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6-TAIZE

Bishop Keenan urges youth to slow down and give Taizé a try

By Amanda Connelly

BISHOP John Keenan has encouraged young people to get involved and take part in the Taizé movement within Scotland.

Following a visit with young people from the dioceses of both Paisley and Galloway to the recent Hidden Treasure Taizé event in Birmingham—held over April 28 to May 1—the Paisley bishop spoke of how much the young people who attended enjoyed the event.

“They enjoyed it and I think they’ve decided that for World Youth Day in Panama, Paisley and Galloway are going to do a joint pilgrimage for that, too,” he said. “Life is very busy for young people, and there’s an awful temptation to live life on the surface without thinking why they’re really here on earth. Going to Taizé you get a week with thousands of young people from all over and it slows you down.”

It is this ‘slowing down’ that Bishop Keenan (above, centre) says allows important questions to arrive in the minds of young people: questions of identity, Faith and purpose.

Around 600 young people gathered for the event from all over Europe, joining together in a spirit of prayer, peace and solidarity for prayer, workshops, forums and social activities.

With various parishes holding Taizé groups across Scotland, it is something Bishop Keenan said he would love to see more of at the parish and deanery level, and also in high schools and university chaplaincies.

“I would love to see those revived,” he said. “They’re so simple, they’re so easy. I think especially to give young people an opportunity to come together in a way that is characteristically young.”

Founded by Br Roger in 1940, the Taize community has grown to become an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, France, made up of more than 100 brothers from Catholic and other Christian denominations, with pilgrims taking part in their events both in Taizé and beyond.

It features prayer, gathering and worship, with an emphasis on music. Songs are sung in many languages, with simple phrases that are repeated or sung in parts, usually lines from Psalms or Scripture.

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