by KATHLEEN CASEY
More and more young Kiwis are heading for Taize in France on their OE, said Taize prior Br Alois in a seminar in Christchurch last month.

Br Alois, the abbot of the Taizé Community in France, leads worshippers out of the natural amphitheatre worship space after Morning Prayer at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. (Photo: Mary  Frances Schjonberg-Episcopal News Service)
Br Alois, the abbot of the Taizé Community in France, leads worshippers out of the natural amphitheatre worship space after Morning Prayer at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. (Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg-Episcopal News Service)

Brs Alois Matthew and Ghislain spoke at the Anglican Transitional Cathedral where a contemplative Taize evening with prayer around the cross was held. Bishop Victoria Matthews welcomed the monks and remembered the 185 people who lost their lives in the February 22, 2011, earthquake, and others who are still suffering.
“We felt a need to pay a visit [to New Zealand] to understand better the situation of the church and the country,” said Br Alois. He is impressed with our efforts of reconciliation with Maori and ability to remain a multicultural country, he said.
The brothers were near the end of a worldwide pilgrimage, gathering young people in every continent to prepare for their Jubilee Year marking 100 years since the birth of founder Brother Roger, and 75 years since he founded the Taize Community in France.
“There is a thirst among young people for reflective contemplative prayer, and also to meet together,” said Br Matthew.
“Young people in Christchurch are searching for Christ. We welcome them and encourage them to take root in their church communities.”
Of Christchurch itself, Br Alois said: “We are impressed to see how deep the wounds and the damage of the earthquake still are. To see the city makes us pray for the wounds in the human heart.” He was also impressed to see Christians living in solidarity in difficult post-quake situations.
“We will take this with us — it touches our hearts even after a short visit. We will take it with us and share it with all the young people in Taize and those who come to visit us… Concern for others is a mark of Taize.”
He spoke more than once of the need for solidarity. “If we don’t welcome God’s peace in our hearts [how] can wounds, sometimes terrible wounds, be healed? Peace must arise from a deep concern. We need to live in solidarity.”
Regular Taize evenings are held at the Anglican cathedral.

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