By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

RADNOR – Catholic teenagers across the Archdiocese can prove it is “cool to be Catholic” by attending the second annual Teen Convocation for high school age students Sunday, March 6, at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor, Delaware County.

The daylong event, sponsored by the archdiocesan Office for Catechetical Formation, invites teens from public, parochial and private schools to explore their roles as young disciples of Christ and examine the convocation theme, “His Love: Now and Forever.” {{more}}

The convocation, held from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., concludes with Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald. Father John J. Ames, deputy secretary of the Catechetical Formation Office, will be among the priest concelebrants.

“We’re aware that young people have extraordinary opportunities for entertainment, so we don’t want this to simply be one more day of ‘entertainment,'” said Father Ames.

“At the same time, the Church calls us to present the Gospel in a manner that is attractive and interesting, and that someone would want to embrace.”

Organizers describe the day as “formational, informational and fun,” added Father Ames.

“We want them to learn about their faith in an academic way, to deepen and develop their relationship with Jesus so that they’ll be transformed by Jesus. That’s the whole goal of the catechetical endeavor.”

For a teen to give up a Sunday afternoon to attend a religious or catechetical activity says a lot about the teen and his or her parents, said Father Ames. “They could be doing a lot of other things. For them to make that sacrifice, we want to make sure that their sacrifice has been worthwhile. We want the day to be special for them.”

Catholic convert and systematic theology doctoral student Chris Padgett, a Christian speaker, musician, worship leader and author, will deliver the keynote address, “What is Love?”

An understanding of true love, God’s love and teens’ love for others are among the highlights of Padgett’s presentation. Small group discussions facilitated by directors of religious education, youth ministers and other adult leaders in the Archdiocese will follow the keynote.

Christian music aficionados may remember Padgett’s early years in the music ministry industry: he performed with Scarecrow and Tinmen before branching out on his own eight years ago.

The husband and father of eight children holds a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and is presently pursuing a doctoral degree in systematic theology through the International Marian Research Institute of the University of Dayton in Ohio.

Padgett will also lead the convocation attendees in praise and worship music and, before the closing Mass, will speak to the high-schoolers about the significance of chastity.

The teenagers will have an opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation before Mass and to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

The convocation’s master of ceremonies will be Mark Griswold, a musician and the youth minister of St. Norbert Parish in Paoli, Chester County. Griswold will also provide music for the liturgy.

“I hope that having attended the convocation, the flame of the Holy Spirit will be stirred in the teens’ hearts,” Father Ames said. “That they will want to devote themselves more faithfully to daily prayer, to weekly attendance at the Eucharist, that they will find the sacrament of reconciliation to be a powerful instrument in experiencing God’s love and mercy, that they’ll want to share with their peers with more confidence their own faith and their own relationship with Jesus.

“If they’re going to be able to be witnesses of Jesus for others, they themselves have to be convinced of that relationship in their own lives,” he said.

Adult chaperones will be on site throughout the convocation.

Although attendees may register at the door the day of the event, advance registration is requested by Friday, Feb. 25.

Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the registration fee.

For more information, contact the Office for Catechetical Formation at 215-587-3760 or visit the web site

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or