The first registrations for the World Youth Day From Asia to Africa: Singapore and Kenya will be present at the 2011 World Youth Day (WYD). These are only two out of 100 Countries in the five continents that will be represented at the next WYD; while the number of registered participants reached 182,401. These are the most recent figures regarding participation in the 2011 event. An application on the website www.madrid11.com http://www.madrid11.com enables visitors worldwide to follow online registrations database at national level. The figures are updated each week, and can be consulted via an interactive map of the earth. The Countries with the highest number of registrations are dark blue. France is the Country with the highest number of young participants, until now, with 43.974 registrations; a real and true “Gallic” invasion that will cross the Pyrenees in the first weeks of August. Follows Italy with over 34.000 participants. Among others, a group of three Countries is represented by over 12000 pilgrims: Germany, Spain and the United States. Most of those who already registered at the WYD – almost 129.000 young people – will be present in all of Spain, taking part in the “Days of the Dioceses”, during which they will remain with their Spanish peers before convening in Madrid, on August 16 2011, for the true WYD. Not only Madrid Madrid is not the only place in Spain that is destined to host youth from all over the world on the occasion of next year’s WYD. Other areas of Spain are also preparing to play their part in the event: in the days preceding World Youth Day 2011 (11-15 August), many Spanish localities will be offering youngsters from other countries the chance to spend a period of living together with those of their own age group, in preparation for WYD. Details of these preparations are contained in the communiqué issued by the Press Office for WYD in Madrid 2011 on 27 October. “It can be said – says the press release – that World Youth Day will transform every part of Spain into a small Babel, by hosting youth from every country in five continents: France, Belarus, Malawi, Nigeria, USA, Argentina, Qatar, New Zealand… There are also 65 host dioceses – including the British Gibraltar and the French Bayonne – which are already busily making preparations” for the event. The programme for the days preceding WYD will vary from one area to the next, but all will include cultural activities, visits to historic monuments, moments of festivity, time for prayer and celebrations in the sanctuaries and pilgrimage sites that form an integral part of the local religious identity. In addition, free accommodation will be provided in schools, parish centres, sports centres and private homes. With enrolment in WYD, participants can choose whether to take part in the “Days in the Dioceses”, in which some 130,000 youth have already enrolled. “Valencia – explains the press release – will host 30,000 youth; Toledo, Santiago and Barcelona 10,000; Cádiz, San Sebastián and Córdoba 6,000. It is calculated that some 300,000 youth (50% of the overseas participants in WYD) will take part in the Days in the Dioceses”. Meanwhile, since April 2010, the WYD Cross is continuing its pilgrimage through Spain “offering a golden opportunity to get to know WYD. During the present month the Cross has visited Avila, the province that will host over 6,000 youth from 16 countries in the week prior to WYD. The programme for those days has already been drawn up: itineraries to celebrated sites associated with Saints Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross (both patrons of WYD, and born in the city) and other events celebrating the city’s most popular traditions”. Teams of volunteers have also been created; they will tour localities in the province every weekend to enable youth to get to know WYD with various initiatives. More recently the Cross has also been in Pamplona with the participation of over a thousand youth. The availability of the Jesuits The Jesuits taking part in the WYD 2011 will have a unique experience. Two weeks before the Days begin they will spend a few days in the shrine of Loyola, the birthplace of the founder of the Company of Jesus, St. Ignatius. 3000 young people from all over the world are expected to participate in the program titled “Magis”, starting August 5 2011. The first week young Ignatians will live together in the shrine of Loyola. The following days they will leave for the cities of Spain and Portugal, 25 at a time. There they will take part in pilgrimage experiences, social service, art, spirituality, faith and culture workshops. The event will close in Madrid on August 15 with a meeting during which they will join the WYD program. At the Company of Jesus the hope is “that the efforts of many, in these WYD projects, will help the youth live their faith with profundity in this Church that we wish to serve”. Abel Toraño, delegate Jesuit for the WYD explained: “The contribution of the Company in Madrid 2011 can be summarized in three main areas: the availability of places of worship for the bishops’ Catechesis, of accommodation for the pilgrims, and the offer of activity for the WYD”. For the bishops’ Catechesis the Company will offer at least three of its largest churches in Madrid: Saint Borgia, Saint Francis Xavier and the church of the Pontifical University of Comillas. In these three places of worship will be held some of the 300 Catecheses that the bishops will offer to the youth during the WYD. The Jesuits will provide also areas for the reception of the youth: the Nostra Signora del Ricordo College, Piquer, Alcalá, Pozo. The Loyola University College and Casa del Monte Alina will host the bishops and curia personnel. The Company of Jesus also proposes a cultural offer, like the exhibition on the “Paraguay Reductions”, in cooperation with Comunione and Liberazione, the presence and the mission of Christian university student in contemporary society, the prayers of Saint Ignatius, the mission of the Company in the field of international cooperation, migrations and an Ignatius film festival organized by Jesuits from Central Europe.