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At St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on New Year's Eve, 45,000 worshippers take part in a Taize service illuminated by candlelight.
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IT WAS ONE of those moments that I did not see coming. I am not a journalist,
I was eagerly waiting, with photojournalists and worshippers from all over the world, for a very special service to begin.
It was a traditional Taize service, rich with beauty and filled with music and words spoken in so many languages that few, if any, would understand all of it.
As I waited for the service to begin, the crowd behind me grew to include 45,000 young people from all over the world. They were in Rome to participate in a Taize Community "pilgrimage of trust on earth."
Taize is a monastic community, centered in Taize, France, and ecumenical in nature. It has a particular form of worship service that includes silence, Scripture readings in multiple languages and special chant-like hymns.
The Rome gathering was part
In Rome's five-day event, a key feature was a Saturday evening address by Pope Benedict XVI.
I had discovered Taize only six months prior on YouTube in the middle of the night. A death in the family had prompted some bouts of insomnia. So, lost between unsuccessful efforts to meditate and biding my time surfing the Web, I found the beautiful music of Taize services online to be meditative and peaceful.
Now, here I was in Rome, experiencing one of the services alongside young people of various denominations (including Catholic, Orthodox and various Protestant traditions) who had been welcomed into the homes