Taize Prayer

Although not a Liturgy Links article, we have decided to include this Chauka Toks article from our Carmel Parish Bulletin, 19 November 2006. Being about the Taize-style prayer we will celebrate on Friday evenings during Advent, we thought it would be relevant.

Chauka Toks is a column written by our assistant priest, Fr Paul Sireh OCarm. Paul’s Chauka Toks shares the weekly parish team column with Parish Priest Fr Denis Andrew OCarm’s In the Long Run, Assistant Priest Fr John Powell OCarm’s By the Way and Prior Fr Bernard Shah OCarm’s Containing the Flame.

On Taize Prayer

According to the Church calendar, we begin the New Year cycle in two weeks’ time, which always begins with the Advent Season. Therefore it is appropriate for us to prepare for the New Year. There are various ways we can prepare ourselves, whether it is through prayer or fasting or another ritual which would really help us to focus on the Lord and also be a central event for all.

One of the central events in the daily life of our community, and in which all visitors take part, is common prayer – morning, midday and evening. Many people are thirsting for prayer together to be a vital part of their own Christian commitment at home, in their own local Church community.

We are introducing Taize prayer which is no different to any other central event in the daily life of our community but it will be held once a week on Friday during the Advent season.

Taize (Tei-zea) is named after a village hidden away in the hills of Burgundy, in the eastern part of France. It is an ecumenical community of brothers founded in 1940. This community is made up of Protestants and Catholics, from some 20 different countries, and has become host to thousands of young people who visit Taize, entering into the prayer and spirit of the community.

In Taize, common prayer is at the heart of the meetings which bring together thousands of young people from every continent. With the growing number of young people from all over the world going to Taize, a form of song that could enable people with no common language to participate in the community’s prayer had to be developed. Repetitive structures were formed, short musical phrases with singable memorised melodies and some very basic Latin Text became the methods used in Taize prayer. To this was added verses for a cantor in numerous languages and scripture reading became the central part of their prayer too. Lit candles symbolise Christ amongst them in their common prayer.

The people’s melodies are taught or spontaneously introduced in the form of respones, litanies, acclamations and canons (rounds). Added to these are numerous choral harmonies, secondary refrains or canons, and a delightful array of instrumental solos and accompaniments for various instruments.

Please come along and join us for Taize Prayer and experience God’s Grace in preparation for the New Year’s Season.

See you there,

Fr Paul Sireh OCarm

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