World Youth Day in Madrid Attended by GU Students
August 25, 2011 – Five Georgetown students traveled to Madrid for World Youth Day spiritual events, which began Aug. 16 and ended with a final Sunday morning Mass celebrated by the pope Aug. 21.
The international Catholic festival brought together nearly 500,000 young people from around the world to celebrate the teachings of Christ.
“As an international gathering, World Youth Day is just where Georgetown needs to be, as we are a global, Catholic university,” says Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., the university’s executive director of campus ministry.
Established in 1985 by Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day is celebrated every few years and includes a week of activities such as teaching sessions, a re-enactment of the last hours of Jesus’ life and a vigil with the pope.
Reflect and Serve
Rev. Patrick Rogers, S.J., director of campus ministry, led the contingent of Georgetown students while in Madrid.
Before official Youth Day festivities commenced, Georgetown students Corey Linehan (SFS’12), Allison Masserano (C’12), Carlos Mercado (B’13), Frank Miller (C’14) and Zach Reese (C’12) met up with thousands of other students from Jesuit colleges and universities around the world at northern Spain’s Loyola –birthplace of Jesuit founder St. Ignatius.
Mercado says the experience is one he will remember for years to come.
“Meeting young people from almost every country in the world in Loyola and Madrid, all united in faith with God, was really amazing,” he says. “It gives me hope for the future of the world.”
Heart of the World
Some students who remained on campus participated in the Magis Initiative – a series of programs encouraging participants to do more for Christ and others.
Originally organized by the Society of Jesus in 1997, Magis takes place before each World Youth Day to offer pilgrims who follow Ignatian spirituality a time to reflect on the practice and values. This year’s theme is “with Christ at the heart of the world.”
“Such events remind us that we are about something much greater than ourselves here on the Hilltop,” O’Brien said. “We are part of a larger family, which includes Catholic universities around the world, and more than 190 institutions of higher learning sponsored by the Jesuits.”