By Sarah Mac Donald - 07 August, 2013
A special prayer service will take place in Dublin next week to mark the eighth anniversary of the death of Brother Roger Schutz, founder of the ecumenical monastic community of Taizé.
The anniversary, which falls on Friday 16 August, will bring together representatives of the various Christian traditions for an evening of prayer in his memory in Dublin city.
Recalling the saintly Taizé founder, Fr Damian McNeice, one of the organiser’s of the prayer service at St Paul’s Church on Dublin’s Arran Quay and a member of the St Kevin’s Taizé group, told CatholicIreland.net, “Cardinal Walter Kasper, former head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, captured a lot of what I feel about Br Roger when he said: ‘Few persons of our generation have incarnated with such transparency the gentle and humble face of Jesus Christ’.”
Fr McNeice continued, “Roger, to me, was one of the great spiritual lights of our time. So for the last couple of years, we’ve held this prayer at the same time as the community have their Evening Prayer in Taizé on the anniversary of his death.”
He explained that thousands of Irish people have been – and continue to be – refreshed by a stay with the ecumenical community Roger founded and shaped.
“The liturgy there washes your spirit. The brothers witness how to live the Word of God in joy and simplicity and it’s very beautiful, very attractive,” he said.
Of his own meeting with Brother Roger, Fr McNeice recalled, “I clearly remember being presented to him in July 2005, just a couple of weeks before he died as a result of a violent act. Being 90 years old, he was very frail, but his blue eyes shone with welcome.”
“Young people went to him to be blessed and he would lay his hands on them with such tenderness that many would come away from that brief encounter with tears of joy. He also spent a long time delicately distilling the few words he would use to talk about God. And their impact is profound.”
Many youth groups, pilgrimage ‘veterans’ and parish groups across the various Christian churches who pray using the well-known meditative Taizé chants annually attend this ‘Prayer around the Cross’.
“Given the fact that Christian Unity was one of Roger’s deepest desires and motivations, I believe he’d be happy that we will be praying together,” said Fr McNeice.
The prayer service begins at 7.30pm Irish time, so as to correlate with the Taizé brothers’ own Evening prayer at 8.30pm French time.
Remembering Brother Roger: A Taizé Prayer around the Cross – Friday 16 August 2013, St Paul’s Church, Arran Quay, Dublin 7. The LUAS Smithfield stop is nearby and there is free parking in Smithfield after 7pm.
By Sarah Mac Donald