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: www.together2023.net
Photo: St. Peter’s Square/C.K.Brand – Prayer/Canva