15 November 2012

Rwanda: Thousands of Young Christians Gather in Kigali to Pray

Over five thousand young Catholics are meeting in Kigali for a four-day event dubbed, 'Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth.'

The Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth is organized by a loose grouping within the Catholic Church known Taizé Community founded by the late Brother Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche.

Brother Roger, who died in 2005 at the age of 90 dedicated all his life to reconciling the different Christian churches by especially working with the youth around the world.

The Taize Community

In 1940, Brother Roger who was born in 1915, rode a bicycle from Geneva to Taizé, a small town near Macon, about 390 kilometers southeast of Paris.

Taizé was then in unoccupied France just beyond the line of demarcation to the zone occupied by German troops. For two years Brother Roger reportedly hid Jewish refugees before being forced to leave Taizé.

In 1944, he returned to Taizé to found the Community, initially a small quasi-monastic community of men living together in poverty and obedience.

Since the late 1950s, many thousands of young adults from many countries have found their way to Taizé to take part in weekly meetings of prayer and reflection.

In addition, Taizé brothers make visits and lead meetings, large and small, in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and in Europe, as part of a "pilgrimage of trust on earth".

The spiritual leader always kept a low profile, rarely giving interviews and refusing to permit any "cult" to grow up around him. Prior to his death, he was due to give up his community functions because of his advanced age and ill-health which had seen him suffer from fatigue and often use a wheelchair.

Brother Roger was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace in 1988 and wrote many books on prayer and reflection, asking young people to be confident in God and committed to their local church community and to humanity. He also wrote books about Christian spirituality and prayer.

Several thousands of young people will gather from Rwanda and other East-African countries to 'reflect on their lives in silent prayer' seen as a walk to trust on earth. Young people have travelled from as far as beyond East Africa including countries like Madagascar, Sudan, Zambia, Malawi, DRC ... and from Europe, America and Asia.

The estimated number of young people coming to Kigali is beyond 7,000 and the purpose of the meeting has been officially explained as aimed at celebrating Christ, to go together to the wellsprings of trust and renew commitment in the Church and society.

Young people will be engaged in Common prayer (with silence and meditative singing), Bible reflection, sharing of life experiences, hospitality in families and local Christian communities will be the central elements of the meeting.

The gathering is taking place at the Gikondo Expo grounds and will close on Sunday.

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