It has been four years since young people started a Taizé prayer service at St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas. What began as an outgrowth of their experience at the Viatorian Youth Congress, brought so much peace to parishioners after the shooting massacre in 2017, that the service stuck and has been a mainstay in the parish ever since.

Holding it during Advent, seemed especially fitting.

“Taizé is good for the soul — and Advent,” said Associate Rosy Hartz, who helps young people in the parish organize the service each month.

Fr. Bill Haesaert, CSV, with some of the young people involved.

As with most Taizé prayer services, it takes place in a darkened church, lit only by candles. During the hour, there are periods of silence with meditative readings from Scripture, prayers of praise and intercession, and the frequent repetition of simple, contemporary music or chants based on the Psalms. Members of the Arlington Heights/Chicago region wove Taizé prayer into their Advent service on Dec. 12.

“There’s no place I would have rather been tonight,” added Associate Juliann Dwyer of the Las Vegas service that took place Dec. 14.

Associates Bridget Michlik, Juliann Dwyer and Rosy Hartz

It was Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, who first brought Taizé prayer to the Viatorian Community. In 1999, he began offering it at the Viatorian Province Center, reaching out to both Saint Viator High School students as well as supporters of the Viatorians. Since then, nearly all the places where Viatorians minister offer Taizé prayer.

“Those that come, without exception, tell me they find a remarkable peace during the evening,” Fr. Brost says. “It’s a wonderful way to connect with God. The music and the ritual seem to open people up so that they experience God’s love and peaceful presence.”