Magis 2005 Cologne, Germany

In 2005, before the World Youth Day in Cologne, a German Jesuit, Father Ludger Joos had the idea of creating a programme for young people to "tune in" to the WYD. He took the Ignatian spirituality as a starting point, and with the help of their fellow religious, plenty of ideas came up which they just had to fine tune. Thus the diverse "profile" of the MAGIS was created. The aim of this event is to find God, to see God in the world, living in it.

With this MAGIS meeting was born the structure and the basic elements of a MAGIS meeting, and these elements are followed in the upcoming years. First part of the meeting there are different types of experiments and on the last days all the participants gather for a festival.

MAGIS experiments are challenging young adults to move into unfamiliar situations and to examine what happens. Experiments are meant for those looking for „the more“ in their lives, for a faith that does justice.

Each experiment usually gathers 20-25 participants from different nationalities for about ten days. Reflecting at the end of every day, participants are invited to ask themselves: Where did I find God? Was God in the people I met? In the marginalised? In the child? In the handicapped person?

All experiments have five daily key elements:
• mass or a liturgical celebration
• a scriptural input for each day
• activities according to the theme of the experiment
• the MAGIS-circle, where participants talk to each other about the day’s experience
• the Ignatian Examen, a process of reviewing the day in the light of God‘s grace

MAGIS 2005 in numbers:
84 experiments in Germany, France, Luxemburg, Belgium and the Netherlands

320 experiment leaders

2150 participants from 41 countries (from the US via Europe to Taiwan and Australia)

2550 people in 440 tents on the Loreley

2900 participants at the final festive Mass

A testimony from somebody who’s in love with „The More“

When I heard about Magis for the first time I was 17 years old: Somebody from our diocese (Peter Hundertmark) came to our CLC youth group and told us, that we should host about two hundred people in the week before WYD 2005. We already had heard some little things about Ignatius and stuff, but I couldn’t imagine what Magis should be about. Although the idea of Magis was so strange for me, I was fascinated by it and I registered. My maths teacher was about to organize a pilgrim experiment and asked me if I wanted to take part in it as experiment leader among 4 others (a Jesuit, my religion teacher, a friend of mine and this maths teacher).

Already the preparation for Magis was exciting: I met many “important” people, with whom I would never have had contact without Magis. It is about getting connected to many people from everywhere. Of course you can meet people everywhere, but the thing about Magis is, that you know, that all these people want to get in touch with Jesus more or less, whether they know it or not. I shared a very impressing time of my life with them.

On the day, when all those people came to our school it was an incredible feeling! Everybody was welcoming and so friendly to each other; everybody was so keen on making new friends and to share faith.We had dinner, an evening prayer in a church and the next day a mass with our bishop in another church of our town. The ambiance during that mass was overwhelming, because everybody was just so happy to be there and so excited about what would happen next.

At our school there were people from Poland, from Spain, from France and from Italy. All those were distributed at about eight groups with different projects. There was a group which did exercises in a town with social difficulties, there was one which had as theme a Jewish graveyard and its story, then a group rehearsing a pantomime and so on. In our group we had Hispanics, French and Italians.

In my group, we had a walk through the night, several walkings in silence, a meditation at an old fortress etc. We slept in churches and in parish halls, we cooked together, celebrated masses, sang, prayed and shared our life. I loved the people from our group the more I knew about their life and personality. We were so diverse, but had somehow all the same wish: to get in a deeper contact with God, to have more life.

The final gathering at the Loreley was an amazing event, when all those 2200 Magis-participants finally met, to eat Tofu, live in tents, celebrate mass, have party at the firesite, experience the rain (from which it had a lot during those three days), share the experiences from the experiments and to see cultural night, when people from about 20 countries showed, what life was about in where they came from. After the event all the Magis pilgrims were brought on ships on the Rhine to Cologne.

It was a real deep experience, those days and I was so lightened by it, that after it I could never imagine Magis could happen once again. However I went to the meeting, where the Australians invited us to participate at Magis 2008 in Australia. They convinced me. I just had to go to Australia to see what Magis was about over there and to find out if Magis could happen once again. And it did!!!