a "pilgrimage of trust" organized by the France based Taize ecumenical community, at a time of concern over world conflicts.

"We want that young people continue this pilgrimage despite what happened on September 11," said German Brother Wolfgang from the Taizé community, in reference to the attacks against the United States. "We should not live in fear, and also look what Joseph of the Bible did. He forgave his brothers and even gave them food, although they wanted to kill him."

Brother Wolfgang told BosNewsLife that about 70,000 youngsters from all European countries and other continents are expected to attend the 24th Young Adult European Meeting, with many people sleeping in schools and other accommodations.


"We did not look for the luxury we may expect in Western countries," he added. However he admitted there were some logistical difficulties in Budapest. "The problem is that the schools already open on January 2, so we have to make sure that everything and everybody is gone by that time."

Prayer and worship services will be an important part of the gathering, which is held from December 28 till January 1 in the Budapest Exhibition Centre known as Hungexpo. "Even before the meeting began, we already had prayer services," said Brother Wolfgang.


Last week, both Pope John Paul II and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan suggested to the youngsters in messages to pray for peace on earth. "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," wrote the Pope, who visited Taizé in

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who won this years’ Nobel Peace Prize, suggested that "at a time when some are trying to divide the human family" it was important that young Christians "reflect together on the essence" of their faith and "commitment to the Church." He added that "in this combat for a better world, each of us has a role to play."


Most young people attending the meeting are believed to be between 18 and 25 years old. Although many of them are said to be Christians, Brother Wolfgang expected also people who "may be just interested to learn more about the Christian life."

He stressed there has always been an interest among youngsters in the activities and life style of the Taizé community, founded by Brother Roger in 1940. "We want them to take that experience back to their own churches and congregations. It is not our intention to create our youth movement."

The meeting in Hungary would have been impossible during the height of the Cold War, when Taizé brothers discreetly traveled to Communist countries to help Christians. However Hungary’s current Government has asked churches to help the society with overcoming the social and economic challenges of this post-Communist era.


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