THE BRONX - St. Angela Merici Church parishioners' prayers for tickets to see Pope Benedict XVI in New York have been answered.

The parish recently learned 16 of its eighth-graders will attend the pope's April 19 youth rally at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers. The news has students buzzing.

"Children are the future and he wants to inspire them to make the world a better place," says St. Angela Merici student Reschea Christie. Other youths say they're still praying ? for good grades.

"They believe he's going to bring many blessings with his visit and God is looking down on us," says Sister Lourdes Mercado, the school's principal.

Several adult members will attend a Mass at Yankee Stadium. They're busy cleaning up the East 163rd Street church's pews and putting the finishing touches on old paintings in case the pope pays them a visit.