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Jacques, my hero

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of the death of one of my heroes – Jacques Berthier. Jacques who? His name is unfamiliar in English-speaking countries, and even too little-known in his native country of France. Yet countless people to whom this man’s name means nothing have nevertheless been blessed by his music. Although he was never a member of the Taizé community in France, we still sing almost 100 Taizé chants that he composed: Ubi caritas, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Wait for the Lord, Nada te turbe, Laudate omnes gentes, Magnificat, Eat this bread, De noche, Bless the Lord, Bleibet hier, Dans nos obscurités, Singt dem Herrn, and many more. Millions of pilgrims who have travelled to Taizé over the decades have returned home to their far-flung countries, carrying Berthier’s hymns on their lips – and in their hearts.

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