Dinh Tran Van, SJ

Magis 2023, with the theme of “creating a hope-filled future,” was officially launched on Saturday night, 22 July, with abundant joy and hope.

On 22 July, Magis 2023 officially began at Vila Magis, Lisbon, Portugal, with the participation of Jesuits and young people connected to Ignatian spirituality in the context of the World Youth Day. Magis 2023 is the pre-WYD event that occurs ten days prior, bringing together, this year, about two thousand young people from approximately 80 countries to Portugal.

Name a hope

One young volunteer found the theme of hope confusing, feeling overwhelmed by daily concerns and lacking time for introspection. Nonetheless, he wishes to eventually identify and name his own hope. Another pilgrim comes with no specific expectations but looks forward to experiencing meaningful connections with people from diverse cultures, believing that God is present in everyone and everything. Isabella, another young pilgrim, expressed her hope for a new job, and she believes that Magis will provide her with the opportunity to discover her true self and find inspiration for new challenges and journeys. A senior volunteer from CLC is hoping that young people will experience God and the universality of the Church, drawing inspiration from Ignatian spirituality to live joyfully and hopefully.

When asked about hope, Benito, a Jesuit from Zimbabwe accompanying young people from his delegation, shared concerns about the challenges youth are facing in finding work and dealing with social issues. His desire is that the Magis experience can help them find hope in Jesus and have the courage to face life’s trials.

Jesus is our hope

Father Miguel Almeida, Provincial of the Portuguese Jesuit Province, celebrated the opening Mass of Magis 2023 on the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalene. He highlighted that “Mary’s experience was first of all an experience of profound desolation. She experienced emptiness. This is so often our experience: the experience of our own emptiness, the experience of the emptiness of life. When we lose someone we love, when a dream falls apart, when a relationship breaks down... When we cannot find the meaning of life.” He reminded the participants, however, that Jesus is here and will be with us as the Risen Christ was for Mary Magdalene. He comes to meet us through each other, our experience of the Church, and the sacraments we celebrate. Jesus is our hope and joy. He concluded by asking God in prayer that Magis and the World Youth Day experiences may renew each participant’s personal encounter with Jesus.

Companionship advancing hopes

During Magis 2023, numerous Jesuits who have been supporting young people for years are in attendance, sharing inspiring stories about God’s hope as well as teachings from Saint Ignatius through spiritual guidance and the sacrament of reconciliation. Through the power of music, Jesuit singers and musicians, like Cuban-American rapper Mike Martinez, Portuguese Jesuits Duarte Rosado, and Miguel Pedro Melo, challenged the young participants to ponder their inner identity, asking “Who are we?” while emphasizing that “If we distance ourselves from our identity, we distance ourselves from God. The goal of our pilgrimage is not a place, but someone: Jesus.”

MAGIS provides “a week of experiences of reflection, sharing and prayer” with diverse experiences such as Arts and Culture; Ecology and Environment; Faith and Spirituality; Pilgrimage and Journey; Solidarity and Service. At the end of MAGIS 2023, the pilgrims will gather again at Vila Magis after five days of experiences, hosting an open morning for the entire Ignatian community on 31 July, St. Ignatius Day, coinciding with the celebration of the founder of the Jesuits. This event will culminate in a Mass presided by the Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa, sending the pilgrims off to WYD. The celebration will take place on the field of Colégio S. João de Brito.

Now is the opportune moment to forge a hope-filled future! Now is the time to #bemagis!

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