25K Teens Rock at NY Pope Rally

Kelly Clarkson opens before Benedict XVI blesses followers
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Apr 19, 2008 6:01 PM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the popemobile to attend a rally with young people and seminarians at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – About 25,000 teens experienced Popemania today at a rocking rally in Yonkers, NY, the New York Daily News reports. After Kelly Clarkson belted out tunes, Benedict XVI emerged from a seminary meeting with disabled kids to receive gifts of bread and bless the crowd. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing," said a 15-year-old who left home before dawn to attend.

While teens snapped up free food and bought Pope memorabilia, one seminarian said the turnout gave him "hope for the future. To see this many young people here is amazing." The rally comes at a key time for young Catholics in America: Only 14% of US Catholics aged 20 to 40 are attending mass weekly, but some small Catholic schools are also growing, the AP reports.