April 1, 2010
Room 33, El Abiodh, Taize Community
We left Vienna this morning at 7:00AM to go to Lyon St. Exupery airport. From that airport, we took the shuttle bus to downtown Lyon. The streets along the way weren’t that full, so it appeared to be an ordinary provincial town. I didn’t get to research of The Little Prince has anything to do with this town.
We got to Lyon Part Dieu train station and I went to get us train and bus tickets. The girl behind the counter did NOT know how to speak English. Thank God for College level French! Even if that was 12 years ago, I still know how to ask where the toilet is and how to tell people I have lost my mother…. and buy train and bus tickets 🙂
Our one hour train ride to Macon Ville was delayed almost an hour. And because of that, we missed the connecting bus to Taize (which, aside from being the name of the community, is the name of the town!). We had to wait another hour for the next bus, and while waiting, some more people going to Taize arrived and took the bus with us.
It was another hour on the bus going through the French countryside, until reaching Taize. The community is on the top of the hill, and when we got here, it was quite cold (and just got progressively colder as the day went on… and it even rained. We were NOT prepared for this weather!) but the reception of the youth volunteers was warm, and sincere!
People usually spend a week in Taize (check out their website). And people from all ages can come. But, they really focus on the youth. The Youth can volunteer to work during their stay here (serving food, welcoming guests, etc). Almost the whole place is run by volunteers! It’s quite amazing, actually. Families can come, even with kids younger than 14 years old. There is a special program for teens who are 14 – 15 years old. And they have a different program for adults over 25. We are not allowed to do volunteer work.
They have prayers 3 times a day. And the rest of the day there are talks and workshops on different topics. And if you still have free time, you can go to the town proper of Taize and rattle the locals.
I won’t really get into the nitty-gritty of things, but it is an experience people should try, if given the opportunity. It is a beautiful place, it is inspiring to see all these young people, and the Taize charism is also very unique!
We got special treatment, I would say. The Taize Community recently held a meeting in Manila; and we were sent here by the CBCP ECY, so the brothers have left word to take care of us.
They gave us a room to stay in El Abiodh. This is where the special guests (and family members, when they visit) of the brothers stay. We get to share a room, as well. This is something worth saying, because there are hundreds of people here now. The youth are staying in tents (I don’t know how they can stay in tents, it is FREEZING), and some couples have had to stay in different dorm type accommodations. So, we are blessed.
We attended our first Mass here this evening. It is quite nice with the Taize music along with the Eucharistic Celebration. Relaxing, in a way. :-). This is a great place to spend the Triduum.
Lights out is at 11:30PM. Good night!