Friday, November 25, 2016


Last Thursday, thanks to the effort of Michele, we have visited three amazing places. The first was Polignano di Mare (Picture 17 under the posts). It is a beautiful old town from the middle ages next to the sea, not far from Bari in the direction of Lecce. The particularity of the city that it it’s built on seaside rocks.

After that, we went to the Community of Bose (more info: - Picture 18). Briefly, they are a brother’s community living in celibacy and following the word of the Gospel with different Christian backgrounds. This small fraternity’s main occupation is welcoming young people, and doing practical work, in their case producing olive oil, vegetables, fruits and various jams. After we have arrived, we have participated on a Eucharist held by the four present brothers, together with the visitors in a small underground chapel. It was interesting to experience the monastic depth of the mass, having starting notes on a zither.

Then we went to Ostuni, the so-called white city because the buildings have various shades of white. The medieval city is built on top of a steep hill, with tiny streets and characteristic neighborhoods. In addition, it was one of the cities in Italy where Mel Gibson shot his movie called Passion a couple of years ago (picture 19 and 20). 

Friday, besides our work in the morning in the camp we had two premiers. We had our first song practice and our first prayer around the cross. The song practice went easier than expected, mainly because we could rely on Ruis’ brilliant pedagogical skills and because the church’s’ choir leader was also a humble participant jumping in with a good note when needed. The prayer was also a very good surprise for us: when the time came to go up to the cross, we explained shortly what we usually do in Taizé, and invited everyone to join if one feels like. And they did. We were amazed to see people’s courage, young and old, to do this kind of prayer. Although we might need to put the cross higher this Friday, the experience is unforgettable for all of us.

Saturday, as how it is usual now, we went to Santa Scholastica to join the prayer and afterwards we went to the Basilica San Nicola to participate on the celebration of closing the Liturgical Year of Mercy. The bishop of the diocese was there with all the priests we get to know here, including the one, which regularly visits the camp. Markus met two guys from the camp, two Nigerians who are always present at the prayers in the camp chapel every Wednesday. It was interesting to see that although they are waiting for being granted asylum in Italy, they participate on such important Christian community events.

For this Sunday we went to Santa Scholastica to participate on the Eucharist. Afterwards we stayed together with the community for lunch. If you can imagine this explosively joyful, very warm and big loud Italian family who has a 3 hour lunch. Us, trying to speak Italian with moderate success and great encouragement, trying to connect and them just being themselves, the ever-joyful family we got to know in them. 

During the week, we continued with our usual schedule in CARA, sometimes we stay longer if listening to an interview with lawyers take longer or we want to continue to play with the children. Not surprisingly, we cannot share the stories we hear, but they will going to continue to work in us for a long time. In the evenings, we stayed together with various groups, to have dinner together, to share. For example, we met a missionary priest who have been in Ethiopia for the greater part of his life and we listened to him, how he built schools, bridges and what kind of savage customs local people have. 

Wednesday evening we visited the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco in the outskirts of Bari. First we prayed together with Taizé songs, we gave testimony of our experience and then, as how it’s usual here we stayed a bit to have dinner together. Their main work is to help young people to be together in a safe place, to do their homework, to organize activities together, to play table football with them besides helping homeless people in the weekend. 

The next day we visited Matera, a not that infamous, but more beautiful city in the neighboring region called Basilicata. This is the city where many scenes for the Mel Gibson movie Passion were shot, not forgetting that it will also be the European Capital of Culture in 2019. In the evening, we went to Santeramo in Colle. We were invited to join the local Taizé prayer, which they organize every Thursday and to give our testimony. We met Don Rocco and archbishop Giovanni who are old friends of the Community. It is always very inspiring to see that how big mark Taizé has on people. When we entered the church the icon of Virgin and the Child and of Friendship were there, not to mention the young people who are returning every year and even the walls of the rectory, where we’ve been invited to share dinner were full with posters of the stained glasses of Taizé.

More coming soon,
Rui, Markus and Szilárd

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Media update

We have appeared in the printed newsletter of the San Marcello church. They are writing about us, what we are doing, about Taizé, the European meeting in Riga and the schedule of the prayers held by us. Italian knowledge advised for reading!  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

after the first week

Well, we finished our first almost the second one too. I have the feeling that the place and the experience are getting more and more real because day by day we learn more and more about what is surrounding us, where we actually are.

However, our first week was filled, naturally, with meeting many people. The various church groups, like the ‘evergreen ladies’ with whom we had a common breakfast on the occasion of St. Martins day or singing some Taizé songs for the children choir group, and practicing Nada te turbe together because we were singing it on the Sunday Eucharist, were just some of the occasions we had. Also the scout group, to whom we also presented ourselves but in a more relaxed, open way thus we were all young people and they participated on our first real Taizé prayer, with a Taizé cross, candles, songs and intercessions. It was very interesting for all of us. They, discovering the songs and the silence and us, realizing another service aspect of our being here.

The weekend was a bit more relaxed and beautiful. For lunch we went to a free kitchen, for the homeless and the people in need. It was very beautifully kept, service made by volunteers and the canteen itself was built because the diocese every Sunday collects money for one specific cause and all of the offerings goes there. 120-130 was well fed with a multiple course meal and afterwards they even helped to clean up the place. And not only on the weekend, the diocese can provide a hot meal a day for this group of people the whole week. We observe together that here in Bari they not only talk about the Gospel but also act accordingly.

We had our first catechesis and prayer in the church of Santa Scolastica, the church where also brother Roger and many then young brothers have been in the end of ’70-s. In another part of the church we could still find many pictures of the visit, accompanied with great personal testimonies, together with the friendship icon and the Taizé cross. It’s very interesting to walk along the beautiful medieval part of the city and then you enter a church and it’s filled with Taizé memories. Sunday was more hectic, because we attended three Eucharists to be presented to the local community, and to speak shortly about our mission.

During the week we mainly continue our work-schedule in CARA (this is the name of the refugee camp) as how we did last week, but we also try to discover new ways to help, like accompanying somebody to the hospital, signing people up to the Italian class or Portuguese translation in the lawyers office.

Our prayers in the evening are getting regular and we always have a couple of people around. I think the organizers around us are making great efforts to have people present, and we think about ways and songs which are easy for the Italian ear, and for the mouth to repeat. We even had Wednesday night somebody asking for Sviaty Bože, so we keep our hopes up!

More coming soon,
Rui, Markus and Szilárd

Saturday, November 12, 2016

a second note which is a first note

It is now four days that we arrived in Bari. The journey was (thanks to some friends of Taize in Rome) already a nice experience. Thanks on this occassion again to Alessia and Santiago. I'm sure this note will reach them somehow.. In Rome we did not only get a short light of how it must have been in Rome when gladiators were fighting, but also a one first taste of the amazing Italian kitchen. That was three times Big McMenu. I continue to make advertisement..
After some compensating drinks in the train, thanks to an electricity problem, we arrived in Bari! And now we really got in touch with the Italian kitchen - it was so good after this long day!! While having amazing pizzas (with thin crust, the way they do it in Bari) we were very warmly welcomed by Don Giovanni (a wonderfully charismatic and engaging priest) and good friends of him. Then we got into the parish house that is so alive. It seems to have its own soul. So much people that are engaging themselves and a real parish community waited for us to be experienced..Perhaps we can write more about it, soon - because a lot can be said about it. We will see..

But now I really want to write about our main project here: four times a week we visit a refugee camp with 1800 people of 28 nations. When we arrived I was a bit shocked. It was really a big thing to get there. It seemed like a high security prison. We first had to pass a security control from the army to get to the area, where the train passes by and the airport is around the corner. Then we needed to drive for two kilometres to finally arrive at another fence. There we had to show our permission-cards to actually enter the camp.
In the camp however we were kindly welcomed by the ones who work there and also by the ones who live there. We have been introduced to the bureaucracy center, the medical center, the psychological center and the law center. Furthermore there is a police station, a big place to eat in the center (the mensa), a big football field, a small army station, a small kindergarden and a lot of barracks to live in. All that is on a small area. So you could say it is like a small village that has everything for daily life - perhaps too much, because there is only few to work, at that place. Meanwhile, we play every morning with the little children. And I just want to share one experience from yesterday. We painted with different colours a game on the floor. The children were so much laughing and some people came to see what is happening. And I had the impression they would have liked to join us but were a bit too shy.. But the laughter of the children was so infectious that everyone seemed soon happy for that moment.
I think a lot of discussion can be made of this refugee camp and on the situation of the refugees in total, but for me, this simple moment touched me most in the last days. Because it created this simple and so important connection between those who have been there.

Hopefully more, soon!
Rui, Szilard and Markus