Redemptorists at the European Youth Taizé Meeting

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(Wrocław, Poland) The 42nd European Youth Meeting, organized by the Ecumenical Community of Taizé, France, ended on the afternoon of January 1st. The participants of the event were hosted by the inhabitants of Wrocław and surrounding towns. The four-day meeting had the theme “Always on the move, never uprooted”. The common prayer and the experience of hospitality created an opportunity to seek answers to important life questions that young people ask themselves.

The Taizé meeting in Wrocław was also attended by several Redemptorists involved in youth ministry and representatives of youth from the parishes where Redemptorists work. Two confreres from the Holy Spirit Parish in Szczecinek share their experiences from participation in this event:

Fr. Tymoteusz Macioszek CSsR: It is said that young people run away from silence. Even if they do, you can see something absolutely unique at the Taizé meeting. Prayer without haste, strong emotions and effects. Simple design, a few icons, music full of peace, a short fragment of the word of God constantly repeated. And silence.

We went to Wrocław together with young people involved in our Redemptorist parish in Szczecinek (north-western Poland). We accepted the invitation to pray together with 20 thousand young people from all over Europe and the world for unity and peace. God winked at us to welcome us – we received accommodation in St. Clement Hofbauer parish run by the Jesuits in Wroclaw.

This year’s theme – always on the move and never uprooted – is very much in the spirit of our mission. We are not to look for comfort, but for lost sheep. That is why we should always be on the move,  still united with the Heart of God. We talked about it in groups. No matter where you came from, no matter what Christian denomination you belong to, here we have a common foundation. A common root: Jesus Christ, who can lead us to unity. The next meeting in Turin, we hope to meet our confreres from Italy and beyond!

Fr. Michał Wielgus CSsR: Together with Fr. Tymoteusz Macioszek and Sr. Boleslawa Sagan from the Congregation of Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and young people from our parish (13 people), we participated in the meeting in Wrocław. In Wroclaw we lived in two parishes. The young people were accommodated in the parish of St. Clement Dworzak, and us fathers and s. Boleslawa in the parish of St. Boniface.

After the morning prayers in the parish every day we went to the community prayers which usually took place in the Centennial Hall. Other places of prayer meetings were churches in the city centre. An important part of these meetings was the singing of Taizé canons, adoration of the cross and a longer moment of silent prayer. On the penultimate day, still in 2019, in the Centennial Hall, we participated in the Eucharist for the Polish group. The Mass was presided by Archbishop Józef Kupny, and the homily was delivered by Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś.

Singing prayers, group work and conferences were to focus our attention on the person of Jesus. The theme of this meeting was “Always on the road, never unrooted”. Therefore, we reflected on what makes each of us rooted in the faith we professed.

In the evening of the same day we celebrated New Year’s Eve together in parishes. It was another opportunity to pray for peace in the world and have fun among the nations. Representatives of each nationality present at the meeting prepared a presentation of their country. The Polish group performed, among others, the Polonaise dance, in which everyone joyfully joined together. On the last day of meeting, it was difficult for us to part.  Many of the participants exchanged phone numbers. This meeting with Jesus probably initiated their friendship, maybe for life.

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