The first Taize-style student pilgrimage in North America, will be held in Washington, Oct. 2-4.
Between 40 and 50 Washington area churches of half a dozen denominations are cooperating in plans for the event, which will involve 1,000 students from the East Coast.
Cannon Michael Hamilton of the Washington Cathedral, which is coordinating the three-day gathering, said registration is already filled -- nearly four months before the starting date.
"It looks like we'll have to turn some people away," said Hamilton, although he added that "we would like to have more churches participating."
The young people will be assigned to one of the local congregations, preferably a different denomination from their own, for an evening of conversation and prayer Oct. 2 on the pilgrimage's theme, "Suffering and Hope."
Moving out from their assigned churches the following morning, they will walk through the city toward the cathedral, possibly with the pastor and members of the host congregation. On the way, they will visit institutions, such as hospitals or halfway houses, whose work is related to the suffering-hope theme.
After supper at the cathedral on Oct. 3, Brother Roger, Taize's founder, will lead the evening worship service. The pilgrims will spend the night in sleeping bags at the cathedral's schools.
The following morning the students will participate in small group discussions, prayer, meditation and worship focused on the pilgrimage theme. Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine, and Episcopal Bishop John T. Walker of Washington will address the group.
The purpose of the pilgrimage, according to Brother Leonard, who is helping plan the event, it "to review the signs of reconciliation that are already existing and to invite people to invent more."
He said pilgrims were attracted largely by sending announcements to campus ministers and to Taize alumni.
A miniature pilgrimage is also set for the evening of Oct. 1 in New York City, with St. Patrick's Cathedral as the gathering point. Pilgrimages are also slated for Montreal and Ottawa in November.