Taizé Workshop at SASMA


TAGAYTAY CITY—Seminarians of the St. Augustine Major Seminary participated in a workshop on prayer in the way of Taizé last 2017 February 03.

Ms. Melanie Santos from the Episcopal Commission on Youth Secretariat and Mr. Frence Boiser from the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines facilitated the workshop.  Staff members of the ECY Secretariat assisted them.

The afternoon activity commenced with a getting-to-know activity, followed by a time for sharing about prayer and its importance in everyday life.  An input was given on the kinds of prayer, followed by a short video which introduced the meditative prayer in the style of Taizé.

Among the highlights of the workshop was the reading of the 2017 letter from the Prior of the Taizé Community, Br. Alois, entitled “Together, Opening Paths of Hope”.  The four proposals in that letter emphasizing openness and simplicity also echoed with the theme for 2017 of the SASMA community.  Another highlight was the meaningful discussion on the flow of the Taizé common prayer and how it can become a practice for the Filipino youth.

The seminarians immediately had the chance to apply what they learned as they prepared the prayer space, chants, and readings for the evening prayer, which culminated the workshop.


The assembly divided into small groups for sharing

One of the small groups of seminarians

One of the small groups of seminarians

One of the small groups of seminarians

One of the small groups of seminarians

Taize Prayer Schedules in the Philippines

The following are the regular schedules of Taize prayer in the Philippines:

Every Monday
Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace-Our Lady of EDSA, Mandaluyong City (Archdiocese of Manila)
After the 5:30 PM Mass

Every Friday
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Cathedral, Maasin, Southern Leyte (Diocese of Maasin)
7:00 PM

Every Saturday
San Isidro Labrador Gagmayong Kristohanong Katilingban-GKK (Basic Ecclesial Community-BEC), Davao City (Archdiocese of Davao)
7:00 PM

Every 1st Friday of the month
St. Joseph Bamboo Organ, Las Pinas City (Diocese of Paranaque)
After the 6:00 PM Mass
St. Peter Thelmo Parish, Aparri, Cagayan (Archdiocese of Tuguegarao)

Every 1st Saturday of the month
Holy Family Parish, Pasig City (Diocese of Pasig)

Every 2nd Saturday of the month
San Roque Parish, Pateros (Diocese of Pasig)
St. John the Baptist Parish, Taytay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo)

Every 3rd Saturday of the month
St. Clare of Assisi Parish, Santa Clara, Santo Tomas, Batangas (Archdiocese of Lipa)
6:00 PM

Every 4th Saturday of the month
Nuestra SeÒora del Santissimo Rosario Parish, Lantic, Carmona, Cavite (Diocese of Imus)

Every last Saturday of the month
Jesus of Nazareth Parish, Quezon City (Diocese of Novaliches)
7:30 PM

Once a month
Santuario de Santo Cristo, San Juan City (Archdiocese of Manila)

The Courage of Mercy – Taizé

Throughout the year 2015, at Taizé, we looked for ways to get involved in new solidarities; these are so urgent today. Across the earth, new forms of distress — migratory, ecological and social — are a challenge for believers of different religions and for non-believers alike.

Armed violence is wreaking havoc in the name of inhuman ideologies. While remaining clear-headed, we shall continue our “pilgrimage of trust” as a way of resisting the fear generated by insecurity. It is even more urgent that those who are looking forward to — or already living — a globalization of solidarity support one another.

When the storm rages, a house built on rock remains stable (Matthew 7:24-25). We want to build our lives on the words of Christ, and so our rock will consist of a few basic Gospel realities, accessible to all: joy – simplicity – mercy. Brother Roger set these at the heart of the life of our Taizé Community; they enabled him to keep going, even in difficult times. He assimilated them in order to return to them day after day.

These three words will guide us on our journey over the next three years. In 2016, we shall begin with mercy, in the same spirit as the Year of Mercy launched by Pope Francis.

The Gospel calls us to bear witness to God’s compassion. Here are five proposals to awaken in us the courage of mercy.

Brother Alois

First Proposal
Entrust ourselves to God who is mercy

You are a God who forgives, a gracious and compassionate God, patient and abounding in love. (Nehemiah 9:17)

Be merciful as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

According to the Bible God is mercy, in other words compassion and kindness. By telling the parable of the father and his two sons (Luke 15), Jesus shows us that God’s love does not depend on the good we can do; it is given unconditionally. The father loves the son who remains faithful his whole life long. And he already holds out his hands to one who left him, while that son is still far away.

God created humankind in his image. So “you come to be in the likeness of God by acquiring goodness. Acquire a heart of mercy and kindness in order to be clothed with Christ” (Basil of Caesarea, fourth century).

God’s love is not just for a moment, but for all time. By our compassion, we can be a reflection of this love. As Christians, we share with so many believers of other religions the concern to place mercy and kindness at the centre of our lives.

++ Let us welcome God’s love. God never closes his heart to us and God’s faithful goodness is our constant safeguard, even when our faults cause us to stumble. If we have turned away from God, we should not be afraid to return and to put our trust in him; God always comes to meet us.

++ We should not view prayer as a laborious search, but rather welcome it as a time to stop and breathe, when the Holy Spirit fills us with God’s love and enables us to continue a life of mercy.

Second Proposal
Forgive again and again

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:12-13)

Peter came up to Jesus and asked him, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

God’s forgiveness never fails. In the course of his entire life and even on the cross, Christ forgave; he refused to condemn anyone.

To know that we have been forgiven and to forgive in our turn — this is one of the most liberating joys. It is the source of the inner peace that Christ wants to communicate to us.

The Church, the gathering of those who love Christ, is called to let herself be transformed by mercy. “When the Church listens, heals and reconciles, it becomes what it is at its most luminous — a communion of love, of compassion, of comfort, a clear reflection of the Risen Christ. Never distant, never on the defensive, freed from all harshness, it can cause the humble trusting of faith to radiate right down into our human hearts.” (Brother Roger)

God’s message of forgiveness cannot be used to justify evil or injustices. On the contrary, it makes us freer to recognize our faults, as well as the faults and injustices around us and in the world. It is up to us to put right whatever can be made right.

++ Let us try to forgive — even seventy times seven times. If the wound is too big, we can try and go forward step by step. Before it emerges, the desire to forgive can sometimes remain overshadowed for a long time by the wrongs suffered.

++ We can show that the Church is a community of mercy by being open, without discrimination, to those around us, by showing hospitality, by refraining from judging others categorically, by defending the oppressed, by forging an all-embracing and generous heart…

Third Proposal
Draw near to a situation of distress, alone or with a few others

If you give yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10)

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no mercy on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:17)

The icon of mercy shows Christ looking at us with love and telling us the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10): a man is left half-dead on the roadside; a priest and a Levite pass by and continue on their way; a foreigner, from the land of Samaria, approaches the wounded man, takes care of him and brings him to an inn.

Mercy opens our hearts to the hardship of others, to hidden forms of distress, to material poverty as well as to all other kinds of suffering: a child going through a hard time, a family in difficulty, a homeless person, a young adult who sees no meaning in his or her life, an elderly woman or man who is alone, an exile — as well as those who have no access to education, art or culture.

In the poor, it is Christ himself who hopes for our compassion and who says to us, “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat” (Matthew 25). “Out of compassion, Christ takes upon himself the sufferings of every human being. In his goodness he mysteriously shares the suffering which is in each person until the end of the world” (Maximus the Confessor, seventh century).

When we have been wounded by trials, Christ takes care of us. His look of affection can reveal itself through someone who comes near to us, sometimes through a person who is looked down upon, like the stranger in the parable, the Samaritan.

++ Let us dare to draw near, alone or with a few others, to a situation of distress around us, on our roadside. Mercy is not sentimental but demanding; it knows no limits. A law sets clear limits to a duty, whereas mercy never says, “That’s enough; I have done my duty.”

Fourth Proposal
Extending mercy to its social dimensions

I am the Lord, who acts with kindness, justice and righteousness on earth. (Jeremiah 9:23)

This is what the Lord requires of you: to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

In the heart of God, all human beings make up a single family. So mercy extends to ever vaster dimensions.

For a worldwide solidarity to become a reality, it is indispensable to strengthen the international institutions that set rules democratically in order to ensure greater justice and to keep the peace.

The debt of poor countries is often caused by more powerful nations and corporations exploiting their resources. Even if it seems impossible for us to do anything to change this, we can remember that forgiving this debt is a way of restoring justice. In a context different from today’s, the Bible reminds us: “If any of your kin become poor and are unable to support themselves, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you” (Leviticus 25:35).

Across the world, women, men and children are being forced to leave their homelands. Their plight generates in them a motivation stronger than any barriers. Rich countries must become aware that they bear a share of the responsibility for the wounds of history that have led to massive migrations, notably from Africa and the Middle East.

++ It is important to realize that, even if the influx of refugees and migrants creates difficult problems, this can also be a positive opportunity. Those who knock at the door of countries richer than their own inspire these countries to live in solidarity with them. Do they not help them to gain new vitality? By tackling together the challenges presented by a wave of migrants, the countries of the European community can recover a dynamism that has subsided.

++ We need to go beyond the fear of strangers and of cultural differences. Such fear is comprehensible — those who help to welcome migrants generously are sometimes totally worn out. Fear will not diminish, however, by isolating ourselves behind walls, but rather by going toward those whom we do not yet know. Instead of seeing in the stranger a threat to our standard of living or our culture, is it not urgent to welcome one another as members of one and the same human family?

Fifth Proposal
Mercy for the whole of creation

Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest. (Exodus 23:12)

For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. (Exodus 23:10)

In the language of its time, the Bible calls us to extend our compassion to the environment, to respect all living creatures, not to work the land without discernment. A Christian of Mesopotamia wrote, “A compassionate heart cannot stand to see the least evil or the least sadness in the midst of creation” (Isaac the Syrian, seventh century).

The primary victims of ecological disasters are usually the very poor. The effects of climate change are already forcing many people to leave the places where they live.

The earth belongs to God; human beings receive it as a gift. We are entrusted with an immense responsibility: to take care of the planet, not to waste its resources. The earth is limited, and human beings too need to consent to their limits.

The earth is our common home and today it is suffering. There is no room for indifference in the face of environmental catastrophes, the disappearance of entire species, the threats to biodiversity, or the massive deforestation in certain parts of the globe.

++ How can we express our solidarity with the whole of creation? By making decisions that affect our daily lives, by giving serious consideration to our activities as consumers or citizens, by making a conscious choice for a simpler lifestyle. Simplifying our way of life can be a source of joy. There are people who take initiatives like fasting for the climate and for justice on the first day of every month. Taking such steps to show God’s mercy for everything which is a part of our common home, the Earth, is not something optional; it is a condition for living on it in happiness.



Source: Taize.fr

Memoirs of a Taizé Permanent

Prayer works!


I have always dreamt of travelling to other countries. Being raised in a family which is not able to afford this privilege, I kept this dream locked up in my heart.


When I was new to the Youth Ministry, I was invited to attend a prayer. They explained that the prayer will have a lot of singing and a long period of silence. This intrigued me because I have always lived in a busy city and I got used to a vibrant, lively and energetic youth ministry. How could so many young people stay quiet for such a long time? What do you do during silence? Pray? Sleep?


After my first prayer in the way of Taizé, I got hooked to this way of praying. I had the chance to connect with God by singing the chants repeatedly and feeling God’s presence during the time of silence. Since then, I always came to Taizé prayers in the archdiocese. Little by little, I got to know more about the brothers and the community.


In May 2014, I was given the chance to apply for a slot to go to the Taizé Community in France. A few weeks later, I received the confirmation that I was qualified and was informed that I would leave later in the year.


In coming to Taizé during the winter months, I needed to prepare myself to spend Christmas and New Year thousands of miles away from home. I also had to adjust to the climate and the different cultures of the different people I had to live with. Thankfully, I was able to breeze through all of those challenges and focus on my mission in Taizé: to reflect, especially on the theme of the European meeting in Prague, of being “salt of the earth.”


When you go to Taizé, you have to participate in the common life which includes praying three times a day and helping out with some practical things. During the latter, it allows you to get to know the people whom you share the common life with. I was also given the chance to meet a lot of young people who came to Taizé for a week or just a few days. I met believers (Catholics and Protestants), non-believers (those who do not believe in God or a God but have open minds) and seekers (those who are seeking their faith). Through them, I was able to share the joy of the Good News and the joy that radiates from every Filipino. This is, for me, one way of being “salt of the earth.”


“If salt loses its taste, it would be of no use.” When sharing, you must also have the capacity to receive. I also needed to nourish myself during those days. I received this nourishment during the silence, especially when I spent a whole week in silence. According to Brother James, “Silence is a time to be alone, to know that you’re not”. During the whole week, we had daily Bible reflections in the mornings and plenty of time to take long walks around nearby villages in the afternoons. I took this time to remain in God by opening my whole being to Him and most importantly to listen to His voice. It was also during these times that I truly understood the fruits of silence. As my contact brother explained, silence is a time to “rest in God”. It became a time for me to reflect on my day, the reading or the message of the icons that are found around the Church. It also somehow amazed me to see so many young people being silent together for eight to ten minutes, three times a day. During these times of being in silence, our relationship with God became even stronger.


One of the many gifts of Taizé is friendship. I have grown a love for the Icon of Friendship. It reminds me of the friendship that God extends to us; in return, it is a call for us to share this to others. Staying in a community for three months allows you to form strong friendships. This may mainly be because faith was one of the foundations of this friendship and God is at the center of this. These friends became our family in Taizé. It is hard for us Filipinos to be away from our families for a long time especially during the Christmas season. During these days, our friends in Taizé made us feel like we were home. I was also able to appreciate the sacrifices that overseas Filipino workers make for their families to have a better life.

Kevin 2

When the opportunity to come to Taizé happened, I have been active in the archdiocese for a few years and I was always busy that I did not even have the time to arrange some of my documents. But through constant prayers, with the intercession of St. John Paul II and St. Therese of Lisieux, I was able to work everything out. I just needed to turn to God and remain in Him.


“God, gather and turn my thoughts to you. With You there is light. You do not forget me. With You there is help and patience. I do not understand Your ways, but You know the way for me.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Archdiocese of Jaro, Winter 2015

The year 2015 in Taize

From 1940 to 2015…

In August 1940, at the beginning of the Second World War, Brother Roger arrived in the village of Taizé. He had just turned 25, and was laying the foundations of a community which he hoped would be as a parable of communion, a ferment of reconciliation in the human family:

“I think that, ever since I was young, the intuition that a life of community could be a sign that God is love, and love alone, has never left me. Little by little the conviction arose in me that it was essential to create a community with men who had decided to give their entire lives, and who would try to understand one another and to be reconciled, a community where heartfelt kindness and simplicity would be at the center of everything.”

Brother Roger

Today, the Taizé Community is made up of about 100 brothers, Catholics and from different Protestant backgrounds, from close to thirty countries.

Brother Roger died on 16 August 2005, at the age of 90; he was killed by a deranged person during evening prayer.

Throughout the year 2015, the community is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its foundation and it invites everyone to remember its founder, 100 years after his birth and ten years after his death.

To prepare for 2015, Brother Alois, Brother Roger’s successor as prior of the community, proposed a three-year time of searching to renew, in the light of the Gospel, our commitment to human solidarity.

Download a flyer with information about the year 2015 in Taizé


Gathering for a New Solidarity

From 9-16 August 2015

The climax of the 2015 celebrations, this week will also be the culmination of three years dedicated to searching for a “new solidarity”.

Young adults between 18 and 35 years are invited to come to Taizé especially that week.

Arrival: Sunday  9 August between 2pm and 6pm. Some people plan to make a pilgrimage on foot from Cluny or Cormatin. 
Departure: Sunday 16 August after 7pm.

Bible reflections and workshops with speakers from different Churches and different continents. Friday: prayer around the Cross. Saturday evening: outdoor celebration of the light of the Resurrection.

During the week from 9 to 16 August, particular attention will be given to people in situations of precariousness in different parts of the world. A solidarity fund will permit people of all social conditions to spend the week together in Taizé.

For more details see Information and Program.



16 August 2015 – Prayer of thanksgiving in memory of Brother Roger

Sunday at 4pm

Prayer open to all, in presence of Church leaders, representatives of other religions and young people from every continent.

To take part in this prayer, we invite the young people:
- who are spending the week of 9-16 August in Taizé to remain until Sunday 7pm;
- who are spending the week of 16-23 August in Taizé to arrive on Sunday morning.

For practical information: info2015@taize.fr.

International Meetings in Taize

As every year, week-long international meetings will take place on the hill of Taizé in 2015, from one Sunday to the next.

Each day, three times of prayer with the community. Bible reflection followed by small-group sharing or a time of silence. Workshops to deepen the relationship between faith and different aspects of life in society.

For the dates concerning different age-groups, see the page Dates 2015.

Throughout the year 2015 there will be special exhibitions, workshops and events.

For other practical information: info2015@taize.fr.




Be a Volunteer

Be a Volunteer at Taizé in 2015

In 2015, in addition to the volunteers who spend several months at Taizé for an experience of prayer, service and community life, the brothers invite young adults between 18 and 29:

- to help out in Taizé from 2 to 23 August;
- to live elsewhere for a few weeks in small provisional communities (see Small Provisional Communities).

This invitation is for all, but especially for those who have been to Taizé several times and those who have already been volunteers with the community. For more information contact:info2015@taize.fr.

To come to Taizé as a volunteer for a longer period, you can find more information at: Volunteering in Taizé.

Visit from the Taize Community

The two Brothers of the Taize Community are visiting the Philippines. Their visit is part of their continuing commitment to the pilgrimage of trust on earth.

The Brothers will be in the Philippines on 07-26 October 2014, and will come to visit many dioceses, parishes and other communities for prayer, recollection or encounter with young people.

The following are their schedule of visits:

07 October      
Little Sisters of Jesus
09 October      
Diocese of Cabanatuan
De La Salle University
10 October      
Immaculate Conception, Diocese of Malolos
10-11 October
Chiro Youth Movement

11 October
Diocese of Alaminos
Holy Family Parish, Diocese of Pasig
12 October  
St. Augustine Parish, Archdiocese of Pampanga
 Jesus of Nazareth Parish, Diocese of Novaliches
13 October
CBCP Chapel
14 October
Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral Parish, Diocese of Imus
14-15 October
Prelature of Isabela
15 October
St. Pedro Poveda College
16 October
Sta Cruz Parish, Archdiocese of  Manila
18 October
NCYM2014, Diocese of Kalibo
19 October
Estancia, Archdiocese of Jaro
20-22 October
NCYM2014, Diocese of Kalibo
23 October
Ateneo de Manila Grade School
San Ildefonso Parish, Diocese of Kalookan
24 October
Mary Help of Christians School,  Pampanga
Rogationists Seminary, Diocese of  Paranaque
25 October 
Archdiocese of Cebu
CLCP National Convention
26 October 
St. John Bosco Parish, Makati
St. Benedict Parish, Diocese of Novaliches
Union Church, Makati


Easter prayer by brother Alois, April 2014

“Christ Jesus, inner light, since your resurrection you have been invisibly present for each human being. You gave your life so that we might know that God is forgiveness and goodness. Lead us to welcome your love: it is healing; it is joy; it invites us to live for others.”


This prayer can be found in many languages in a document that was distributed on Easter morning to all the visitors present at Taizé:http://www.taize.fr/IMG/pdf/2014easterprayer.pdf



Four Proposals for “seeking visible communion among all who love Christ”

The Letter “Towards a New Solidarity”, continues to be the basis of the common journey that is leading us by stages to 2015. It commits us for the coming year to “seeking visible communion among all who love Christ.” Here are four proposals to join in this search.

Christ extended his friendship to all, without rejecting anyone. Those who love Christ all across the earth form, in his steps, a large community of friendship. This is called communion. For this reason, they have a contribution to make in healing the wounds of humanity: without wanting to impose themselves, they can promote a globalization of solidarity which excludes no people and no single person.
How can each person take part in this?

First Proposal – Join a local praying community

Love one another; by this love all will know that you are my disciples. (John 13:34-35)

On some occasions, such as international meetings, this community of friendship becomes visible. But these events are occasional. In every place, a portion of this large community can be found, even if a very poor one. It is not possible to live faith all by ourselves. Faith is born when there is an experience of communion, when we discover that Christ is the source of an unrestricted unity.

If local communities (also called parishes), groups and chaplaincies were increasingly to become places of friendship! Warm and welcoming places where we support one another, where we are attentive to those who are weak, to foreigners, to people who do not share our ideas…

A suggestion for all: could taking part in Sunday worship, or some other activities as well, even with people you did not choose, enable you to have an experience of communion?

A suggestion for local pastoral leaders: listen to young people; discern and welcome what they can bring to the local community; make older people aware of this.

Second Proposal – Extend friendship beyond the boundaries that limit us

Whatever you do to one of the least, you do to me. (Matthew 25:40)

Jesus was attentive to everyone he met, especially the poor, children, those who seemed unimportant. Following him, we can cross boundaries to join those in need. We can undertake acts of solidarity, together with Christians of different affiliations, and also with people who do not share our faith.

Whether the poverty is material or spiritual, solidarity implies a two-way sharing: in providing assistance, we are often the ones who receive.

A suggestion for all: why not choose, for one year, a situation in the neighborhood and people to whom a presence of friendship could be offered, solidarity be shown: to the outcast, the poor, the ill, those suffering from disabilities, abandoned children, immigrants, the unemployed…?

A suggestion for local pastoral leaders: help young people find situations where solidarity is necessary and possible.

Third Proposal – Share and pray regularly with others

Where two or three are together in my name, I am there in their midst. (Matthew 18:20)

For some young people, painful trials, abandonment, solitude, or the keen awareness of the injustices in the world can make it almost impossible to have faith in God. Believing is always a risk—the risk of trusting.

With whom can I journey and reflect about my faith?

A suggestion for all: rather than staying alone with one’s questions, find a few other people to share with, once a week or once a month. Read together a page of the Gospel or another reading. Pray together with songs, a Bible reading, a long period of silence.

A suggestion for local pastoral leaders: encourage and support these small groups of sharing and prayer; help them to remain open and welcoming to others.

Fourth Proposal – Make the communion among all who love Christ more visible

You are the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:27)

In our village, our city and our region, there are people who also love Christ, but in a different way than we do. Calling ourselves “Christians” means bearing the name of Christ. We receive our identity as Christians through baptism, which unites us to Christ. Let us try to give more visibility to this common identity, instead of emphasizing our denominational identities.

When differences appear to be incompatible, that is no reason to separate. During his life, Christ went beyond boundaries and, on the cross, he stretched out his arms from one side to the other, between those who are divided. If Christians want to follow Christ and let God’s light shine in the world, they cannot remain divided. It is the Holy Spirit who unites us.

A suggestion for all: Why not go towards those who are different, another group, another parish, another movement, another denomination, a Christian community of migrants…? We can make visits, let others welcome us, invite them. We can turn together to Christ in a simple prayer, putting ourselves “under one roof” without waiting for everything to be fully harmonized, and in this way we can live in anticipation of full communion.

A suggestion for local pastoral leaders: in pastoral work, do together with Christians of other denominations all that can be done together; do nothing without taking others into account.


You can also download the Filipino version of the proposals: four_proposals_for_2014_-_filipino

Source: Taize.fr

Taizé: Holding firm in the faith


Holding firm in the faith

Pia, from the Philippines, took part in a retreat organised by the ‘Youth Commission’ of the Bishops’ Conference of her country, and run by two brothers of Taizé. The aim was to reflect on the theme of the 2012 Letter ‘Towards a New Solidarity’. She shares with us some thoughts following this retreat:


JPEG - 20.4 kb


“For the past two years and still now, I have been a volunteer secretary of the Hacienda Luisita Peasant Supporters Network. Hacienda Luisita is a 50-year-old effort by 6,296 farmworker beneficiaries, for the 6,435 hectares of land, as big and wide as the cities of Makati and Manila when combined.

Time and again in just my two years helping to advance the cause of the farmers for genuine agrarian reform, in my limited capacity as a poet, writer, Catholic Christian and advocate, countless times I came across the word solidarity, as part of a statement, or as a rallying theme in a forum, or in a gathering.”

Brother Alois’ Letter invites us to a new solidarity, for, in the world, the growing gap between the rich and the poor is proof that we have not known how to show enough diligence in our role as Christians.

“The retreat reiterated to me the life I had already been living out. My love of God translated and reflected on my love towards people entrusted to me, or to communities I create. New Solidarity does not only mean doing more for the people, but is also about finding new roots, from which we can all grow together in perfect unity as members of the human family. Ang hirap! I am no saint. Tarnished with sins, I am not a perfect Christian to be a paragon of how faith and love of God must be. But a verse from a song of Taizé reminds me that nothing can ever come between me and the love of God, the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. For even in the story of Cain and Abel, we are led to remember that even as we sin, God never abandons us. Even Christ’s choice of community, friends and disciples, were not all saints to start with. And, this is not even about wanting to be a saint, but at the bottom line, striving to be human.


JPEG - 22.3 kb


Truly, as with most experiences of retreats for me, I am recharged. I am energized with loads of spare, fully charged, batteries of reflections and prayers that will guide each of my ways until the next stop comes. My mission is to serve the people. A mission shared with a community. All of whom, surely, have chosen to hope and to love, as we embrace this same mission. The last two paragraphs of the Letter from Taizé: ‘Towards a New Solidarity’ pose a challenge that will surely keep on ringing in my head. The last word in the last question is a word that, for the month after the retreat and up to the date that I am writing this, gives purpose to every morning for me. The ultimate challenge that propels me to serve even more… To love even more!”

Visit in 2011: The pilgrimage of trust accompanies many young Filipinos in their everyday life


JPEG - 29.9 kb


Well before our arrival in Manila, we had already noted that the Asian stage of the pilgrimage of trust in February 2010 had found an echo and continued to inspire young people, even more than a year later. Young people from Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and elsewhere told us how much the friendships made with the Filipinos remained alive. Some were returning to the Philippines to visit their new friends, to pray together, to support and strengthen these links, not just by internet, but by the concrete sign of a visit.

For we brothers, our three week visit at the end of May 2011 was also an opportunity to look afresh at all that we had been able to live together with our Filipino friends over these last years.


JPEG - 28.7 kb


Our visit was marked by very diverse meetings in different regions of the country. On Mindanao, we went to Kitcharao (Butuan), in the Visayas to Cebu and to Iloilo, in the region of Luzon to Imus, to Manila and the surrounding area, to San Fernando (Pampanga), to Dagupan and as far north as Tabuk. We prayed during a summer camp with 600 young people and met seminarians and theology students.

At some places there were afternoons based on the ‘Letter from Chilé’, common prayers, bible introductions and sharing groups on the letter’s themes: joy, compassion, forgiveness. Afterwards the young people told of their experiences. How can joy be lived when everyday life is often tough and confronts us with the many challenges arising from the country’s problems? How can one care for others and broaden communion when frontiers and differences seem insurmountable, even within our own parish communities? What does it mean to ‘live forgiveness’ when deep wounds affect us, even through people very close to us?


JPEG - 21.7 kb


Almost everywhere there were young people who had been to Taizé during the last few years, sent for a time by their dioceses or youth organisations. We met one person who had been to Taizé in 1991 and who is today seeking how to make possible a better future for the most impoverished through microcredit. Some young people who had returned from Taizé at the beginning of the year, and whose experiences were still fresh, invited us for prayers and sharing in their parishes.

At Manila, regular prayers continue in many of the communities that welcomed pilgrims during the meeting in 2010. We were touched by the joy with which these young people prepared the prayers. With plants, icons, candles, stones, fabrics, they decorated the places of prayer simply and beautifully, especially in the poor neighbourhoods of the city. All this opened us to the mysterious presence of God.
After one of these prayers, those who had taken part in the pilgrimage of trust told us what they had experienced and what of this remains today in their everyday life. We were astonished to hear what had had an effect on their lives as young people. Here are some of their remarks:

“This experience has changed my life. I am more confident after this pilgrimage of trust.”
“I found an interior peace during the prayers. I was able to centre myself on God, to talk to God in a personal way.”
“I discovered silence. In silence I listened to God’s voice and I never want to lose the passion for prayer. The pilgrimage of trust showed me the way.”
“There was a communion beyond all differences and I felt that I counted for God, and that if one trusts God, nothing is impossible.”
“People trust in me because I gained in confidence during the pilgrimage.”

When we took our leave of each other, many asked us the question: “When will you be coming back? Where will the next stage of the pilgrimage of trust be?”

Continuing the pilgrimage of trust after the Manila meeting


JPEG - 13.1 kb


When we returned to the Philippines after Easter, we were able to see that the pilgrimage of trust is continuing in Manila and in several regions of the country. Several thousand young adults took part in the international meeting in Manila in February. For five days, they prayed together and reflected on the theme: “A thirst for life in fullness – a call to transform the world” (Letter from China). The effect of these days naturally continued within them when they got back to their parishes and communities, and many of them wished to continue the way of the pilgrimage.

It was impressive to see how that the pilgrims to Manila had shared their experiences with those who had not been able to go to the meeting.

Just after we arrived, we set off by bus for San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, where young people from several dioceses of central Luzon had gathered for five days in a local pilgrimage. During the day, the young people were in their host families for sharing on a Bible text – like a “Lectio Divina” between people of different generations, and here the people often live from what they produce on their farms. Towards evening, just before sunset, the young people converged from all over on a large space in front of a rice mill for evening prayer. As the prayer began, the setting sun flooded the icons with its golden light. It was a beautiful end to the day.


JPEG - 10.8 kb


At Legazpi, nearly a thousand young people were preparing to be “observers” at the elections on 10 May. Church groups undertake a commitment in the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) in order to verify by their presence – during the campaign and in the polling stations on election day itself – that the elections be correct, honest, just and peaceful. Young people from the entire region met on the Thursday evening. We began with prayer. Many of them had come in order to draw their strength from their relation to God, in prayer and song, in listening to the Word of God and in silence, in view of the important service they were giving. During the whole night, there were workshops dealing with practical preparation. Before sunrise, we came together on a hill in front of the imposing mass of the Mayon volcano to celebrate mass with Bishop Joel Baylon, in charge of youth ministry in the Philippines. The beauty of creation that morning was overwhelming. At the same time, the volcano reminded us of the challenges that God always anew puts before us. But in his homily, the bishop encouraged the participants by reminding them that it is in God that we find the strength for our commitments.


JPEG - 17.1 kb


We were also invited to a meeting at Malabalay, in Mindanao. Those who cooperate in the youth ministry had come together to coordinate their efforts over the coming years and they wanted to complete this with prayer, a Bible introduction, exchanges in small groups. Volunteers from the parish prepared the meals over an open fire in the garden. Then we continued with evening prayer. The people of Mindanao deeply wish for a peaceful solution for the conflict that has gone on for so long in their region. The young people want to prepare ways of peace by their lives. Young Christians from Mindanao had brought Moslem friends to the Manila meeting. Nor Asiah Madale Adialao, a young Moslem woman, wrote in the regional newspaper of the Church in Mindanao:

“Taizé… a way of peace and dialogue. During my years of commitment for inter-religious dialogue, I realised that I was only one of the rare ordinary people who dream of a peaceful world, a world where people of different cultures and orientations can live together… My life has led me to a personal encounter with Taizé’s pilgrimage of trust. Having seen a Catholic priest, an indigenous sister and myself, a confirmed disciple of Islam, share the same aspiration for peace and dialogue, I continue to be astonished when I see people of different orientations becoming true partners for building peace. That experience marked a new stage in understanding and developing the essence of dialogue. As a Moslem woman, I cannot forget the warm hospitality of the congregation of sisters who welcomed us. It was wonderful to be welcomed with such a joyful heart. I was particularly moved when everybody shared in a time of prayer; a moment that was so calm that I heard almost nothing but my own thoughts and my sincere desire for a lasting peace with people from all walks of life.”


JPEG - 25.4 kb


In Bohol, similar prayers and meetings brought together young adults in Talibon and Tagbilaran. For the 12 May we were invited to Puerto Princessa (Palawan). In February, the young people had started praying in solidarity with the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, as Brother Alois had invited them to do during the Manila meeting. Similar prayers continue all around Manila. Some people are still using the songs books that were distributed in February, so as to be able to sing with others the new translations and adaptations in Tagalog. We were very happy to be invited to certain communities who had welcomed young people in February; Catholic parishes of different dioceses and assemblies of Union Church at Makati.

What a joy to meet again the fifty boys in the prison for minors. We had already visited them on Ash Wednesday, to pray together and to reflect on forgiveness. So it was quite possible to visit them again after Easter. Meanwhile, many of them had learned the songs by heart. In the spirit of the joy of Easter we prayed and exchanged the peace and joy that the disciples experienced on Easter Day, when they met the Risen Christ. As we were leaving the boys were gesticulating and asking, “Please come back and pray for us!” Visiting one another, praying together, listening to one another, sharing the difficult moments and the joys of life; there is the heart of the message of the Gospel. And so, for each person, the pilgrimage continues, we remain united in prayer until we meet once again.


The Taizé Community

taize“Since my youth, I think that I have never lost the intuition that community life could be a sign that God is love, and love alone. Gradually the conviction took shape in me that it was essential to create a community with men determined to give their whole life and who would always try to understand one another and be reconciled, a community where kindness of heart and simplicity would be at the centre of everything.”

Brother Roger: “God is love alone”


A “parable of community”


Today, the Taizé Community is made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from around thirty nations. By its very existence, the community is a “parable of community” that wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples.

The brothers of the community live solely by their work. They do not accept donations. In the same way, they do not accept personal inheritances for themselves; the community gives them to the very poor.

Certain brothers live in some of the disadvantaged places in the world, to be witnesses of peace there, alongside people who are suffering. These small groups of brothers, in Asia, Africa and South America, share the living conditions of the people around them. They strive to be a presence of love among the very poor, street children, prisoners, the dying, and those who are wounded by broken relationships, or who have been abandoned.

Over the years, young adults have been coming to Taizé in ever greater numbers; they come from every continent to take part in weekly meetings. Sisters of Saint Andrew, an international Catholic community founded seven centuries ago, Polish Ursuline Sisters and Sisters of St Vincent de Paul take on some of the tasks involved in welcoming the young people.

Church leaders also come to Taizé. The community has thus welcomed Pope John Paul II, four Archbishops of Canterbury, Orthodox metropolitans, the fourteen Lutheran bishops of Sweden, and countless pastors from all over the world.

From 1962 on, brothers and young people sent by Taizé went back and forth continually to the countries of Eastern Europe, with great discretion, to visit those who were confined within their frontiers.

Brother Roger died on 16 August 2005, at the age of 90, killed during the evening prayer. Since then, Brother Alois, whom Brother Roger chose as his successor many years ago, has been the prior of the Community.

Source: www.taize.fr