Hundreds of young people from around the world including twenty three from Ireland have gone to Poland for MAGIS 2016. They will be guided in Ignatian spiritualty, prayer and action in preparation for World Youth Day with the Pope in Krakow next week.
Three Irish Jesuits, Niall Leahy SJ, Patrick Corkery and Brendan McManus are leading the Irish group along with Father Alan O’Sullivan OP, Chaplain at Trinity College and Sister Leonor Franco ACI. They arrived last Friday and spent the first few days getting ready for this week when they head off to different parts of Poland to work on various projects.
All the pilgrims took part in an open air Mass on Saturday, concelebrated by Jesuits from around the world. That evening, Father Tomasz Kot SJ, the assistant to Father General Adolfo Nicolás SJ, welcomed the participants on behalf of Father Nicolás and encouraged them for the weeks ahead, as well as cracking the odd joke. He told them the secret of governing the Society of Jesus was to know what each Jesuit wanted to do and them give them the mission to go and do it. Then he added,”Of course there are always some Jesuits who don’t know what they want to do and we make them superiors!”
On Monday 18 July, bus loads of young people and their Jesuit leaders headed off to various destinations to work in ‘experiments’. Ignatian ‘experiments’ are activities designed to foster teamwork and a sense of community and provide some food for reflection each day. They are envisioned as valuable teaching moments for young adults on the way towards discovering the truth about themselves, becoming closer with Christ and neighbour.
The Irish group are taking part in various projects. Brendan McManus is leading a walking pilgrimage. Niall Leahy is leading a group at a summer camp for children with special needs, while Patrick Corkery is exploring Jewish heritage and Christian-Jewish relations with his group.
In Ignatian fashion, the groups will gather each night to reflect on their experiences during the day and conclude their evening with prayer. The MAGIS 2016 leaders hope that this immersion in Ignatian spirituality, reflection and service (contemplatives in action) will be a helpful, nourishing preparation for the young adults who will return to Krakow next week for the massive gathering of young people from all over the world at World Youth Day.