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By Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific
Feb 1st, 2016

Go, set the world on fire! On January 3, 70 young people, set out to do just that in their home countries – Cambodia, Korea, Myanmar, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Indonesia – after nine days spent in the first Magis JCAP, held at Omah Petroek in Kaliurang Yogyakarta. 

In the opening Eucharist on December 26, Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific Socius Fr Eric Velandria SJ told them, “Whether you are a designer or programmer, you are not just an ordinary designer or programmer. You are called to fulfil your duties and responsibilities in a magis way, meaning, put together with God’s greater design for your life.”

They also met Indonesian Jesuit Provincial Fr Sunu Hardiyanta SJ who emphasised the importance of Jesuit and lay collaboration in saving souls. He said that through Magis, young people are introduced to Ignatian Spirituality and often inspired to work with the Jesuits in many fields.

During the first three days, the participants, who ranged in age from 19 to 35, were introduced to the history, structure and pillars of the Magis programme. Then they were off on their experiments – a socio-cultural immersion or a pilgrimage.

Magis JCAP 2015

Before they left, the participants expressed their fears and hopes for their experiment. Some wanted to lose weight, to find God in all things encountered. Some feared not being able to get food during the pilgrimage or being killed by extremist groups. Others were afraid of not being able to eat the food, to sleep, or to go to the toilet, or to communicate with their host family. But they all looked forward to getting out of their comfort zones and experiencing a different reality.

The socio-cultural immersion group walked for about 30 minutes to Sumberan village, where they spent two nights with a host family and learned the traditional Javanese farmer’s life. They learnt to plough and to plant rice; how to make batik; to play the gamelan, a traditional Javanese instrument; to dance Jathilan. They joined the village morning thanksgiving and donned traditional Javanese dress – kebaya and sorjan – for a parade.

The pilgrimage groups caught a public bus to their starting point. From there, they walked, in groups of four people from different countries, 60 to 70 km to visit seven Marian shrines around Yogyakarta and Central Java.

On New Year’s Day, the young people were asked to reflect and share on their immersion and pilgrimage experience.

The pilgrims said that they had learnt to rely fully on God’s providence, and come to realise that it is the journey and not the destination that is important. One of them said, “Being thirsty and hungry made me feel God’s presence in simplicity; watching the sun rise between hills seems like God is showing His majesty. We feel like children looking at exciting new things. Through this pilgrimage we can learn to pay attention on our surroundings, environment and people, when we normally only pay attention to ourselves.”

As for the immersion experiment, Ji In Jung from Korea shared, “I could find God through villagers and I can learn traditional things.  It was my first experience of homestay, learning culture, learning language and meeting local people closely. Actually we were strangers but villagers welcome us and enjoyed our visiting. It moved and touched me.”

Fr John Kim SJ explaining Cambodia group action plan for Magis

Fr John Kim SJ explaining Cambodia group action plan for Magis

Nob Samnang from Cambodia said, “The immersion helps me to learn about other people, culture, faith, experience, try something new, be service to others, find God in them.”

The participants were also struck by their introduction to Ignatian Spirituality. Jan Dan Kung from Myanmar said, “I really enjoyed doing the Examen, it is so helpful and peaceful in my mind.”

Another participant from Myanmar, Naw Noor, said “I think that Examen and reflection are the most effective valuable things for my life. Because when we learn something, we can reflect easily ourselves and consider the daily life more and more in our life.”

The programme was inspiring for Jesuits in the group too. Asked what he enjoyed most, Fr John Du Hyun Kim SJ who accompanied the Cambodia group said, “Being with young people who look for God and [want to] journey in footsteps of St Ignatius. Letting them come together and share each other’s life and having experiment together brings so much goodness, plus it’s always consoling to meet such spiritually alive people.”

Each country group was asked to develop a plan to establish or continue Magis programmes in their own countries. Many hope to go to Magis 2016 in Poland.

Magis JCAP 2015 was the first project of the newly-formed JCAP Youth Ministry team comprising Fr John Nugroho SJ from Indonesia, Fr Choe Songyong SJ from Korea and Teresa Wang from Taiwan.  Speaking on behalf of the team, Fr John said, “From this program, we know that the youth, are eager to learn and to live Ignatian Spirituality. They have enthusiasm to learn, to live and to spread Ignatian Spirituality. It is now our challenge to keep accompanying them.” 

“Each participant left Omah Petroek joyfully and brought home the magis flame that hopefully will enkindle others in their heart.”

Meet the Magis JCAP participants in the video below.


Source: JCAP News