2016 Visit of a Brother of the Taize Community

The Philippines was graced with the brief visit of a Brother from the Taize Community, Br. GHISLAIN, a sign of the continued commitment of the community to journey with the local churches and the young people on a “pilgrimage of trust”.
Taize MO 2
The Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) thanks all those youth ministry offices which welcomed him, and those which sent young people and youth ministers to join activities with him.  The ECY is particularly grateful to the Military Ordinariate and its Commission on Youth for hosting the open prayer last February 23, and attended by a good number of participants, many of them from other dioceses and organizations!

Taize MO 3
While the visit was brief, the expression of solidarity continues.  Particularly on this Jubilee of Mercy and the Year of the Eucharist and the Family, the community shares a gift with us, “The Courage of Mercy“.  The ECY respectfully enjoins all youth ministers, the young people under their care, along with everyone else, to strongly consider this document, with the proposals it offers, as a guide and inspiration in the mission.  For instance, this may be useful for the “24 Hours for the Lord“, an initiative indicated by Pope Francis to be done in each diocese this March 04-05 (in Misericordiae Vultus, no. 17), which the ECY  hopes each diocesan youth ministry will support and each organization will promote in their local units; it can also be of use in other initiatives of youth ministry in these seasons of Lent and Easter.
Taize MO 4
The ECY trusts that efforts like this will continue for youth ministry, to highlight prayer as the source of our mission for young people in behalf of the Church.  Let us also continue praying for Br. GHISLAIN who left our country last night for the remaining visits in Asia, continuing the pilgrimage of trust on earth.

22 & 23 February 2016 – Prayer in the way of Taize

An Open Invitation
Prayer in the way of Taize
Together with Br. Ghislain of the Taize Community

We are sharing this invitation so that you, too, may share this (for example, youth ministers outside Metro Manila can forward this to your young people or fellow ministers who are in Metro Manila on these dates and who may want to join).
Let us know by sending an email to secretariat@cbcp-ecy.ph if you will come, or if you know of people who will come (please give us your name and your diocese/ organization).
Thank you!  Especially in this Lenten season, let us continue along the pilgrimage of trust together with our Lord who is Mercy.
~ Fr. Kune Garganta and the ECY Secretariat

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

The Year 2015 in Taize – Prayers on or around May 12

LOCAL ORDINARIES in the Philippines and their


WELCOME CENTERS, GROUPS and VOLUNTEERS in the Pilgrimage of trust on earth 2010

PERMANENTS (those sent to the Taize Intercontinental Meetings) from the Philippines

Your Excellencies,
Dear friends in Christ,

Greetings in our Risen Lord, who leads us to fullness of life!

In the spirit of the continuing pilgrimage of trust on earth which blessed us all last 2010 and continues to challenge us, our commission thanks those who have responded to our email last March 20 by sending their reply forms! These prayer schedules are already posted in the Taize website (see link — http://www.taize.fr/en_article17740.html — click “The Philippines” for the dropdown menu).

We also wish to extend this open invitation to the following prayers in the way of Taize (see photo announcement below) and to exhort everyone to lead prayer sessions in the same spirit on or around May 12 in your own settings.


As you already know, the Taize Community marks the Year 2015 for the 100th birthday of Br. Roger and the 75th year of the Community. This community is a valued ka-lakbay not only in youth ministry but in the life of the Church in the Philippines. Among their proposals, they exhort us to observe May 12 (or a date near it) with prayer in the way of Taize in our communities, and to commit to acts of solidarity within this year, which comes very timely for the Church in the Philippines as we are in the Year of the Poor. Suggestions how to undertake this are available here.

We trust that you will share with your own networks; together let us take this invitation as concrete step in our celebration of the Year of the Poor.

Thank you for your kind attention! We look forward to welcoming you (if you can) to the prayer on May 04 in Santa Cruz Church (this is scheduled before May 12 so that those who will attend can be inspired to do something similar in their own settings) and on May 12 in the CBCP Chapel.

Yours in the joy of Easter,

Executive Secretary
Episcopal Commission on Youth

An Invitation – The Year 2015 for the Taize Community

LOCAL ORDINARIES in the Philippines and their
WELCOME CENTERSGROUPS and VOLUNTEERS in thePilgrimage of trust on earth 2010
PERMANENTS (those sent to the Taize Intercontinental Meetings) from the Philippines
Your Excellencies,
Dear friends in Christ,
Diyos ang bukal ng buhay, ang apoy at pagmamahal.
O halina, halina, Diyos Espiritu Santo!
Still in the spirit of the continuing pilgrimage of trust on earth which blessed us all last 2010 and continues to challenge us, we share this invitation by the Taize Community regarding the Year 2015 in Taize, which mark for them the 100th birthday of Br. Roger and the 75th year of the Community.  Among their proposals, they exhort us to mark May 12 (or a date near it) with prayer in the way of Taize in our communities, and to commit to acts of solidarity within this year.
This invitation comes very timely for us, as we continue observing the Year of the Poor.  Let us make our communion in prayer and commitment to solidarity become our way of going “to the peripheries… to bring the light of Christ” as His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle expressed to Pope Francis in behalf of everyone in the Concluding Mass of the Papal Visit last 2015 January 18.
May we then refer you to these documents:
1) The Year 2015 in Taize – Proposals and Possibilities for the Philippines 
2) The Year 2015 in Taize – Reply Form
After reading Proposals and Possibilities for the Philippines and discussing with your youth ministry group or equivalent, we kindly ask you to fill up the Reply Form and send it to secretariat@cbcp-ecy.ph not later than 2015 April 15.  What you send us will be useful to know what is happening in the country in relation to the Year 2015 in Taize, and to share with others, including the Taize Community who faithfully journeys with our Church in the Philippines.
Anticipating your acceptance of this invitation, we altogether renew our commitment to continue the pilgrimage of trust on earth.
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
Chairman, Episcopal Commission on Youth

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

Pope Francis meets with Taizé Prior

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received in audience Frère Alois, Prior of Taizé, in his first private audience with the Pontiff. Alois had, on a previous occasion, met with Benedict XVI annually, as his predecessor Frère Roger had done with John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II.

Brother Alois
Alois spoke with the Pope about the young people welcomed to Taizé, and of the spiritual pilgrimage which the community embodies along with young people from around the world. He went on to tell the Holy Father about Taizé’s ecumenical nature, saying how baptism is the unifying component for all Christians.
According to the community’s press release, Pope Francis said he had deep respect for Frère Roger, founder of the Taizé community, and encouraged the community to continue its work.


Source: News.va

Uncovering the wellsprings of trust in God – Encounter and prayer in the way of Taizé

Sta. Isabel College, Manila — 253 lay persons, priests and religious alike gathered at Sta. Isabel College along Taft Avenue, Manila for an afternoon of reflection and silence, sharing in groups, and prayer last 04 May 2013. The event was organized by the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth and the Taizé Community.


The Taizé Community and the ECY have been collaborating since the 1980’s. Fruits of this collaboration were the two (2) Pilgrimages of trust on earth in 1991 and 2010, where thousands of young people from Asia and the rest of the world came together in the spirit of faith and solidarity. The community supports the continuing of this pilgrimage through their annual visits, where they animate faith sessions, facilitate retreats and recollections, or simply join a community in prayer. In this Year of Faith, the Philippines was graced again by the presence of the brothers of the Taizé Community: Br. Andreas and Br. Ghislain.

The program started with the sharing of Br. Andreas on the four proposals on Uncovering the Wellsprings of Trust in God, which is the focus of the Taizé Community this 2013. These four proposals are: (1) Talk together about our faith journey; (2) Look for ways to encounter Christ; (3) Look for ways of relying on God and; (4) Be open without fear to the future and to others.

Pilgrims, who were from various parishes, schools and organizations, were then invited to reflect on these proposals and to share how they relate with each proposal assigned to them. Ms. Alex Geñorga from the Diocese of Pasig, reflecting on the first proposal, said, “All of us experience pain and hardships in life but these challenges us to let God use our sorrows to help other people”. Mr. Stephen Borja, facilitator of the sharing, further added that “it is important to talk about our faith, its lights and shadows, our joys and sorrows, moments of doubt and faith in order for God to work in and through us.”

The gathering culminated in a prayer in the way of Taizé highlighted by the Celebration of Light. Br. Andreas prayed that the light of the candles will not extinguish as the candles were extinguished but will live in the pilgrims’ hearts and be a light for others in their journey.


The Brothers thanked all who came and prayed that the solidarity the Taizé community have with the Filipino people continue in the years to come.




Invitation for Taize Prayer on 04 May 2013


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Greetings of hope in the Risen Lord!

Brothers of the Taizé Community will be in our country as a concrete expression of their solidarity and support to our post-Pilgrimage 2010 journey.  They will be making visits in several parts of the country for scheduled encounters and for common prayer.

Together with them, we invite you to an afternoon of prayer on 04 May 2013, Saturday, at Santa Isabel College along Taft Avenue, Manila.

The event will start at 4:00 PM, and will consist of prayer, reflection and silence, sharing in groups, and culminating with a prayer at 7:00 PM.  Together, we shall reflect on “Uncovering the wellsprings of trust in God”.

Everyone who took part in the Pilgrimage of trust on earth 2010, those who share in the spirit of the Pilgrimage, and those who are interested, are all welcome.  We kindly ask you to pass this invitation to everyone in your network, i.e. youth and youth ministry groups, fellow youth, friends, families, co-workers, etc.  We would like this prayer encounter to bless as many as possible.

I believe our experience of the Pilgrimage of trust on earth 2010 continues not only to bring fond memories of intense prayer and sharing of life, but also to serve as an inspiration and reference point in the way we live our relationship with God and with others.

Due to some limitation as regards space, please inform us of your attendance by accomplishing the attached Group Registration Form and List of Participants, and by sending them back to us through email, fax or personal visit (see our contact details and address below) before 01 May 2013.

Let us continue to journey together in the spirit of trust: in ourselves, in one another, and above all in our Risen Lord.

United with you in prayer,

Executive Secretary
CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth