Mercy Mondays: Community invited to this semester’s Taizé prayer services
“What is a Taizé prayer service, exactly?”
At the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life, the staff and I (Matthew J. Kelly) often hear this familiar question from students, friends and family members. “What is Taizé? What does it mean? What makes Taizé special?” I get asked these question a lot. So to clarify and provide some context, keep reading!
I discovered Taizé prayer services as a first-year student at Salve Regina back in 2001. They were looking for someone to play the piano, and I said I’d do it without knowing exactly what I’d committed to. At that time, services were held every Monday evening, and they became an immediate source of calm and peace for me.
But this was a calm and peace that I had never experienced before. I found that Taizé provides a prayer experience unlike any other, offering a respite from the busy world and a practice of both spirituality and mindfulness.
Taizé services – so named from the place in which they were conceived by a monastic community of brothers in Taizé, France – are services characterized by three things: song, readings and meditation. Short songs, often in the form of a single, simple refrain, are repeated over and over similar to a mantra.
The idea is that when singing a song with a single idea, it becomes easier to focus on the words and to discern how it resonates within yourself. Readings are sometimes passages from the Bible and other times poetry or reflections. Taizé services are ecumenical — which means that they are Christian in nature and celebrated by Christian congregations around the world. Services also offer time for quiet reflection and meditation, and in the spirit of the Taizé community, we offer our prayer services by candlelight.
The community at Taizé has become a pilgrimage site for high school and college students across the globe. I’m honored to be able to keep the tradition of Taizé alive at Salve Regina and offer services for our students, faculty, staff and the public.
Services will be offered this semester on the following dates:
- Monday, Oct. 3, from 5:30-6 p.m.
- Sunday, Oct. 16, from 2-2:30 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 7, from 5:30-6 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 20, from 2-2:30 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 5, from 5:30-6 p.m.
Offered by Matthew J. Kelly, campus minister of music, liturgy and multifaith ministry
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.