News Detail
Brad Held, SJ (Photo by Doris Yu)
Jesuit Prepares for MAGIS/World Youth Day 2016 in Poland

June 29, 2015 — With a year to go, Jesuit Brad Held is already gearing up for World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, Poland — he’s the U.S. project director for MAGIS 2016, the two-week Jesuit program leading up to WYD 2016.

Held has never attended a World Youth Day before, so he’s looking forward to experiencing it for the first time in a leadership role for MAGIS, which will gather together 2,000 young adults from Jesuit schools and parishes around the world. The theme for 2016, “To Give and Not to Count the Cost,” comes from St. Ignatius’ Prayer for Generosity. Held says it ties into the WYD theme: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

“I think that will be a powerful theme for young adults and hopefully be an experience of that for them,” he says. Held first found his own religious calling as an undergrad at a Jesuit college, Marquette University in Milwaukee. He studied political science and remembers telling someone his freshman year that he would probably work in politics for 15 years and then become a priest. His heart was already leading him toward religious life, even if his head still had other plans.

By his junior year, both his mind and heart were being called to a vocation, and after graduating in May 2006, Held entered the Jesuit novitiate that August. Now nine years into his formation, he’s studying theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, while also serving as the point person for MAGIS in the United States.

Held’s role is to work with MAGIS pilgrims from the U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities. “Our hope is to get as many of the 28 Jesuit colleges as possible to send groups of students over to Poland,” he says. “We also hope to encourage young adult groups from Jesuit parishes to attend.”

Part of his job is to help the U.S. pilgrims prepare for MAGIS — both physically and spiritually. “The preparation is both the odds and ends of travel — what they need to bring, what the program’s going to be like — but also, a key part will be spiritual preparation as well.”

Held doesn’t look at July 15, 2016, the first day of MAGIS, as the beginning.  “There’s reflection and prayer and community that’s built prior to our arrival in Poland, and that’s a key part of the preparation.”

Once they do arrive in Poland, all 2,000 participants will gather for the first three days of MAGIS in Lodz in Central Poland. Then pilgrims will be split into groups, with students from a variety of countries and languages mixed together. These groups are sent off throughout Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic on experiments for five days, which will include pilgrimage, service, social/cultural or artistic experiences.

From July 23-25, MAGIS attendees will regroup in Czestochowa, Poland, to reflect and pray about their experiences before heading to Krakow to join thousands more for World Youth Day, which takes place July 26-31, 2016.

Held anticipates that Pope Francis, who will be attending the final three days of WYD, will be a big draw for pilgrims. “He’s had a very large impact on many people, both Catholics and non-Catholics in the U.S. and across the world,” says Held, who looks forward to hearing the pope’s message firsthand.

As the point person between U.S. attendees and the Polish Jesuits organizing MAGIS in their country, Held will make a planning trip to Poland this fall, where he’ll meet with organizers and travel to the various cities where MAGIS and WYD will occur.

With an event this large, the logistics are always a bit of a challenge. “Those who have gone to WYD and MAGIS before always say be ready to roll with it!” Held says.

Held thinks that many young adults could appreciate the program. “I know that the young adults I’ve worked with — whether it’s in Boston or in remote places like Pine Ridge, South Dakota — are looking for an experience of mercy and forgiveness in various ways in their lives, and I think MAGIS and World Youth Day will be a very powerful experience of that.”

If you’re interested in participating in MAGIS or want more information, visit the MAGIS 2016 website or follow MAGIS 2016 on Facebook and Twitter.

Recent News

March 12, 2018 — A native of Haiti, Fr. Saint-Félix currently serves as the Secretary for the Office of Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S.

March 10, 2018 — Today the Society of Jesus celebrates the feast day of Saint John Ogilvie, SJ, a Jesuit martyr.

March 8, 2018 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has appointed Joan Rosenhauer to serve as the first woman in the role.

March 7, 2018 — March 9 marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ.

March 6, 2018 — "Scripture and Tradition," a new show hosted by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, debuts today on EWTN.

(Washington, D.C., March 13, 2018) — Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has named new rectors for the two Jesuit theology centers in the United States. Fr. Michael Boughton, SJ, will serve as rector of the Faber Jesuit Community at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (BCSTM), while Fr. Martin Connell, SJ, will serve as rector of the Jesuit Community at the Jesuit School of Theology (JST) of Santa Clara University.

view all news

Search news

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 3/5/18

America 2/19/18

America 2/5/18

Sioux Spiritual Center
The Sioux Spiritual Center, nestled amid the hills of western South Dakota, is the heart of the Diocese of Rapid City’s efforts to develop native clergy and leadership on the reservations.