"It was like he somehow managed to pierce every teenager's heart with the message that, 'You matter,'" Seaton, who has also attended World Youth Day in Sydney and Madrid, said.
"He won us over because he listened to us and treated us like adults, and then we respected him for that," she said. "He just knew how to call us on and challenge us."
At the events, Seaton recalled that "there was no lack of fervor for him" on the part of the youth from all over the world.
"We listened to every word he said," she recalled. "We stood in line for 10 hours just to see him drive by."
Although some media outlets predicted that Pope Benedict would fall short of his predecessor's outreach to the youth, Ted Mast, who was 19 when he attended the 2005 Papal Christmas Mass, emphasized that the papacy is not a popularity contest, but rather a personal response to the unique needs of the Church.
In "trying to be himself" Pope Benedict has been "able to recognize where the Church is today, especially in regards to technology and moral relativism and the reasons people are leaving the Church," Mast said.
"He wasn't trying to fill John Paul II's shoes," Mast said, "but he was trying to fulfill his mission to bring the youth into the Church."
Despite the concerns he expressed for the youth, Pope Benedict has emphasized the Church's great confidence in young people, saying, "She needs their vitality in order to continue living the mission entrusted to her by Christ with renewed enthusiasm."
Jenna Grable, a convert who was 21 when she attended the Pope's Easter Mass in 2009, described the event as "one of the most moving experiences I have had as a Catholic."
"The joy of Easter was present in his demeanor," she said. "His connection to our Lord was evident in his bright eyes and smile."
Even though the Pope "did not share my language," Grable said, "he shared my Creator."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.