By Doris Yu
July 12, 2013 — About 2,000 young adults are gathering at Colégio Antônio Vieira in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil for the opening of MAGIS 2013, the Jesuit-sponsored immersion experience preceding World Youth Day.
MAGIS welcomed each delegation this morning with pomp, circumstance and plenty of drums, dancing and cultural performances.
“MAGIS 2013 finds itself in a unique nexus after the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, and as an international gathering of young adults seeking to deepen their understanding of Ignatian spirituality just before participating in quite possibly the largest worldwide gathering that they’ll be a part of: World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro,” said Jesuit Father Robert Ballecer, director of the office of national vocation promotion at the Jesuit Conference.
Along with Fr. Ballecer, The Jesuit Post was on-site to document the arrival of each school and to conduct pilgrim interviews. Among the American delegations, Marquette University (Milwaukee), Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia), Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.) and Boston College have landed in Brazil so far. Track the arrivals of each group as they come in.
Other festivities tonight include a play about the first Jesuits to come to Brazil, parties with Brazilian music and dancing, a performance of the MAGIS theme song and an opening prayer. Tomorrow will open with a Mass, followed by a dance lesson in preparation for a flash mob that will be performed in the city of Salvador.
Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, will say Mass and meet with one delegate from each delegation. Jesuit FatherJoão Batista Libanio, a Brazilian Jesuit, will speak to the pilgrims as well.
The schedule also includes a contemplative tour of spiritual sites throughout the city of Salvador; traditional Brazilian cultural performances and dances; and a “Show of the Nations” to which each country will contribute.
According to MAGIS Brasil social media coordinator Thais Mendes, the activities will serve as a preview of the Brazilian culture that pilgrims will come across on their experiments as they spread out to different sites in Brazil. Stay tuned for further updates on MAGIS and World Youth Day 2013, and follow all the action at jesuit.org/wyd.