HAMBURG, Germany, DEC. 23, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A meeting of tens of thousands of young people, convoked by the Taizé ecumenical community, will be an occasion “to further intercultural and interreligious dialogue and to return to the sources of prayer and the Gospel.”
The objective of the Dec. 29-Jan. 2 meeting was explained to ZENIT by Brother Emile, one of the 10 monks who are already in Hamburg giving the final touches to this youth event.
“Some prophets of doom have led one to believe that religious and cultural differences are above all a danger,” he said.
In fact, “they are a richness, if we know how to take advantage of the occasions for dialogue, exchanges and friendship,” he said.
According to the monk, a veteran in organizing the European meetings, “among youths there is a thirst for peace, communion and enjoyment, but they experience this in isolation and at times feel it is an illusion with no consequences in the real world.”
A letter written by Brother Roger, founder of the Taizé community, to the participants of the Hamburg meeting, says that it “is not only the leaders of nations who build the world of tomorrow. The most obscure and humble people can play a part in bringing about a future of peace and trust.”
Taizé is an ecumenical community in France that attracts thousands of young people throughout the year. Every New Year’s the community organizes a European meeting in a different city. The event offers young people an opportunity to pray and get together to reflect more profoundly on their faith.
“We want to be together in Hamburg to go to the sources of confidence that enable us to grapple with difficult situations,” Brother Emile said.
“In preparing the meeting, we have asked the parishes to identify the signs of hope they expect to share with the youth of Europe who will be with them for five days,” he said.
This hope has its origin in the Gospel. “We cannot maintain hope and joy without being men and women who love one another in prayer, in the Gospel.” This hope “is renewed in God. In the present context, this becomes clearer than ever,” Brother Emile stressed.