Gathering of the People of God. It is cold in Rome on the morning of 15 March…

… but the sky is clear and the sun provides some warmth. It is very early: we walk toward the Vatican. We are a group of about 60 persons from various Churches, representatives of Episcopal Conferences, Congregations, Movements and Communities, young and not so young, laypersons, priests, consecrated religious, all of us following Brother Alois and some brothers from the Ecumenical Community of Taizé, with the presence of Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. This is the third time this group has come together and for three days we have worked together, in plenaries and in 10 commissions, to prepare Together2023.

 An original initiative

This is an original initiative, the only one of its kind so far, promoted by Taizé: to prayerfully support the Synod of the Roman Catholic Church on Synodality, whose first session is scheduled for 4-29 October 2023. All Christians, from every Church and Community are invited to this event, especially young people.

The event consists of a day – 30 September 2023 – filled with a wide variety of initiatives; the culmination will be an evening Prayer Vigil in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis and Church leaders are expected to attend. It is intended to be a plea from all God’s people for graces for the participants of the Synod, who will be dealing with the central theme of Synodality.

Pope Francis meets us

We quickly enter the Vatican via side entrances and soon find ourselves in a small room prepared especially for us. The Bishop of Rome was not long in coming; he was visibly pleased to meet our group and, in the absence of a text, improvised a few thoughts interwoven with personal memories. His esteem for Brother Alois and his courage is evident; his faith in walking together, which makes unity greater than differences, is great. It is about loving one another, working together as Christians, asking for the presence of the Holy Spirit: it is He who creates unity and harmony.

We leave this meeting with joy in our hearts and a commitment to walk together with many other Christians – in Rome on 30 September and everywhere else.

Info at:

Diego Goller

Photo: Alice Montrucchio; large photo, from left: Diego Goller, Frère Alois Löser, Sr Nathalie Becquart, Giuseppe Del Coiro


Together 2023 – A gathering of the People of God

Together 2023 – A gathering of the People of God

The novelty: many Christian Churches are sustaining the Catholic Church with their prayers – and Together for Europe is participating

The world Synod of the Catholic bishops in Rome (4.10. – 29.10.2023) will pe preceded by an ecumenical Prayer Vigil for young people on Saturday, 30th September 2023 in St Peter’s Square, Rome. Pope Francis and representatives of various Christian confessions will take part; the event, however, is open to the entire People of God. The idea is the brainchild of frère Alois, the Prior of the Taizé Community, which was founded by frère Roger Schutz.

Gerhard Pross, the current moderator of Together for Europe stated: “For over 20 years, our network has gained a great experience of ecumenism and synodality. I promised frère Alois our wholehearted support because, wherever there is a gathering of the People of God, we also want to be there. The Rome meeting – and perhaps others in many European cities – is a golden opportunity to give a visible sign of the unity of the People of God. Prayer will surely leave its mark”. Frère Alois expressed his joy for the fact that even Together for Europe is committed to support the Vigil.

Pope Francis is inviting us to pray in St Peter’s Square, and he underlined the ecumenical dimension of the Bishops’ Synod. Cardinal Jean Claude Hollerich remarked: “Synodality and ecumenism are inseparable. We need our brothers and sisters of the other Churches so that we can proceed on our synodal journey”. As Rev. Christian Krieger, president of the Conference of European Churches and of the French Federation of Protestants, underlined: “Ecumenism is important for synodality, and vice versa”.  And frère Alois of Taizé affirmed: “Synodality is not possible without unity, and every Church that wants to be apostolic must be synodal”.

What can we learn from one another? As H. Em. Khajag Barsamian of the Armenian Church stated: “As Pope Francis shows us, we need to be humble and make space for the other”. Humility is not a weakness, but a sign of strength that allows us to embark on a new journey. The Anglican Archbishop Ian Ernest, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, emphasized that this common step opens new horizons: “This process gives us the wings to be able to grow together”.

The invitation is mainly address to young adults, in the age bracket 18 to 35. These will be hosted by families and Roman parishes from Friday 29th September till Sunday 1st October. The weekend reached its climax with the Saturday “run in a star formation”, which will start with prayers in various Roman Churches; then, the participants will move in a star formation toward St Peter’s Square, where, a joyous program of songs and witnessing will be followed by the ecumenical Prayer Vigil with Pope Francis and the representatives of many Christian Churches and communities.

All European parishes and Movements are invited to send many young people for this great event.

For further information:

Beatriz Lauenroth

Photo: St. Peter’s Square/C.K.Brand – Prayer/Canva