Magis Central America 2019 Panama

From January 11-22, young pilgrims from five continents, served, learned and reflected on their roles as members of a living, breathing international church during MAGIS, an international immersion experience of Ignatian programs and events for young adults from Jesuit schools, parishes and ministries immediately preceding World Youth Day. The meeting was organized by the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus which consists of the following countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

The fact that the experiences were held in 6 different countries allowed attendees to know the sociocultural, spiritual, ecological, gastronomic and intellectual wealth of Central America; a region with deep hope and that, in the midst of the current challenges it faces, the world is shown as a geographical space that "has indigenous blood, that still prays to Jesus Christ and still speaks Spanish," as the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío described it.

The phrase "Your Word transforms", was chosen as a theme of the event, which addresses the strength of the word of God to transform and, at the same time, invites us to transform, as it did with Mary at the time of the Incarnation. The motto is based on that of the World Youth Day (WYD) Panama 2019 which is: "Behold the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word "(Lk 1:38).

After an orientation in Panama on 11-12 January, the participants dispersed across Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama on “Ignatian experiments,” activities based on the life experiences of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits from 13 to 17 January. Assignments included embarking on a pilgrimage in Costa Rica, volunteering at an orphanage in Panama and visiting the Hospital of Divine Providence in El Salvador, where St. Óscar Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass in the hospital chapel. Upon their return to Panama, the pilgrims gathered for a closing festival from 18 to 22 January and shared their experiences with Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus. “You are called to be a sign of the times,” Fr. Sosa said, “hope for the church, unifiers in a broken world.”

He thanked them “for having made this journey without fear, without knowing what could happen; in doing so, they went out in the ways of Jesus.”

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