TAIZÉ

Some Recent News

Prayers for the Protection of the Creation

Coinciding with the Paris Conference “COP21,” a prayer with the songs from Taizé will be held in Paris, on December 5 at 20h30, in the presence of Brother Alois and several other brothers. The community of Taizé proposes that all who wish should associate themselves with this event by organizing in their own locality a shared prayer for the Protection of the Creation, for example by using the form of celebration available on-line.

If such a prayer is taking place in your town, we can announce it on this page – just send the details to this address info2015 taize.fr.


In the United States

Miami


In New-Zealand

Auckland

  • Sunday December 6 at 5.30pm, St Peter’s Anglican Church (184 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga, Auckland)

In Canada

New-Brunswick

  • Friday November 27, at 7.30pm, at the Mother House of "Filles de Marie-de-l’Assomption" (2 rue Arran Campbellton, New-Brunswick).

In Mexico

Mexico D.F.

  • Thursday December 3, at 7pm, at the Church St Albertus Magnus, Copilco.
  • Wednesday December 9, at 8pm, at the Church Sagrada Familia, calle Puebla, Colonia Romas.

In France

Poitiers (86)

  • Friday November 27, at 8.30pm, in St Jean de Montierneuf (place Montierneuf).

Limoges (87)

  • Tuesday December 1 from 6pm, in the Chapel of the chaplaincy of L. Limosin (place des Carmes). Sharing and exchanges about questions of ecology; prayer from 19h to 20h; picnic meal for those who wish.

Lille (59)

  • Thursday December 3 at 8.30pm, in Saint Maurice Church (rue de Paris, 59800 Lille). More info online.

Chilly-Mazarin (91)

  • Thursday December 3 at 8.30pm, in Notre Dame du Concile Church (49 rue Pierre Mendès-France)

Langon (33)

  • Friday December 4 2015 at 7.30pm, Centre St Jean (8, boulevard François Mauriac, 33210 Langon)

Mérignac (33)

  • Friday December 4 at 8.30pm, in the Temple de Mérignac

Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (78)

  • Saturday Decembre 5 at 8.30pm, Saint-Martin de Bréthencourt

In Germany

Dresden

  • Wednesday November 25 at 8pm, in the Immanuelkirche Dresden-Cotta (Hühndorfer Straße 22)

Odenthal

  • Friday December 4 at the Markuskapelle von Altenberg (51519 Odenthal)

Munich

  • Wednesday December 9 at 7pm, St. Willibrord (Blumenstraße 36)

Bonn

  • Friday December 11 at 9pm, in the Protestant church "Auferstehung" (Haager Weg)

In Spain

Valencia

  • Saturday December 5, at San Lorenzo church, with the team preparing the upcoming European meeting

In Switzerland

Delémont, Jura

  • Monday November 30 at 7pm, in the chapel of the Hôme de Delémont.

In Belgium

Veldegem

  • Wednesday November 18 at 7pm, at Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk, 8210 Veldegem

In Czech Republic

Prague

  • Monday December 7 at 7.30pm, in the church of Martin ve zdi (Martinská 8, Praha 1)

Picture by Bruno Biermann

Brother Denis (1934-2015)

A few weeks ago, Brother Denis came back from the Nairobi fraternity in Kenya, so that he could be admitted to hospital in Lyons. It was discovered there that he was suffering from an irreversible brain tumour. He then returned to Taizé on November 10. In the night of Friday to Saturday November 28, on the eve of the beginning of Advent, during his sleep he entered into the life of eternity.

Just over half a century ago, Brother Denis, who was an architect, designed the Church of the Reconciliation in Taizé. Other buildings for which he drew the plans include the church of St Joseph the Worker in the shanty town of Kangemi, in Nairobi, visited by Pope Francis on Friday 27 November during his Apostolic Visit in Africa.

During 2015, Brother Denis created tree bark icons depicting a Way of the Gospel at St Stephen’s Source, shown on a page of the site, and a temporary exhibition of his artwork was shown in Taizé over the past few months.


At the beginning of the Eucharist celebrated in his memory on Tuesday 1 December, Brother Alois read the following prayer:

Christ Jesus, we entrust to you Denis, our brother whom you have welcomed in eternal life, close to you. With humble faith and a sincere heart he believed in you and responded to your call, placing the great creative gifts he had in your service. With the brothers, whether in Taizé or in fraternities, he bore witness to your love. He loved Africa, he loved those with whom he lived in Kenya and in Senegal. We praise you for his life among us and entrust him to your love. Holy Spirit, you fill us with hope, as you filled Denis, our brother, and even if our faith is very small we dare to say with our lives: “Christ has risen!”

2008 in Nairobi

Prayer by brother Alois after the tragic events in Paris

After hearing of the terrible events in Paris during the night of 13 to 14 November, which have come soon after those in Beirut, brother Alois prayed these words during the midday prayer at Taizé:

Eternal God, we want our thoughts and acts to be based on your presence which is the source of our hope. We entrust to you the victims of the attacks in Paris and in Beirut, and their families and friends as they mourn. With believers of all backgrounds we call upon your name and pray: may your peace come to our world.

The victims of the attacks in Paris and Beirut will also be prayed for during the intercessions of the evening prayer.

Brother Alois has also written a message to several Muslim friends in various cities in France.

Taizé accompanies the preparation of “COP21”

On the sidelines of the COP21 in Paris, many Christian and interfaith initiatives are being taken. We give an echo here of the events related to Taizé.

Saturday 14 November: the “People’s Pilgrimage” visits Taizé

Under the name of "People’s Pilgrimage", inter-religious walks are being held across all five continents to demand with a single voice a future protected from the disasters which climate change could bring.

In May 2015, after leaving his post as ambassador responsible for negotiations on climate change for the Philippines, Yeb Sano began a pilgrimage of several months, heading for Paris and COP21.

After a visit to Rome, the pilgrims walked for more than 700 kilometers in Italy and then crossed the Alps to Geneva before arriving in France on 6 November.

After a meeting at Cluny on Friday 13 November and a night spent with local people in their homes, the delegation will walk along the cycle path in the valley and arrive in Taizé late morning Saturday. A meeting open to all will be held on Saturday 14 November at 3:15pm in Room 15.


Friday 27 November: “People’s Pilgrimage” welcomed in Paris

During the climate negotiations of COP21 in December, faith communities from around the world are organizing a whole range of events in Paris: vigils, meetings, festivals, prayers, pilgrimages … A complete list can be found on-line, including a special programme in the parish of Saint Merry to welcome the pilgrims arriving in Paris along four different routes.


Thursday, 3 December: Ecumenical prayer in Notre Dame de Paris

At the invitation of Cardinal Vingt-Trois and the Council of Christian Churches of France, leaders of various churches, including Patriarch Bartholomew, will pray together in Notre-Dame de Paris on Thursday, 3 December. Brother Alois will be present.


Saturday 5 December: Prayer with Taizé songs at Saint-Ignace

In cooperation with the Council of Christian Churches of France and the diocese of Paris, a prayer with the songs of Taizé, attended by Brother Alois and other brothers, will be held on Saturday 5 December, at 8:30pm, in the church Saint-Ignace, 33 rue de Sèvres, Paris 6. Young people who can help with the preparation of this prayer are invited to write to this address info2015 taize.fr, in particular the delegations coming from different countries.

On 5 December many events will be held. These include a youth programme in Montreuil and a bi-lingual conference led by A Rocha International in St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Paris.

An afternoon of solidarity in the region of Taizé

On the occasion of the centenary of Brother Roger’s birth, the community looked for something to do with the neighbours around Taizé. The idea came up of meeting beside a small lake a few kilometers from Taizé for an afternoon with children and their parents.
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The program: a shared meal at the lake, discovering the "dream cabins" filled with musical instruments, wooden toys and hidden treasures, then a circus performance with horses and the trapeze artist of the Equinoctis company.

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At the end, a snack was offered to everybody, livened up with games of soccer, skittles, stilts and music. To make it possible for low-income families to take part, everything was free, financed by gifts and the support of Taizé’s solidarity fund, Operation Hope.


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What a beautiful atmosphere! Backgrounds and languages were mixed: a gypsy family originally from Serbia tried to talk to some of the eight Ukrainian children on holiday in Taizé for three weeks. Christians and Muslims speaking Arabic discovered one another. Armenians spoke in Russian with the Ukrainians; children of families from the area discovered the diversity of languages.

The lake was calm, the atmosphere serene, laughter and music rose towards a cloudless sky. Every person has within them a desire for peace – that afternoon without walls was an undeniable proof of this.


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Photos : Christian Hanser & Taizé

Easter, the Joy of the Resurrection, in communion with the suffering of the world

Over Easter more than 6 000 young people spent a week or few days on the hill. Many visitors from the region around Taizé also came to join the brothers and the young people for the Easter celebrations. This year, before the Eucharist of the Resurrection, a great fire was lit outside the Church of Reconciliation. The pascal candle was then lit from the fire and everyone followed it into the church, singing. There was yet another innovation at the end of the Eucharist: as it was the women who, having found the tomb empty, went to announce the resurrection to the disciples, it was the sisters of the different communities present in Taizé who announced the traditional pascal greeting "Christ is risen" in more than 20 languages.

Spring has arrived on the hill and many young people continue to come, especially from Germany and France. An orthodox group from Moscow is also here, as every year at this time, a few weeks after hosting the pilgrim brothers and young people in their parish for Easter.

During the prayers that he offers aloud each day during the midday prayer in Taizé, Brother Alois has recently mentioned many situations of suffering: the war in the east of Ukraine, refugees drowning in the Mediterranean sea, the earthquake victims in Nepal. This attention to the world prepares the young people to return home. As a young French man, Timothy, wrote - he is indeed living the week in Taizé "with a view to going back to our lives, which are less smily and bright than they are in Taizé, so that we can share that flame that we received at home, and make it shine in the daily gloom."

Holy Week in Taizé

Domenico (Italy)

On Sunday morning, under a cloudy sky, pilgrims of all ages and nationalities gathered at The Source. The brothers came carrying branches to celebrate the traditional prayer of Palm Sunday. Despite the weather there was a joyful atmosphere as we prayed and sang under the trees with the blossom just beginning to peep through.
 
Then together everyone processed from the Source to the Church, over a thousand people. Once in the Church the Eucharist continued with its typical polyphony of languages. In the afternoon groups of young people from Germany, Portugal and many other countries all over the world arrived in Taizé. They will spend a week of prayer and joy in the spirit of solidarity. This is the most important week of the year for all of us and we will celebrate it in communion and simplicity, waiting for the Resurrection of Christ.
 
It is the first time that I’ve seen the hill in its winter clothes. Everything looks pretty different, but you can always feel the unique magic of this place. The rain is often with us, accompanied by a light wind. The trees are bare and I feel that they can’t wait to wear their summer clothes, while some white flowers are already beginning to welcome the pilgrims.
 
Around the church my eyes meet a lot of well-known faces. Holy Week seems to me the time at which people whose life was deeply influenced by Taize come back here to re-tune their souls and hearts to the chords of God’s words. You can notice it during the prayer: everybody is singing from the front to the back, and they keep singing for hours and hours. You really can understand that all these people share something; they share their faith and the joy of a moment of fruitful dialogue and reflection.

The Photo of the Moment

Lenten Conférence in Paris

On Sunday 8 March, Brother Alois gave one of the Lenten Conferences at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, on the theme "A Life Which Becomes a Sign". The text of the conference can be found (in French) on the Archdiocese of Paris website.

The big weeks begin again

After the usual mid-winter slowdown the big meetings have begun again. Over the past two weeks, more than 3,000 young people have passed through Taizé, most of them young French and Portuguese students. The largest groups were from Toulouse, Saint Denis, north of Paris, and Lyon in France, Viseu and Santarem in Portugal. The bishops of Angers, Rodez and Saint-Denis also came along to accompany the young people. Other countries were also well represented, including the Czech Republic, Korea and the USA, with a group of thirty teenagers from New York.

On the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18, a prayer was held in Taizé, in the Church of Reconciliation, in the presence of the Bishop of Autun and the reformed pastor of Chalon-sur-Saône. As this year the theme for the week was prepared by Christians from Brazil, two brothers who have spent time living there led a meeting on the life of the fraternity in Alagoinhas.

Two weeks later, at the end of the annual Community Council, the brothers spent a beautiful afternoon in Chalon-sur-Saône, with a prayer in one of the parishes of the town and a visit to the Muslim community. This meeting was particularly important after the tragic events of the beginning of the year in Paris - to experience the warm welcome of the Imam and other members of the community gathered there on that Saturday afternoon.

Echoes from the Meetings

Pastor Laurent Schlumberger, President of the United Protestant Church of France, was recently in Taizé for a short personal visit. He led a meeting with some of the young people about the consequences of the recent tragic events in Paris. Robin, a young person from France gives his reaction to the workshop:

The tragic events in Paris affect us as people, believers and Christians. Our discussion reflected and raised several questions. As people we are shocked by such violence and fear. As believers, we stand in complete solidarity with all Muslims who do not recognize themselves in these acts and who seek, through the witness of their lives, to show that God is love. Finally, as Christians, we have a special sensitivity to questions of profanity and caricature. Jesus himself caricatured society through his parables, and was tried and sentenced to death for blasphemy because "he claimed to be the Son of God" (John 19:7).
 
Following the large gatherings of January 11, we can see beyond the defence of our freedoms of expression, to a desire for unity and dialogue. In a society in need of signposts and distraught by the violence, don’t Christians have a role to play? Do we dare to talk not only to those close to us, but also with members of Muslim communities around us?

Pope Francis speaks about Taizé and the search for Christian unity

On the morning of November 30, during his apostolic visit to Turkey, Pope Francis was present at the Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at Saint George’s Church, Phanar in Istanbul.

In his speech, Pope Francis spoke about the search for full communion between the Churches and cited three "voices" calling particularly for unity: the poor, victims of conflict and young people. Speaking about the latter, he added:

It is precisely the young who today implore us to make progress towards full communion. I think for example of the many Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant youth who come together at meetings organized by the Taizé community. They do not do this because they are not aware of the differences which still separate us, but because they are able to see beyond them; they are able to embrace what is really important and what already unites us.

The complete text is available in several languages.


The next international gathering led by Taizé will take place at the end of this year, with the participation of young Christians from throughout Europe, in Prague (Czech Republic), from December 29 to January 2, 2015.

Brother Jean-Philippe (1946-2014)

On November 10th, Brother Jean-Philippe died in Taizé. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, he was in his 69th year. After studying literature, he entered the community in 1969.

For a long time, he had been receiving treatment for a heart problem and his heart suddenly gave up whilst he was in his room. His funeral took place in the Church of Reconciliation on November 15th, in the presence of his sister, his brother-in-law and their four sons.

Very soon after his arrival in Taizé, Brother Roger discerned his skills and entrusted many important task to him, particularly in running the material side of the community’s life, and in the editing of books and journals published by Les Presses de Taizé.

At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, Brother Roger asked him to go periodically to the United States to support the brothers who at the time were living there. He spent several months with them in a poor neighbourhood called Hell’s Kitchen, and in Milwaukee in an African-American neigbourhood. He travelled with other brothers throughout the Midwest and Texas to help young adults prepare to come to the North American meeting that Taizé organised in Dayton, Ohio, in 1992.

He then returned to Taizé and continued with different administrative tasks, including following up the visa questions for young people, who came from distant lands, so that they could take part in the international meetings in Taizé.

When war broke out in the early 1990s in former Yugoslavia, he went to Croatia where there were many refugees. He prepared the stay in Taizé of several groups of children from Bosnia who were in need of respite. He also helped a family from Sarajevo to settle in the village of Taizé. They are still living there today.

Highly educated, this kind and humble man loved all that was beautiful. He was passionate about books and he always had good suggestions on what to read for brothers or others he met.

Throughout his life, he accompanied spiritually a number of people, many of whom expressed today agreement on the quality of his listening, his sensitivity, his respect and his serenity.

Brother Frank (1935-2014)

On January 16, Brother Frank, the brother in charge of the fraternity in Mymensingh (Bangladesh), died in his 79th year. He was born in the Netherlands, in the village of Gasselte in the province of Drenthe. After studying languages, he entered the Taizé Community in 1960.

For a long time he had a weak heart, and then lungs. Recently he felt worse and a rapid return to Taizé was decided. A nurse accompanied him. During a stopover in Istanbul he suffered a heart attack; he was hospitalized and died almost immediately. His body was brought back to Taizé, where his funeral took place on January 21 in the presence of his five siblings; he was the eldest.

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A lifetime of self-giving for the poorest of the poor has come to an end. Whatever the place where he spent time along with other brothers of the community, Brother Frank always gave priority to a life shared with the most abandoned, rooted in an intense search for God. At the end of 1964, Brother Roger asked him to make visits to the United States which led to the creation, in 1965, of the first fraternity on the American continent, in Wisconsin. From 1966 to 1971, he was in charge of a fraternity where a few brothers of Taizé and some Franciscan friars lived in a very poor neighborhood of Chicago. Then he spent a year with other brothers in Atlanta.

In 1972, Brother Frank changed continents. He was sent to Asia and made visits in India, where he established especially the first relations Taizé had with Mother Teresa. He then visited Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. In late 1974, a fraternity in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, began, in the city of Chittagong. From there, in 1978, he moved to Japan where, with other brothers, he began a fraternity in the marginal district of Miyadera in Tokyo. At the end of 1979, he helped begin a fraternity in Seoul, Korea, then he left for Calcutta in 1981, and returned permanently to Bangladesh in 1987. The brothers then went to live in the town of Mymensingh.

One day, Brother Frank described these long years of life shared with the poor of Bangladesh with these lines:

We find that those who are rejected by society because of their weakness and their apparent uselessness are a presence of God. If we welcome them, they gradually lead us out of a world of hyper-competition to a world of communion of hearts. As a gesture of communion with believers of Islam or with other believers, we make pilgrimages together with the disabled. This opens up our hearts. When we serve together the poor and the weak, they are the ones who bring us together; it is not we, the strong, who do this, but it is they who invite us to be together, with them.

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March 2013

Brother Alois in Canterbury

Brother Alois was in Canterbury on 21st March for the enthronement of the new Archbishop, Justin Welby. The next day he had the opportunity to greet him personally.

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Archbishop Justin Welby and brother Alois, 22 March 2013
©Picture Partnership/Lambeth Palace

During his sermon the Archbishop said that the church continues to have the power to transform society. Preaching to 2,000 people inside the cathedral and millions more watching and listening around the world, he spoke about how fear imprisons us and stops us from being fully human. Drawing on the story of Christ beckoning the disciples to walk on stormy waters, he recalled Jesus’ words: "Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid."

Archbishop Justin said that "our response to these words sets the pattern of our lives, for the church, for the whole of society."

Pope Francis, hope for renewal in the Church


Brother Alois, Prior of Taizé, writes

In Rome, in St. Peter’s Square, in the middle of the huge crowd of Romans and pilgrims from many countries, I was very happy about the first words of Pope Francis. We were expecting something new from this election and it happened. The origin of this first pope, come "from the ends of the earth," expresses the universal dimension of the Church. The name he chose evokes the joy and love of the poor that inspired Francis of Assisi and which, until now, have been at the heart of his life in Argentina.
 
He draws from the faith of Latin American Christians his vision of the relationship between the people and their bishop. "Let us set out on this road: the bishop and his people," "a path of brotherhood, love, and trust between us," he said, emphasizing his mission as Bishop of Rome. Those who were present in the square were visibly impressed that the new pope, before blessing them, asked for their prayers, bowing down and maintaining a long silence.
 
By asking to pray for his predecessor, Benedict XVI, he brought together continuity and the promise of something new. With the whole crowd present to greet and welcome him, I was touched that he widened our attention to a worldwide dimension by saying: "Let us pray for the whole world so that a great brotherhood may arise."
March 13, 2013

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With Pope Francis