During the months of September, October and November, the Notre Dame de Namur University Office of Spirituality will be collaborating with the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, located here in Belmont, to host community Taizé prayer services.
Taizé, pronounced tay-zay, is a form of prayer that originated in France in 1940. Although originally intended for young people, Taizé is practiced by people of all ages around the world. Over the years, Taizé transformed itself into an entire movement dedicated to peace and justice through prayer, meditation, and song.
Amy Jobin, the Director of Spirituality at NDNU, teamed up with the Reverend of Good Shepherd to put on the Taizé prayer services. She and the church welcome and encourage all to attend the services. Jobin stated that we live in a very fast world and while our schedules can be very hectic, it is important that we take the time to give ourselves a break. “That is one way they find healing and calm in a busy world,” said Jobin when discussing why people practice Taizé. “All day long, we are constantly building up and building up, as we are pushing and striving towards our goals. Meditation and contemplative prayer gives us the time to allow ourselves to deconstruct as we reflect on our lives,” said Jobin.
Along with a few other religion and philosophy classes, the Challenged by Christian Ethics class taught by Dr. Hamilton here on campus will be providing some of the art for the Taize services at Good Shepherd. Jobin contacted Dr. Hamilton to organize this art project. In order to educate the students on Taize and the beautiful artwork that goes with it, Jobin attended one of Dr. Hamilton’s class sessions.
Art is significant in the practice of Taize, as it gives followers a source of inspiration. Typical Taize art features a person who represents a positive archetype. The person can be anyone deemed inspirational, from a saint to a leader, such as Martin Luther King Jr., to one’s grandmother. The art presented in this article is of Sister Dorothy Stang of NDNU, who was killed in Brazil during her attempts to save the Amazon Rainforest.
The Taizé services at Good Shepherd reflect a community led prayer with no particular leader. Each service begins with singing, led by musicians, followed by the reading of Scripture. After, there is a ten to fifteen minute period of quiet meditation and lastly, the service ends with prayer. These services, held every third Wednesday of each month at Good Shepherd, start at 7:30 pm and last one hour. Good Shepherd is located at 1300 5th Avenue in Belmont. It is recommended that students who want to attend the services meet on campus and drive to the church together.