Walk aims to build trust needed for a unified community

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The St. Louis community often talks the talk about moving forward beyond its divisions, but now it's time to walk the walk.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, St. Louisans and others from throughout the Midwest and beyond are invited to participate in a Walk of Trust to the Chaifetz Arena on the St. Louis University campus. It's a first step to move beyond race, region or other divisions.

Marie Kenyon of the archdiocese's Peace and Justice Commission calls the walk "a wonderful opportunity to publicly witness our hope to bring peace to our community."

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said having the event in St. Louis will help people "spend some time talking to each other, praying with each other, and in doing that building the trust that we need to be a unified community."

The walk is part of a Pilgrimage of Trust in St. Louis led by the brothers of the Taizé Community of France, in collaboration with churches of different Christian denominations. The Pilgrimage of Trust brings together people of multiple faith, racial and socio-economic backgrounds. It was launched more than 35 years ago by Taizé's founder, Brother Roger, in order to foster trust between people through living and praying together, discussing and discovering common ground. It has brought together hundreds of thousands of young adults worldwide.

The idea of holding the ecumenical Pilgrimage of Trust in St. Louis came from Archbishop Carlson, who wrote a letter to the Taizé brothers, who have a charism of ecumenism and reconciliation. Archbishop Carlson knew of a Pilgrimage of Trust that took place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 2013 supported by the tribal council and prepared in collaboration with young Native Americans from South Dakota. In inviting the Taizé Community, Archbishop Carlson underlined his concern for the need to rebuild relations between factions in the area, especially after the events in Ferguson following a police-involved shooting death in August 2014 that seemed to split the community and the issues that came to light.

The events are the culmination of a yearlong effort to build trust in the St. Louis area. Brian Miller, director of the Catholic Youth Apostolate of the archdiocese, said the walk is "a beginning of a conversation among a lot of people to come together and try to move forward. We're inviting people to take that first step."

Brother Emile of the Taizé brothers said that in the preparation of this Pilgrimage of Trust, "I think it has become clearer what kind of trust we are seeking together: not a trust that looks away or ignores the pain of the world, but a trust that sharpens human vision, prods us to look squarely at the issues and not gloss over them, but to embrace reality, believing it can be transformed when it is acknowledged. A trust that can give us the courage to take risks for Christ and the Gospel."

Participants from outside St. Louis are offered hospitality by local families. The weekend will involve times of prayer, Bible reflections, workshops on themes related to trust, justice and reconciliation as well as the citywide prayer walk. While the workshops are targeted to young adults, the prayer portions are open to all. Many of the events will be held at St. Louis University, but workshops will involve visits to places of suffering and hope in the St. Louis metropolitan area. 

>> Walk of Trust

WHAT: The first step of healing deep divisions and lack of dialogue will bring people together to promote unity, healing and prayer.

WHEN: Begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 28, with an address by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and by Rev. Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, at 4 p.m. at Chaifetz Arena, 1 S. Compton Ave. in St. Louis, followed by prayer at 5 p.m.

WHERE: The walk has several starting points, with the primary site at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd., in the Central West End of St. Louis. Other departures are at 2:15 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 4501 Westminster Place in St. Louis; 2:30 p.m. at Galilee Baptist Church, 4300 Delmar Blvd. in St. Louis; 2:40 p.m. at the Daughters of Charity, 4330 Olive Street in St. Louis; 3:15 p.m. at Masjid Bilal (West Pine Mosque), 3843 W. Pine Mall Blvd.; and 3:30 pm at the Clock Tower on the St Louis University campus.

MORE INFORMATION:

No registration is necessary for the Walk of Trust, and there is no cost for the walk. Visit www.walkoftrust.com for details.

Registration is needed for the other Pilgrimage of Trust events May 25-29. Registration is $45 and includes three meals. The deadline for registering for the Pilgrimage of Trust is May 17. Visit pilgrimageoftruststl.com to register and get more information.

COST: Free for the Walk of Trust, $45 for the Pilgrimage of Trust events May 25-29. 

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