Gathering of the People of God. It is cold in Rome on the morning of 15 March…
… but the sky is clear and the sun provides some warmth. It is very early: we walk toward the Vatican. We are a group of about 60 persons from various Churches, representatives of Episcopal Conferences, Congregations, Movements and Communities, young and not so young, laypersons, priests, consecrated religious, all of us following Brother Alois and some brothers from the Ecumenical Community of Taizé, with the presence of Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. This is the third time this group has come together and for three days we have worked together, in plenaries and in 10 commissions, to prepare Together2023.
An original initiative
This is an original initiative, the only one of its kind so far, promoted by Taizé: to prayerfully support the Synod of the Roman Catholic Church on Synodality, whose first session is scheduled for 4-29 October 2023. All Christians, from every Church and Community are invited to this event, especially young people.
The event consists of a day – 30 September 2023 – filled with a wide variety of initiatives; the culmination will be an evening Prayer Vigil in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis and Church leaders are expected to attend. It is intended to be a plea from all God’s people for graces for the participants of the Synod, who will be dealing with the central theme of Synodality.
Pope Francis meets us
We quickly enter the Vatican via side entrances and soon find ourselves in a small room prepared especially for us. The Bishop of Rome was not long in coming; he was visibly pleased to meet our group and, in the absence of a text, improvised a few thoughts interwoven with personal memories. His esteem for Brother Alois and his courage is evident; his faith in walking together, which makes unity greater than differences, is great. It is about loving one another, working together as Christians, asking for the presence of the Holy Spirit: it is He who creates unity and harmony.
We leave this meeting with joy in our hearts and a commitment to walk together with many other Christians – in Rome on 30 September and everywhere else.
Info at: www.together2023.net
Photo: Alice Montrucchio; large photo, from left: Diego Goller, Frère Alois Löser, Sr Nathalie Becquart, Giuseppe Del Coiro