Taizé Montreal: A Weekend of Friendship

Taizé Montreal
On April 27-29, 2007 1000 young adults (18-35yrs) embarked on a pilgrimage to Taizé Montreal. With some nerves and lots of excitement we wondered what would be in store for us when we arrived in Montreal. I had heard of the Taizé community, and I generally knew what they were about: prayer. In addition there was also this wonderful idea of praying with some other Christians, an ecumenical gathering. I am a Catholic and love what I experience in my Church, but I also wondered why it is not possible to SAY that we are one body (Ef. 4, 4-6) and live up to it. I looked forward to the Taizé weekend for its ecumenical aspects and for the chance to have a deep quiet time of reflection and communion with my Lord. I was also excited about getting to know some more young adults who were excited about the Lord – and that turned out to be one of the most precious gifts of the weekend! Registration was a whirlwind of French and English, maps, tickets, and tons of people. But when prayer began that evening all fell silent and St. Allophones, which only a few hours before had been a flurry of activity, became quiet, contemplative, and prayerful. The space was filled with the beautiful voices of all the pilgrims joining together in the songs of Taizé. The Taizé style of prayer is simplistic and powerful. In a meditative fashion the same line is sang over and over again ( i.e. Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God's holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life). There I was in Taizé prayer, being part of this whole new spiritual and physical world where we all were one, praying to the same Lord, regardless of our own personal needs or intentions. The Lord was there… His presence all over the place... He is with His people, He listens to our prayers, He rejoices in our singing. I had never felt so complete, so full of joy, just by singing a few lines over and over again, knowing that our voices were like one, but at the same time, that he loved the uniqueness of each voice. I found myself wondering: Why do we not try to pray more frequently in our lives? Do we not need it? I cannot say that there was one specific, most significant moment for me during these days; I am pretty sure that God gives each one of us what we need or are looking for, and so it was for me. I enjoyed every minute there, praying, being silent, talking to someone, asking questions, helping a little bit with the cleaning (which was not a great service, but at least I could 'try' to serve), going to the Mass on Sunday at the St Joseph's Oratory. Another blessing was my simple accommodation host family: the Little Sisters of the Assumption. I feel so grateful that I got to know these women who very kindly welcomed me into their home. And thus, as a beautiful "after-effect" of my weekend there: friendship! Both with Jesus and the people I met. I continue to get together with a group of girls I met. And I can happily say that the Lord, the mission, the prayer, the Taizé songs … are a big part of our conversations, and we are always planning more and more (I have to mention that last Sunday we sang the Divine Mercy in the middle of the Royal Botanical Gardens and it just felt so powerful!). And more, since Taizé Montreal I have been an active part of the activities organized by Faith Connections; they now occupy a great deal of my time here in the city! I have learned a lot from those faith experiences in Canada and I hope I can take a bit of that to my country, Colombia, to enrich what we already have there. So, again… YES! God is one, God is great, God is merciful. Thanks be to God, Gisela Reyes