial retreat from April 22 to 29, 2023. The bishops spent the week in silence and prayer, taking part in the community prayers and Bible studies led by the Taizé brothers.

During the Sunday Eucharist, the Archbishop of Uppsala, Martin Modéus, gave a meditation on the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. His closing words were "Jesus invites us to see the world, together with him, with the eyes of life and love. On our pilgrimage we are maybe not there. But he is there, looking at us with eyes shimmering with love." (full text online here)

The relationship between Taizé and the Church of Sweden goes back many years, but it was after a youth meeting in Linköping in 1990, on the invitation of Bishop Martin Lönnebo, who passed away on April 27, 2023 whilst the bishops were in Taizé, that the number of young people visiting from Sweden grew. Large numbers of youth leaders come together with their parishes to take part on the meetings in Taizé during Easter, summer and the All Saints holidays.

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Brother Alois received in audience by Pope Francis | 9 March 2023

A few days before the tenth anniversary of his pontificate, Pope Francis received Brother Alois in private audience on Thursday morning, 9 March, in the Apostolic Palace. They spoke in particular about the preparation of the event "Together | Gathering of the People of God" which will take place on 30 September in Rome, on the eve of the synodal assembly of the Catholic Church.

The next step in the preparation of this unprecedented ecumenical event, which already involves some sixty partners from various denominational backgrounds, will take place from 12 to 15 March in Rome. In announcing the event on 15 January, Pope Francis invited "brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations to participate in this ’gathering of the people of God’" (full text hereî).

Before coming to Rome, Brother Alois visited the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Reverend Jerry Pillay, and the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, the Reverend Anne Burghardt, in Geneva on Monday 6 March. He was accompanied by the sixty or so young people currently volunteering in Taizé.

This Friday evening, 12 March, Brother Alois will speak in Frankfurt at the fifth and final assembly of the Synodal Way in Germany, for a meditation which will give him the opportunity to underline the spiritual dimension of the synodal process.

Press information

For more information on the "Together" gathering write to this address.
For more information on the Taizé Community write to this address.

Photo (C) Vatican Media

Community Council: Prayer by Brother Alois

From 30 January to 4 February, the brothers held their annual Community Council at Taizé. Here is the concluding prayer that Brother Alois spoke on the evening of Saturday 4 February.

Eternal God, praise be to you! You call us to follow Jesus Christ. And you want us, through our life as brothers, to be a parable of that communion which Christ brought for all humanity.

We confide to you all the things we have talked about over the last few days – the kindness so essential for our common life, the co-responsibility and cooperation between us, our will to widen our friendships so as to contribute to the search for a new face of the Church. We pray that you will give us hearts that are open for these conversations to bear fruit.

We thank you for our brothers in the fraternities whose lives make the Gospel present in very diverse situations. Show us how our fraternities can evolve in a changing world and in accordance with the changes that our community is experiencing.

Teach us to listen better to the whisper of your Holy Spirit, in us and in our common life. Increase our faith in the presence and in the strength of your Spirit which always revives our vocation. Your Spirit is the spring that never dries up. Help us to draw from this spring the courageous decisions that will allow the heritage of our community to be always renewed, in our desire to achieve a common creation supported by all the brothers.

Your Holy Spirit leads us to listen more to one another. You have given us the opportunity to experience this during these days of our Council. In listening to one another you give us new insights and the courage to put them into practice.

We entrust to you all that is going to be part of our live this year in community, in the confidence that you will guide us in the future as you have done until now. Keep us in joy and in a spirit of generosity.

We entrust to you the whole Church, the project "Together – the Gathering of the People of God", the journeys of the brothers to reach out to young people on different continents, the meetings in Taizé, Ljubljana and elsewhere, as well as the pastoral initiatives that our brothers will be undertaking in the fraternities.

And we ardently entrust to you all those who bear serious wounds, the victims of war, in Ukraine and elsewhere, the victims of sexual aggression and spiritual abuse, migrants, those who suffer from climate change, the sick and all those forgotten in our societies.
God of love, in Christ you give us a living hope. Grant that we may be faithful witnesses to this.

To watch the evening prayer on video: