Thursday, December 24, 2009

Taize pilgrims descend on Poland

Around 30,000 young pilgrims will descend on Poznań, Poland, for the annual Taizé gathering.

The ecumenical community, started by Frère Roger in 1944, meets every year in a different European city and embraces a plurality of traditions with a typically high church style of worship.

This year pilgrims will focus on a letter written by the prior of Taizé, Brother Alois, inspired by his recent visit to China.

Brother Alois took over the leadership after Frère Roger was tragically stabbed to death in 2005.

Young people will receive Brother Alois’ ‘letter from China’, reflecting on his visits to the Christians in that country over three weeks.

Prompted by the letter, pilgrims will explore themes such as ‘longing’, ‘desire’, ‘thirsting for life in fullness’ and ‘sharing what we have’.

More than 20 topics will be explored in seminars and workshops over the week, discussing doubt, poverty and art.

One seminar will focus on the paintings of Polish artist, Jacek Malczewski (1854-1929).

Archbishop Rowan Williams said: “In these days, you will be sharing your thoughts about many of the most pressing challenges of our world.

“At the heart of all the questions is one that is perhaps the most urgent and searching of all: what is it to live a truly human life?”

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the gathering.

He said: “I welcome your emphasis on community. Alone, we can achieve very little. But collective action can change the world for the better.

“I particularly welcome your emphasis at this year’s Pilgrimage on social issues, including the meaning of freedom… Thank you for your support of that global mission, and for your own commitment to justice, solidarity and peace.”

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