Students worship through religious service held on campus


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On Monday evening, 14 people joined in Taizé, a service of meditation held on campus at St Joseph’s Hall. This form of prayer originated in the midst of worldwide conflict during the twentieth century. Its French founders sought a new means of unifying Christian denominations, particularly Protestantism and Catholicism, as a response to a period of a time of marked by conflict over ideological barriers between nations.

Taizé has served as an example of St. Edward’s commitment to establishing a worldly community aimed at unifying people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds. 

Just like the brothers of the small monastic community in France, members of St. Edward’s Taizé group have employed methods including song, prayer and meditation rooted in common Christian principles as a means of reflection and of fostering community.

Numerous students spoke out during the service.

“It’s up to where you are, and who you are,” said Jordan Francisco, student.

This resonated with the commentary of Jennifer Veninga, assitstant professor of religious and theological studies, who is also an ordained minister.

Veninga described the unrestrictive nature of the Taizé prayer as being one which builds a community and is accessible to people of all religions, not just limited to those who practice under the branch of Christianity. 

Veninga, also faculty sponsor of the group, explained that the service is Christian in practice, but that the group hopes to create a place of tranquility and meditation for the bigger St. Edward’s community as it continues to gain followers.

Taizé is a fairly new organization on campus, this fall marks their first full year as a practicing student organization. 

Sophomore Mackenzie Medlin, who is majoring in religious and theological studies, owes her involvement with the club to the sense of tranquility which the services bring to her. Medlin said that the bi-weekly events are a nice breather in a schedule otherwise jam-packed with school, extracurriculars and, occasionally, some sleep. 

As the group packed up and dispersed for the evening, student Matthew Aragones stayed back to offer his perception of what Taizé is about.

Aragones cited a passage of the Holy Cross Institution which serves as a hallmark of what makes St. Edward’s unique among other universities: “Our mission sends us across borders of every sort.”