MAGIS 2022 – Beyond the Ordinary
A programme for youth, organized by the Bombay Jesuits
The Bombay Jesuits organized a youth programme called “MAGIS: Beyond the Ordinary” at St. Peter’s Church, Bandra. This 4-day programme held between 22nd and 25th October 2022 saw the presence of 200+ youth (aged between 18 – 29 years) converge upon St Peter’s Bandra. As it was a residential programme, the youth were accommodated in St. Stanislaus school (the boys) and St. Joseph’s high school (the girls). The organizing team, consisting of 50 members, had a judicious mix of Jesuit fathers and brothers, religious sisters, as well as youth. The youth were from different parts of Bombay, Vasai, Nashik, and Dhule. Some participants were from the North-east of India. Under the leadership of Fr Ivan, the programme was tenaciously designed to help the youth go beyond the ordinary especially by living out the traditional five pillars of MAGIS:
Eucharist: Given its roots in Ignatian spirituality, MAGIS 2022 had at its core the emphasis on the Christ-experience in the Holy Eucharist. At the Inaugural mass themed “Magis: Beyond the ordinary”, Bishop Barthol emphasized the fact that every individual is missioned to ‘being more’ for Christ beyond ordinary standards. In continuation, on Day 2 Fr. Frazer celebrated the Eucharist with the theme “From ME to WE”. Illuminating the present cultural and socio-politico context, he challenged the youth to be more respectful and sensitive to others. On Day 3, masses were held in smaller groups in order to facilitate better sharing within the groups. The MAGIS program reached its culmination on the final day with the Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Gerard, themed “MAGIS Magic”. At this Eucharist, the youth recalled the numerous experiences had at the MAGIS program and eventually made a love-offering of themselves to Christ’s mission of love.
Prayer and Examen: During these 4 days, the youth were gradually introduced to different methods of praying. To begin with, there was a session of guided prayer conducted by a group of religious sisters before mass. The choir organized Taize prayer for the participants where they sang different Taize chants and got the participants to join in. A group of young Jesuits formed a Jesuit band that led the entire group into praise and worship through song and dance. A pilgrimage to Mount Mary’s was also organized wherein the youth went walking to the mount while saying the rosary and singing hymns. Besides the various methods of prayer, the youth were also initiated into the practice of the daily Examen. They were guided through the examen, an Ignatian method of prayer, for the 3 days every night before the end of the day.
Experience: An integral part of the MAGIS program is the module on outreach. The youth were sent forth, as the disciples were, to interact with underprivileged people from different walks of life. This year the youth were sent to homes for the aged, homes for the destitute, associations working with rescued women, LGBT and many others. Keeping in mind the UAP on Care for creation, some groups were also sent for a beach clean-up. These programmes were thoroughly and meticulously planned. We visited almost 13 centres each on both the days. Not only did the youth participate in these visits voluntarily but they also learnt a lot from their interactions there.
The MAGIS Circle: Becoming aware of the movements of the spirit, is a distinctive feature of Ignatian spirituality. With this in mind, the MAGIS circle was organized after the experience-based visits. This exercise helped the participants articulate their emotions and feelings from the experience/visit. The MAGIS circle not only helped the young minds to recall and share their experiences, but also encouraged them to attune themselves to the movements of the spirit within them and the feelings it entailed. Such sharing helped the group to gain insights on how the experience had had an impact on them as well as helped them learn from each other’s experience. It also helped making new friends and building stronger bonds.
This MAGIS, a distinctive theme song ‘Let’s be more,’ was written and composed by Sch Ambrose. Not only did the youth learn the song, but under the tutelage of Ms Savia Almeida, they learnt dance steps for the same. There were occasional jam sessions during the day as well as dance sessions in the afternoon. On the third day, a cultural programme was organized where the youth displayed their stupendous talent. Though held after a break of two years, the programme was a grand success. The participants enjoyed themselves and carried along with them numerous experiences and joy-filled memories.
- Dn Vivian Almeida SJ