Jesuit Father Jack Bentz is at World Youth Day as a vocation promoter for the Society of Jesus. Currently in Madrid, Fr. Benz joins a group of other Jesuits from the U.S. who are speaking with young people at World Youth Day who might be discerning joining the Jesuits.
Benz explains to the WYD pilgrims what the Jesuits do, what a life as a Jesuit might look like and how these pilgrims might continue on with their own vocation path, possibly as a Jesuit like himself.
Hear more from Benz in the video below.
Curious about what life as Jesuit might be like? Visit the Society of Jesus in the United States’ vocation page.
In this video piece, Jesuit scholastic Michael Magree explains the role of the Jesuits at World Youth Day and how they are reaching out to the young people in attendance.
“World Youth Day is about giving young people an experience of the body of Christ, the experience of the Church as this universal body,” says Magree. “The Jesuits have something to contribute, something that is very profound - a great devotion to Jesus, a very personal devotion to Jesus.”
You can watch Magree’s video on the role of Jesuits at World Youth Day in this piece below:
“We have finally arrived,” he wrote on Aug. 16. “After three years of anticipation since the last World Youth Day, hundreds of thousands of Catholic young people have descended upon Madrid for the festivities surrounding World Youth Day, which officially starts this evening with an opening Mass in the heart of downtown Madrid.”
Before arriving in Madrid, Rossmann participated in the Jesuit-sponsored program Magis, where nearly 3,000 young people from Jesuit universities and parishes from around the world were sent out in groups to participate in service projects or walking pilgrimages.
Rossmann spent a week with 26 other pilgrims living and working with African immigrants who labor in agriculture on the southern coast of Spain.
“This is the first trip to Europe for many of the students I am accompanying and is certainly the most intimate encounter with people from other countries,” he wrote. “While speaking different languages at times hindered communication, boundaries quickly broke down in sharing the common difficulty of trying to fall asleep while sharing a gym floor with snorers who were heard by all people, no matter the native tongue.”
Rossmann continued, “On a deeper level, many expressed the significance of what it meant to be a part of something much larger than themselves, as was evident in sharing the same faith and holding the same convictions, whether praying to God, Dios, or Dieu.”
Read more of Rossmann’s reflections at the Huffington Post. Below, you can view Rossman’s video with pilgrims he chaperoned to the southern coastal town of Roquetas de Mar in Spain to work with the elderly.
The following post is from the official Magis 2011 website. You can follow along with the Magis 2011 participants’ journeys in Madrid for World Youth Day, by visiting the Magis 2011 site here.
Just when you were starting to get your head around the fact that there were 3000 people at MAGIS 2011, World Youth Day arrives and multiplies that by a hundred times and more!
Hundreds of thousands of young people headed towards the Plaza de Cibeles last night for the Opening Mass of World Youth Day. The streets of Madrid were awash with noise and color, just as Loyola had been, as people of all nationalities came together to mark the beginning of World Youth Day celebrations.
Antonio María Rouco Varela, the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, presided at Mass. In his homily, he welcomed the World Youth Day pilgrims to Madrid and was greeted with a wave of loud cheers all the way down the Paseo de los Recoletos, which was lined with the huge crowds who couldn’t get anywhere near the square due to the sheer number of people.
From the sides of the street, you could watch the Mass on big screens and listen through the speaker system, although this was a bit temperamental. But the huge orchestra and choir did a fantastic job of creating a celebratory but prayerful atmosphere – no easy task when some of the congregation were nearly a mile away! It was unfortunate that the overwhelming numbers of people meant that not everybody was able to receive the Eucharist, but the exchanges of welcome and good wishes among everyone present ensured that we were truly in communion with one another. Magis 2011 has prepared us to be with Christ at the heart of the world – and now the whole world has come to Madrid!
Magis 2011 pilgrim Emma Scuglik captured this video of her and her Magis group as they prepared for the opening Mass last night.
Jesuit Father Matthew Gamber, a veteran of the last four World Youth Days, has been in Spain for two weeks helping to lead a group of pilgrims from St. Mary’s Parish in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Fr. Gamber and his group arrived in Madrid on Monday after participating in Magis 2011, during which they were involved in evangelization, service and pilgrimages in various Spanish cities.
During Gamber’s time in Madrid for World Youth Day’s events, he will be filing reports and writing pieces for the National Catholic Register highlighting the activities which culminate this Sunday with Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.
Gamber noted that on the eve of World Youth Day on Monday, that although some of the sites were still being prepared, there was a great spirit in the air.
The parishes and churches had welcome banners and signs on display and people outside offered tours, information and warm welcomes. “It’s not Rome, with a Catholic church on every corner, but pretty close, maybe every other corner. And they are beautiful and breathtaking and full of the Holy Spirit,” he wrote.
Madrid residents say they have never seen the city so crowded in August, according to Gamber. “At a time when most of the city dwellers take off for the beaches and mountains, it seems that the allure of seeing Pope Benedict in their fair city is worth staying in town for,” he wrote.
“It is exciting to be here and know that we are about to spend a week with fellow Catholic pilgrims from around the world,” Gamber wrote.
Read more of Gamber’s report from World Youth Day at the National Catholic Register. You can also watch the Magis pilgrims arrival in Madrid in the video below: