THERE’S a new kind of prayer in town.

Taize, a decades-old form of ecumenical worship, is fast gaining a strong following from the Thomasian community courtesy of the services organized by the Center for Campus Ministry twice every month.

Born in and named after a town in France in 1940, Taize puts premium on community prayer and encourages members to “never fear to rise to meet the dawn, praising, blessing, and singing Christ your Lord.”

The CCM began organizing Taize sessions only at the beginning of 2008, but already, not a few students have been hooked.

“I could feel the strong presence of God along with the solemnity of prayers. It felt that I was having a conversation with Him. It made me get closer to Him,” David Cicero Pado, a member of the UST Pax Romana, said of his experience.

Pado was among some 350 participants who converged on the seminary gym for the second grand Taize gathering last Feb. 27. Also in attendance were students from La Concordia College, Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila, Jose Rizal University, and the Angelicum College.

In adopting Taize, campus organizers made some modifications, giving the service a bit of Filipino, if not Thomasian, identity. The February affair, for instance, included a procession of different religious icons.

Assoc. Prof. Richard Pazcoguin, CCM assistant director, said chants and the scriptures were also translated in Filipino.

The second grand Taize had a replica of the crucified Christ, which was originally used in the French town where the service originated.

“The icon is a symbolic depiction (of the life of Christ). The longer the person looks at it, the more he becomes mystified with Christ,” Pazcoguin said.

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Pazcoguin said the CCM came up with Taize as a way of further deepening the faith in UST, especially among students.

“Thomasians are generally prayerful. We have not lost our sense of Catholicism, but the question is, how far have we really gone,” he said.

In Taize, he said “silence is mostly valued, nobody preaches, and everyone is just singing.” He said chants were in “aid of meditation, internalization, and reflection.”

With UST as arguably Taize’s trailblazer among Philippine schools, Pazcoguin was hoping that Taize brothers who are set to arrive in the country soon could pay the university a visit.

“They already have learned that we are holding Taizè here in UST twice a month. Hopefully they will come here in the University after they visit the provinces in the country,” he said. Camille Abigael P. Alcantara and Nikki Q. Angulo

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