Brother Emmanuel, a member of the ecumenical monastic community in Taizé, France, will visit classes, offer lectures during lunch and dinner, and present a three-hour retreat April 9 at Niagara University.
Founded in the 1940s, the Taizé community consists of permanent brothers from various Christian denominations who live and pray together. It welcomes pilgrims, mostly young adults, to join in weeklong retreats of prayer focused on Christian unity and peace
Out of the Taizé community originated a distinctive type of music characterized by very short, simple refrains that are sung repeatedly. Many churches utilize the music of Taizé; familiar church songs such as "Jesus, Remember Me" or "Wait for the Lord," which are popular around Lent and Advent times, are sung in this style.
The Taizé prayer is one of peace and quiet, typically with plenty of candles, a Bible reading, intercessory prayers, singing and extended silence. Niagara University's office of campus ministry began practicing this type of prayer on campus six years ago, during Advent and Lent, and it has grown to a monthly gathering that draws about 20-30 participants. The students seem to really love the time for quiet and rest with the Lord, noted Kristina Daloia, director of university ministry.
Brother Emmanuel's lunch lecture is titled "Keeping a Place for Silence in a Busy Life." The evening retreat (dinner/talk at 5:30 p.m., prayer at 7:30 p.m.) is open to the public, with the hope to gather people from a number of local churches - Catholic and non-Catholic - in a true ecumenical spirit, which is the hallmark of Taizé.
Reservations are required for lunch and dinner events.
Born in Tours (France) in 1971, Brother Emmanuel joined the Taizé community in 1991. His field of research is psychology of religion and his work led him to treat the major obstacles that arise on the way to a loving relationship with God: doubts about the existence of a God of love in a broken world; feelings of guilt, secret wounds and hidden fears of God nourished by a real difficulty in believing we are worthy to be loved; persistent images of a rather distant, frightening, exclusively masculine Divine Being; false oppositions between science and faith, psychology and theology, sexuality and spirituality.
Brother Emmanuel wrote a book that unmasks these obstacles and shows that the beauty of God's love is far greater than psychological, cultural and theological conditioning has allowed people to see. "Love, Imperfectly Known" invites readers to rediscover aspects of God's love often disfigured, misunderstood or unexplored, so as to enter into an intensive reciprocal love with God.
Questions and reservation inquiries should be directed to Daloia at 716-286-8414 or [email protected].