Mercy Mondays: What exactly is Taizé?
“What, exactly, is Taizé?”
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 for me an immediate source of calm and peace. 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, Feb. 8, at 5:30 p.m.
- Monday, March 1, at 5:30 p.m.
- Monday, April 12, at 5:30 p.m.
Offered by Matthew J. Kelly, campus minister of liturgical music, service & social justice
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.