young Christians in Budapest to play a role in peace on earth, according to statements obtained Wednesday, December 19, by BosNewsLife.
The letters come as about 70,000 youngsters from all countries of Eastern and Western Europe and other states are expected to arrive in the Hungarian capital for the 24th Young Adult European Meeting of the France based Taizé ecumenical community.
Organizers say 200 parishes and congregations as well as schools and municipal halls will welcome the participants of the meeting, which will be held from December 28 to January 1 in the Budapest Exhibition Center, known as "Hungexpo."
"The presence of young adults from throughout the world, gathered together in prayer and concord, witnesses to the deep longing for peace and brotherhood which dwells in the human heart," writes the Pope, who visited Taizé in 1986.
VIOLENCE AND FEAR
In what appears to be a reference to the war against terrorism, he also asks young Christians to be "watchers for the dawn at a time when the world, torn apart, a prey to violence and fear, is searching for signs of hope."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who won this years’ Nobel Peace Prize, seems to agree. "At a time when some are trying to divide the human family, it is comforting to know that some of you, from different backgrounds, nationalities and cultures, are united in a common desire to meet and to share," he explains in a letter.
In his message to the youngsters Annan is asking Christians "to reflect together on the essence of your faith and your commitment to the Church, but also to other people. In this combat for a better world, each of us has a role to play."
LOVE AND LIFE
Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and the Archbishop of Canterbury have issued similar statements ahead of the meeting, which will center around the theme Love and Say it With your Life. "However powerless we may be, are we not called to communicate a mystery of hope to those around us by the lives we live?", says Brother Roger, who founded the Taizé community in 1940.
He will speak to the young Christians every evening with a translation into 20 languages. Hungary’s national television MTV 2 as well as Eurovision and France 2 are expected to broadcast parts of the gathering.
DISCRETION UNDER COMMUNISM
The ecumenical community of Taizé includes brothers from Catholic and different Protestant backgrounds from over 25 different countries, in an effort to promote peace and understanding.
Under Communism, since 1962, Taizé brothers traveled, at first with great discretion, in the countries of central and eastern Europe, including Hungary, to support Christians there. The center right Government has urged Churches to play a greater role in post Communist Hungary.