Many participants from mainland China enjoyed the spiritual experience of the Taize International Meeting of Young Adults in Hong Kong. The Taize community
is an ecumenical monastic order with a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation. The 100-strong community of Catholic and Protestant monks is drawn from 30 countries across the world. Participants at the Hong Kong event said they hoped to share Taize's spirit of pursuing unity and reconciliation with other youths. Attendee Maria from Zhejiang province in eastern China did a month of volunteering in Taize in France in August 2011. "The volunteer life was colorful. I lived and worked in a big family for a month, and I had friendships with those who had been living there for three to six months. I hope I will have a chance to participate again," she told ucanews.com. "In the past seven years, I have become a mother and have been working hard. As a result, my relationship with the Lord has gradually drifted away. I am eager to find a chance to slow down and let my mind release." She hoped that the "journey of trust" in Hong Kong would help her to regain her confidence and reconcile with God. The Aug. 8-12 meeting attracted nearly 2,700 young people from 40 countries and regions. Maria said the burst into tears when she heard the song of Taize at evening prayers on the first day. "Many people were touched by a sister's religious experience. Everyone's faith story was different but the enlightenment was also very special. Thanks to the Lord's amazing guidance, we could know each other and be like a family," she said. Joseph Ho, a Catholic from Hebei province
in northern China, told Hong Kong diocesan weekly Kung Kao Po
that he hoped to deepen his faith via the Taize meeting. "When I was a child, my parents took me to church. When I grew up, I would ask questions about my faith," Ho said. He asked himself three questions at the meeting: "What do I desire in faith? How to hear the voice of the Lord in the secular world? When I obey the Lord, what will change in my life?" Ho said that even though religion faces suppression
in China, maintaining inner peace can encourage him to stick to his faith. "Taize prayers can bring out unity and reconciliation so that I can listen to God's voice more," he said. Peter, a college student from Shaanxi province in northwest China, took a 36-hour train journey with seven friends to attend the meeting. He told Kung Kao Po
that they had cherished this opportunity and would take the spiritual experience of Taize back to their parishes to share with other youths and pass on the pursuit of unity and reconciliation.