The Pope in Philly

Read the essay a Philly-area Catholic wrote to win Pope tickets on Craigslist

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Editor’s note: Yesterday, the World Meeting of Families released 10,000 tickets to Pope Francis’ event at Independence Hall. Within minutes, they had been claimed. Also within minutes, the tickets appeared on Craigslist. Rather than sell them, one Craigslist post sought to give them away in an essay contest. Channel 6 spoke with “Devin,” the “Robin Hood of sorts,” who offered the tickets via the contest. With permission from its author, we’re re-publishing one of the two winning essays.


This is a most generous offer you’ve made.

AMDG. [Ed note: This is the Latin motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), a religious order of the Catholic Church. It means “For the greater glory of God”.]

My wife and I, both educated by the Jesuits, have spent our lives trying to live up to their motto. Since her days at Fordham University, she has been working as a Latin teacher in West Philadelphia, declaring through her actions that quality education should be a right for all. She dedicates herself to her students both inside the classroom and out, running after-school activities, cheering on students at football games and performances, and working with individual students many hours after the final bell has rung to make sure that no student is left behind.

Since my days at St. Joe’s Prep, I’ve been teaching CCD/PREP for a total of eight years focusing mostly on Confirmation classes. It’s been a joy to help young Catholics go beyond memorization of the fruits and gifts, arriving at what it truly means to be Catholic. In April, we celebrated the birth of our first child. We gave baby Donald (named after his great-grandfather) the middle name Francis in honor of the Pope.

Our Jesuit educations have defined us, and we’ve both followed with glee the spread of Pope Francis’ message across the globe.

A dear family member will be putting us up in Philadelphia the weekend of the World Meeting of Families. We’re thrilled to be in the presence of Pope Francis, but we were not able to get tickets, and we simply cannot afford the prices on Craigslist.

We’ll consider ourselves quite blessed no matter where we are that weekend, but it would be truly amazing to be in his audience at Independence Mall.

God bless you.

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