They’re arriving by the dozens. Their backpacks are loaded but you’d hardly think so to see the young people carrying them. With eyes full of anticipation and a quick, lively steps, they step off the bus and settle in to the dormitories, but never really settle down. The corridors are loud with laughing and singing and clapping. (In fact, as we post this, at well past bedtime, we’re listening to them celebrate outside our window, causing at least one of our editors to pull a clip from Poltergeist and keep repeating “they’re he-e-e-re.”) You would never guess many of them had just arrived from hours-long international flights — even the American pilgrims, most of whom had just arrived on overnight flights, were excited and energetic when TJP’s Brendan Busse interviewed them:
The place is Colegio Antonio Vieira in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, and the energetic newcomers are the Magis 2013 pilgrims arriving for two weeks of friendship, service and learning. They are coming from around the world, and although the program just began with the official welcome earlier this evening (here’s a quick video glimpse of it), pilgrims have been arriving since early Thursday. Spanish, German, English, and of course Portuguese are heard around every corner. The list of languages doesn’t stop there; the official handbook prints the Magis prayer in 18 languages. While they may not all share common languages, they share the same faith, and they all have connections to Jesuit parishes, schools, colleges, and universities around the world.
The Colegio Antonio Vieira will be the base of operations for these first few days of Magis. During the coming days, students will be meeting each other, and especially meeting their experience groups, who they’ll spend the following 10 days with at sites around Brazil. The highlight of this weekend will be Mass with Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, the superior general of the Jesuits around the world.