Magis Lithuania 2021

In July 2021, an event organised by the Jesuits and their collaborators took place in Lithuania, bringing together over 80 young people aged between 18 and 35 for a week. This year's motto was the scripture verse from the Book of Revelation, "Behold, I make all things new!" These words identify the charism that accompanied the MAGIS community throughout these seven days – to experience the transforming presence of God in their daily lives.

This summer's MAGIS event consisted of three parts: the opening event, the Ignatian experiments and the closing event. The opening and closing events took place in Kaunas, at the Jesuit Gymnasium and Church, while the experiments were scattered throughout Lithuania. Each participant had the opportunity to choose the experiment that was closest to his or her heart: to travel on foot along the partisan trails in the Dainava District, to get to know oneself more deeply through various arts in Kulautuva, to experience the fullness of silence during a retreat in Palendriai, to endure the hardships, but also to admire the trails of the Camino Lituano in Suvalkija, and to learn authenticity during theatre classes in Vilnius. Each of these experiments, in its own way, taught one to look at everyday or unusual activities with the eyes of faith and gave a deeper understanding of how God works in the life of each person.

The opening and closing events at the beginning and end of the week gave the participants of all the various experiments the opportunity to get to know each other and to be reconciled to God. A special highlight of the opening event was the optional lectures on the theme "Christianity and Culture". Experts from different professional fields shared their thoughts on what it means for them to work and act in a Christian way in society and the world. Topics covered included Islam, politics, business, ethnology and art. The closing event was marked by an evening concert on the terrace of the Jesuit residence with the artist Linas Adomaitis and his band.

"A faith that is rooted in life is what a young person needs right now," says MAGIS coordinator in Lithuania, Lukas Ambraziejus, SJ. "If we want to attract young adults to the Church, we have to learn how to communicate the Gospel message to them in the language that they speak – a language that is full of verbs of stress, worries, anxieties, relationships, joy, hopes and searching," says Br. Lukas. This is the purpose of MAGIS – to help a young person to recognise how God is at work in his or her daily life, which is sometimes calm and clear, but more often difficult to understand and chaotic. The grateful and vibrant faces of the participants on the last day of the MAGIS week testified that this goal was achieved – despite the aching legs, the patched feet or the hunger they endured, despite the Instagram that went unread for a week, despite the uncovering of frightening corners of the soul, and despite the fear of meeting and opening up to strangers after such a long time in isolation. Liucija Rėksnytė, coordinator of the Partisan Pilgrimage, testifies that "this experiment, every day, was full of lessons in love: how to love someone not like you, how to love someone like yourself, how to love God and yourself". Salomėja Puskunigytė, a participant of another pilgrimage, the Camino Lituano, describes her personal experience of the MAGIS week as "a return to God in leaps and bounds".

In addition to summer events, MAGIS also organises winter/spring retreats and year-round MAGIS clubs in Vilnius and Kaunas. You can find out more about MAGIS activities in Lithuania by visiting the facebook page "Magis LT".