Pilgrimage to Taize


Archbishop Holgate’s students visit Taizé with Archbishop Sentamu July 2017

 In the last week of the summer term Archbishop Sentamu led a group of young people from Yorkshire to visit Taizé in Eastern France, and students from Archbishop Holgate’s School were invited to accompany him and the group.

Taizé is an international monastery in Burgundy founded in 1940. Since the 1960s the Taizé Community has been welcoming young adults (15+) from a wide variety of backgrounds for a week of discussion, reflection and building community. 80,000 young people from all over the world participate in these meetings each year.

The group joined students from a few UK schools, and young people from all over Europe and the United States. Over 2000 young people of different backgrounds were at Taizé: those who were Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, believers of other religions, and those of no faith. Each day included small international discussion groups, reflection in a larger group led by a brother of the Community, some practical activity, prayer with the whole community and opportunities to socialise and relax.

Each day different pupils from the different school in our group were invited to write a blog for the Archbishop of York’s website. Ella and Harry from Yr10 wrote one of the first blogs about their initial impressions upon arrival. They concluded by saying: “The sense of togetherness is felt even more in church, services here are quite different to the experience of churches in England. In Taizé, chants are used in each service which are written in multiple languages. This puts into perspective how many different people are here. During the rest of my time in Taizé I’m looking forward to meeting new people. Spending time in my small group will give me the chance to build new relationships. Even though I’m not the most outgoing I will try to leave my comfort zone to make the most of this amazing experience.”

At the end of the week many of the young people were asked to some up their time in Taizé in just one word. Here are some of the thoughts they offered: Peaceful, Friendly, Spontaneous, Amazing, Respect, Enlightening, Holy, Euphoric, Welcoming, Restful. In their time there they explored challenges, undertook emotional journeys and found that Taizé had changed their thinking. School Chaplain, Richard Nihill, accompanied the group. He said; “Sharing in the Archbishop’s pilgrimage to Taizé was not only a wonderful opportunity for the young people but also for the staff as well. It was a time of discovery and transformation in different ways for everyone, for many a chance to encounter the presence of God. I am very excited at the prospect of returning in 2018 to join the National Pilgrimage of UK Church School with another group of young people from Archbishop Holgate’s.”

When the group returned to the UK Mr Nihill and one of the pupils were invited to join Archbishop Sentamu to be interviewed about their experience of the pilgrimage to Taizé on Radio York. This interview can be found on the school website.

CLICK HERE to listen to an interview on Radio York about the Pilgrrimage.

 CLICK HERE to read a blog about there experiences.



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