Young Lutherans head to Rome for ecumenical prayer vigil

28 Sep 2023

Young Lutherans will join the LWF General Secretary, Pope Francis and a host of other Christian leaders for a prayer vigil in the Vatican organized by the ecumenical Taizé community

St. Peter Square, Vatican City

St. Peter Square, Vatican City. Photo: Maria Marselle/Pexels 

LWF General Secretary will join Pope Francis and other Christian leaders for Taizé prayer vigil in St Peter’s Square 

(LWI) - Young Lutherans from around the globe will be joining together with thousands of people from many other Christian world communions for an ecumenical prayer vigil on 30 September in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican. 

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt will join Pope Francis, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Justin Welby and representatives of other churches and ecumenical organizations to lead the event, which has been jointly organized by the Vatican and the international monastic community Taizé, based in eastern France. 

The delegation of young women and men, led by LWF Youth Program Executive Savanna Sullivan, includes participants from Brazil, Tanzania, Germany and Norway. Other LWF member churches, such as the Church of Sweden, have also sent delegations to Rome for the occasion.  

Shared prayer and practical action 

General Secretary Burghardt highlighted the significance of youth participation in the event, noting that: “ecumenism, together with theology, shared mission, and service to those in need, are the four pillars upon which the LWF was founded. It is vital that the next generation of church leaders forge bonds of trust and friendship with young people from other Christian traditions, so that together they can carry forward our journey of reconciliation and unity in the One Body of Christ.” 

Sullivan pointed to the diverse ecumenical contexts from which the young Lutherans are drawn, emphasizing that “LWF Youth continue to re-affirm the importance of investing in young leadership in ecumenical relations at both local and global levels.” She added: “This event is a great occasion for young people to build community and pray together with Christians from other traditions, but it also offers opportunities to discuss and plan concrete action to address shared concerns like climate justice, tackling poverty and being peacebuilders in our different contexts.” 

The prayer vigil marks the culmination of a weekend of ecumenical activities for young people on the eve of a Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops who will be meeting in Rome from 4 to 29 October to discuss the theme: ‘For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission’. Pope Francis has underlined the importance of ecumenical participation in these discussions, stressing that “the path of Christian unity and the path of synodal conversion of the Church are linked.” 

LWF/P. Hitchen