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MAGIS South Asia! What would be the best metaphor to capture the core essence of this youth movement? That metaphor could be- a butterfly! A butterfly which is first a larva, then a pupa in a cocoon, then a beautiful winged creature. Although sometimes butterfly represents the ephemeral beauty, it is also a symbol of transformation and resurrection, of new life arising of the old, of both delicateness and the umpteen possibilities of life. It signifies that life is worth living, even though our own personal contributions to making the world a happier place may be both fleeting and fragile. MAGIS, in essence, imparts this core message- there is a lot of difference between being a human being and being human! That in essence was the theme of MAGIS 2018- “Youth ambassadors of peace and reconciliation”.

MAGIS South Asia, a movement for the youth was initiated about 6 years ago, under the leadership of Fr Brian Pereira, JYMSA Secretary. Every year, the youth from different Provinces of South Asia take part in MAGIS to celebrate God, godliness and goodness. MAGIS convention offers a challenge to youth who are involved in a labyrinth of perplexities and are enamoured by the cushy aspirations of the corporate life with ‘I love me, my selfie, myself’ which obviously makes them thin-skinned to the social realities. MAGIS aims to reprogram youth with much wider perspectives towards life- you are what your driving desire is, as your desire is so is your will, as your will is so is your deed and your destiny. The purpose of MAGIS is to inculcate a holy desire to create a worthy beautiful human race, in order to take care of our precious planet. With these lofty aspirations, about 800 youth from most of the States of India gathered at Loyola College, Chennai, from 12 to 15 of January to participate in MAGIS South Asia - 2018.

MAGIS 2018 began with the inaugural march with the drum beats of traditional music of Tamil Nadu. The praise and worship led by Ms. Corrine Rasquina and team was spirit-warming and heart-elevating, and the procession that followed with the MAGIS Cross held high made the participants to walk closer with the Lord. The presentation of the MAGIS flags to the representatives of various provinces dressed in their traditional attire was a spectacular event. The excellent inauguration address by Fr Joe Arun, Fr Jebamalai Raja and Dr Chinnapan was followed by the icebreaking session which helped the participants to cross the their regional boundaries and connect with each other. The five MAGIS pillars- personal prayer, Apostolic Experiences, Eucharist, MAGIS circle and Ignatian Examination of Consciousness were the source of spiritual nourishment.

Then there were those magical moments of praise and worship under the open sky. The solemn Eucharist presided over by Most Rev. George Antonysamy. Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore who inspired the participants to be the catalysts of social change. A new MAGIS family was formed by dividing the participants into various groups. Then there was a motivational talk by Mr. George Ebenezer which evoked a thunderous applause. The penitential service led by Fr Arul Raja helped the participants to grow in close union with the Lord.

Wah - the Pongal festival – a celebration of joy and prosperity! The festive aroma that started with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr Jayapathy Francis, Rector of Loyola College lasted throughout the day. The day was also marked by social outreach programme, an important component of MAGIS. The participants were charged by the spirit of giving, and giving more without counting the cost. Each one returned with a heart-moving experience which transformed many of them.

Oops! then the final day! MAGIS began with the pilgrimage to San Thome Church, Chennai which culminated with a meaningful Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Fr Danis Ponniah, Provincial of Madurai Province. The eastern sea of Chennai was beckoning, so the participants had a relaxing walk on the Chennai marine drive. The valedictory address was given by Fr. Jerry Rosario, the famed dynamo of care and concern for the anawim. Fr Paul Raj, the local coordinator of MAGIS 2018, gave a thoughtful vote of thanks. The organizers of MAGIS event, Fr Brian Pereira, Fr Paulraj, Jesuits of Loyola College Community and others left no stone unturned to make this event a phenomenal one. The participants left the portals of Loyola College Chennai, being formed and transformed to be the true ambassadors of peace and reconciliation.

MAGIS has come here to stay, because tomorrow it will be the Church of the youth. We need to understand that. And soon!

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