The following comes from a Mar. 13 story in the Orange County Register.

It was part rock concert, part Catholic Church and all about religion Thursday at the Anaheim Convention Center with a deafening rally, Gospel-like music, loud stomping—and a call to tweet.

“It’s a whole different experience from what they’re used to in church,” said Tustin resident Julio Vazquez, who brought about 15 teens from the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Santa Ana to join some 15,000 Catholic teens for the first day of a four-day Religious Education Congress sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles .

“It tells the kids there’s more to church than going to Sunday Mass,” said Leticia Soto, a chaperone with Notre Dame High School, a private Catholic school in Riverside.

On the first anniversary of Pope Francis’s election to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, the pope’s words and image seemed to be everywhere.

Even before they were asked to tweet @pontifex with #LALovesPopeFrancis, some of the teens already were pulling out their cellphones. Many explained they were drawn to the Catholic Church because of the new pope.

“I’m more involved because the pope inspired me,” said Giselle Mercado, 16, a Lancaster High School student.

Meagan Aurit, 17, who arrived with a group from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Youth Ministry in Lancaster, called the pope: “amazing.”

“He accepts everyone, no matter what their sexuality,” said Aurit, referring to the pope’s comment last year about sexual orientation: “Who am I to judge?”

Nine teens who traveled from Mexicali, Mexico echoed Aurit.

“He seems more modern. And he communicates with the youth,” said Fernanda Bejarano, 17, of Instituto Salvatierra.

“His heart is more open,” said her friend, Marlene Marroquin.

Gabriela Covarrubias, a chaperone with a group from St. Thomas the Apostle in Riverside, credited the Pope with influencing youth and drawing them back to the church.

Sister Edith Prendergast, director of the L.A. Diocese’s Office of Religious Education, said it’s too early to “make big statements” about the impact of the new pope and whether he’s helping to attract youth. “But I think he brings a human dimension to our faith and a connection to God in all of our lives, and in the ordinary.”

To make the event more meaningful to youth, Catholic leaders incorporated music and technology into Thursday’s event. Divided into large groups, the teens also were invited to choose among workshops that dealt with relationships, prayer through pop music and making a difference in the world.

To read the entire story, click here.

Three days of darkness begin

From a Mar. 14 posting on the American Catholic.

That tribute to all things heretical, the annual Religious Education Conference of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, is underway.  Father Z gives us the details:

The Religious Ed Conference is being perpetrated in Los Angeles.

Watch LIVE…. it’s a hoot.  Right now they are dancing with bowls of burning stuff while singing about themselves.

I haven’t heard any mention of Jesus yet.

It’s a real blast from the past.

To read more, click here.