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Confirmation of faith and new leader

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White smoke rose through the air and bells rang at the Sistine Chapel, alerting Catholics that the new Pope has been chosen. "It happened very quickly, more quickly than I expected," says Bishop J. Kevin Boland.

It's a new start for the religion as a whole. At St. Teresa's Catholic Church, the cross signifies a new beginning for the youth. "We're standing up in front of the whole church and saying for ourselves I believe this, I accept this," says fifteen-year old Rebecca Greenslade.

"This is a big step, the sacriment," says teen Donny Snyder. It's also a historic day, a religious coincidence. "Probably not going to get ever repeated again anytime soon," says Snyder.

Twenty-five catholic youth are confirming their faith and becoming adult members of the church. They had no idea that they'd be making a such a big step down the church aisle on the same day the new Pontiff spoke before a crowd of thousands.

"The election of the new pope is making it even more memorable for me," says Greenslade. Along with confirming their beliefs, they're also putting their faith in their new leader. Greenslade says, "I hope that he keeps the traditions that Pope John Paul tried to keep in the church and doesn't back down on anything that shouldn't be which I know he won't."

"I hope that he'll build bridges, form better relationships among the different multitudes of people on this earth," says Snyder. These are big hopes that these young Catholics will grow up and see come to light over the years.

"They should easily remember the day they were confirmed in the faith because it's the same day that Benedict the 16th was elected our pope," says Bishop Boland.

In August, Catholic young people will gather for World Youth Day in Germany, the new pope's home. Catholic leaders hope Pope Benedict will use that time to appeal to teens around the world.

posted by len.kiese@walb.com