Thousands of young people are currently converging on the Polish city of Wrocław for the 42nd European Meeting of Young People, sponsored by the Taizé Community, which is taking place from 28 December 2019 through 1 January 2020. It’s the third time that Wrocław has hosted the event, and the fifth time overall that the Meeting has been held in Poland.
The annual European gatherings, according to the Taizé website, “are part of a ‘pilgrimage of trust on earth’ led by Taizé for over forty years”. Participants are given the opportunity to “pray together, to be part of a local church… and to explore themes such as understanding among peoples, peace, questions of faith, and social commitment”.
The specific theme for this year’s gathering is: “Always on the move, never uprooted”.
Accompaniment in prayer
Pope Francis, as he does every year, has addressed a message to participants, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. Recalling that the meeting is taking place in Poland, the homeland of Pope St John Paul II, Cardinal Parolin said that “his successor, Pope Francis” is accompanying them in prayer, and encourages them to explore more deeply the theme chosen for the event.
“Poland is a country that has its roots in the Faith”, the Cardinal said; and it is that faith which enabled the Polish people “to stand firm in great trials, when hope was shattered”. These Christians, he said, “dared to believe in another future”.
Rooted in the faith, called to reach out
Cardinal Parolin encouraged the young people to learn from their example, “to discover together to what extent being rooted in the Faith calls you and prepares you to reach out to others, to respond to the new challenges of our societies, especially the perils that weigh on our common home”.
He said that, like Abraham, young people “will discover there is much joy in setting out on a journey, sometimes… without knowing the destination in advance”. “Always be ready for new departures”, he said, “to bear witness to the Gospel, and to be fully present to those around you, especially the poorest and most unfortunate”.
Cardinal Parolin assured the young people that Pope Francis sends his blessing to all of them, to the Taizé community, and to the families and parishes that will host them during the time of the meeting. He concluded the message from Pope Francis with the hope that “the faith of Mary, also left ‘in haste’ [to visit Elizabeth; cf. Lk 1:39), might sustain the impulse of your trust in her Son”.
(Source: Vatican News)
WCC general secretary letter to the Taizé community gathering in Wrocław
27 December 2019
Dear Brother Alois,
As you and the Taizé community gather this month in Wrocław, Poland, for the next stop in your Pilgrimage of Trust, I want, on behalf of the whole worldwide fellowship of Christians, to convey my greetings, promise my prayers, and send encouragement to you and to the thousands of young people journeying there.
As always, your meeting in Wrocław will be marked by hospitality and spirituality. Young pilgrims and residents will cross social, cultural, and religious boundaries to encounter each other and to share deep communion with God. It is a sign of new life and a crossroads moment for all of us. Further, you meet just after Christmas, when we ponder God’s incarnation in Jesus. In him we learn that God stands with us, suffers with us, abides with us, and is at work in us. No matter where we are in our journey, we are never uprooted from the love of Christ. At the beginning of a new year, we can then lift our hearts in genuine hope for a new day, when the seeds of contemplation and solidarity can enliven the creative energies of committed youth working for a better life for all in Europe.
You inspire us. The Taizé experience in so many ways exemplifies what we continue to find on our Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, namely, that the journey itself calls forth our better selves. As disciples, we are continually transformed by the encounter with God and each other, eager to break down barriers—of nation, race, gender, or creed—and build community. In the words of our next assembly’s theme, “Christ’s love moves us to reconciliation and unity.”
Christ is not bound to or limited to any nation or nationalist agenda. Christ’s love pervades the one human family, the world, indeed the whole of God’s creation. Any discrimination or exclusion contradicts the love of Christ and endangers those who are stigmatized or excluded. The experience of the 20th century teaches us that.
We pray for every blessing on the encounter in Wrocław. May this next stage on Taizé’s Pilgrimage of Trust enable each and every participant to grow in the love of Christ and reveal a new dawn for all of us.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
World Council of Churches
(Source: World Council of Churches)