August 9, 2011. (Romereports.com)
Roughly 1.5 million people are expected in this year's World Youth Day. But before that big event there's a smaller gathering leading up to the big one in Madrid. It's called MAGIS and it's organized by the Jesuit Order.
It kicked off in the Sanctuary of Loyola in Spain, which is the birthplace of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. More than 3,000 youths from 50 countries attended the opening ceremony which included a spectacle of dance, music and special effects. Then Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus celebrated Mass with the young crowd.
The word MAGIS means 'more' in Latin, which is meant to represent the generosity and selflessness required when serving those in need.
This week the group will spread out across 100 locations in Spain and Portugal, where it will take part in activities that deal with social service, art, spirituality, ecology, faith and culture. It's a way to instill values in the young adults while also helping those in need. On August 15th the group will arrive in Madrid, just in time for World Youth Day, which runs from the 16th to the 21st.