Thousands take part in weekend of prayer
Choosing to love, choosing hope
On Sunday May 6, the youth meeting held in Stockholm and led by the Taizé Community, from France, on the theme “Choosing to love, choosing hope,” drew to its close. Beginning on Thursday May 3, the gathering brought together young people from 20 different countries including Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic countries and Finland and Scandinavia for a weekend of prayer and sharing. Over 2,000 people joined the times of worship in Katarina Church on Södermalm and many also took part in afternoon workshops throughout the city. Brother Alois, the prior of Taizé, came to take part in this meeting and every evening addressed the participants with a brief meditation.
Brother Alois concluded his final address with the words: “Yes, sometimes we have to go towards other horizons, far away or nearby, to discover the hope of the Gospel over and over again. Our world, where so much suffering wreaks havoc, needs women and men who radiate God’s peace by their lives. So let us make courageous decisions to go forward on the road of love and trust: let us choose to love and choose hope!”
In the final prayer, intercessions for peace in Iraq (young Iraqi Christians from Stockholm were also present) and for reconciliation in Estonia were offered. Bishop Carolin Krook, of Stockholm diocese, spoke of a seed of hope being planted in Stockholm during the three month presence of the Taizé brothers in the City. Helen Friberg, District Superintendent of the Swedish Covenant Church, Fr Fredrik Imanuelsson, representing the Catholic Diocese of Sweden, and Thorbjörn Larsson, director of Erstadiakoni, also attended the prayer.
Brother Alois gave a copy of the 4th century Coptic Icon of Friendship, which was very dear to Brother Roger, the late founder of the community, to young people from Linköping. A prayer for young people is planned there in the coming weeks. The icon will then travel on to other parts of Sweden as part of the Pilgrimage of Trust, a way of supporting young people in their search for faith, begun many years ago by Brother Roger.
A warm welcome throughout Stockholm
Thirteen different welcome centres throughout Greater Stockholm welcomed young people who came from abroad and Swedes from other parts of the country during the meeting. All these participants stayed with families from the different churches that made up the welcome centres. Young people prepared a morning prayer and program for the participants during the meeting. Much gratitude was expressed for this hospitality from all who were welcomed.
A continuing presence
Taizé brothers will remain for one more week in Stockholm, before returning to France. Prayers will continue in Ersta Kyrka at 8.15 and in Maria Magdalena Kyrka at 12.00. A final prayer of thanksgiving will be held at Katarina Kykra on Södermalm at 16.00 on Sunday May 13. All are welcome!