HOUSTON -- First there was Fantasy Football; now, there is Fantasy Conclave. Instead of drafting players, folks are drafting, cardinals to be the next pope.
Developer Michael Marchand, 28, describes it as “fun-ducational.”
The father of two says the games teaches “without coming off preachy, churchy, and so with something like a fantasy football league you're able to do that. You can share about Fantasy Conclave. Your friends can win cool prizes and you can also learn something about the Church.”
It's simple and free to use. Go to FantasyConclave.com. Scroll down to the red box, make your choice for the next pope, the date he will be elected, and what papal name he'll choose.
Each day, players get an email with a piece of information about the Church.
The winner will receive restaurant gift cards, Catholic resources, books and DVDs. The prizes are worth $300. All are donated to the non-profit website.
The best prize may be a life-sized cut out of the last Pontiff, Pope Benedict.
Marchand, an Evangelist and former youth minister joked, “No Catholic living room is complete without a life sized cutout of Pope Benedict.”
There is no gambling involved with the site. In fact, betting on any election, political or papal is illegal in the U.S.
So far, about 5,000 people have entered the online game and Archbishop Scola is the frontrunner.
“I really believe the future of the Church comes from young people stepping up and using new technology to share the faith,” said Marchand.
His prayer? That faith and fun can score big.
There is also a student version for this site. It allows teachers and youth ministers to set up their own fantasy conclave leagues so their students are competing against others in their own class. Click here for more information on the student version.