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Superpope to the rescue: T-shirt raises money for papal charity

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 Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY  — Though not as fast as a speeding bullet, “Superpope” will fly across the world, gathering autographs of sports stars and eventually being auctioned off to raise money for the pope’s charity. 

The initiative kicked off Feb. 8 at a Vatican news conference with the unveiling of a simple medium-sized yellow T-shirt graced with the iconic “Superpope” image: Pope Francis, fist extended, flying through the air, holding his black bag packed with Christian “values” and a scarf representing his hometown San Lorenzo soccer team. Read more »

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High bidder can drive home a new Fiat, slightly used by 78-year-old man on one weekend

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Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is auctioning off one low-mileage car, in mint condition, used slightly by one owner.

Two of the dark gray, four-door Fiat 500 L sedans used to shuttle Pope Francis around the Philadelphia area during his visit to the city last September will be available for public viewing and at least one of them will be auctioned off during the Philadelphia Auto Show, running Jan. 30 to Feb. 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The Fiat 500 L "urban utility vehicle" used by Pope Francis sits outside St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Sept. 27 in Wynnewood, Pa. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is auctioning off two of the same model cars used to shuttle Pope Francis around the Philadelphia area during his visit to the city last September. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts)

The Fiat 500 L “urban utility vehicle” used by Pope Francis sits outside St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Sept. 27 in Wynnewood, Pa. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is auctioning off two of the same model cars used to shuttle Pope Francis around the Philadelphia area during his visit to the city last September. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts)

Proceeds from the auction will benefit ministries of the archdiocese, with 50 percent directed toward the annual Catholic Charities Appeal, and one-third each to Casa del Carmen social service agency in North Philadelphia, Mercy Hospice for homeless women and children in the city and the archdiocese’s schools of special education.

Speakers at a news conference at the convention center Jan. 20 hoped the symbolism of the simple car used by the humble pope may make it an attractive item for a car collector.

Millions saw the pope through the windows of the car as he was driven to and from Philadelphia International Airport, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and center city during his Sept. 26-27 visit.

Chrysler Fiat provided two of the cars for the Philadelphia leg of his U.S. visit, and the company recently reached out to the Philadelphia archdiocese to donate them back, said Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Calling the cars “an icon of the papal visit,” Farrell recounted what for her was still an emotional moment, even four months later. After Pope Francis’ plane landed in Philadelphia and he was about to depart for center city and a Saturday morning Mass, he ordered his Fiat to stop, and stepping out on the tarmac, he walked over to kiss and bless a boy with cerebral palsy.

As the car auction will raise “much-needed funds for ministries to the most marginalized people,” Farrell said, the gesture is “exactly what Pope Francis would have wanted us to do.”

Car buffs will have the chance to bid at a public auction for one of the cars the night before the car show opens with 700 vehicles on display.

The other car may be auctioned later.

The auction starts at 8:45 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Black Tie Tailgate event at the convention center. The auction will accept bids from visitors to the event and online as video will be streamed live on the Internet, according to Max Spann Jr., president of the firm running the auction. The firm’s website is www.maxspann.com.

The Black Tie Tailgate is a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, raising $6.3 million since it began in 1986. Tickets start at $225.

The Philadelphia Auto Show, now in its 115th year, also benefits Philadelphia charities by donating $2 from each $14 per adult ticket sale.

None of the officials involved with the auction speculated on how much money they hoped to raise from the sale of the Fiat used by Pope Francis.

But it’s a safe bet that the final bid will well exceed the car’s $19,345 manufacturer’s suggested retail price once the gavel comes down with the word “Sold.”

 

Gambino is director and general manager of CatholicPhilly.com, the news website of the Philadelphia archdiocese.

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Dublin college drops auction of Mrs. Kennedy letters

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Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — A Catholic college will no longer auction letters sent by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy to an Irish priest.

Earlier in May Vincentian-run All Hallows College in Dublin announced that it was selling the correspondence between Kennedy and Vincentian Father Joseph Leonard, a priest who had befriended the former first lady when she visited Dublin in 1950.

The letters detailed Kennedy’s struggles with her Catholic faith after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963.

In a statement to the media May 21, college officials said that the letters were “being withdrawn from auction” at the direction of the college and the Vincentian Fathers.

The statement added: “Representatives of All Hallows College and the Vincentian Fathers are now exploring with members of Mrs. Kennedy’s family how best to preserve and curate this archive for the future.”

Kennedy wrote the letters between 1950 and 1964 to Father Leonard, whom she first met when she visited Dublin as a student in 1950. They began a correspondence that continued until his death in 1964. The letters revealed that Kennedy credited the priest with her return to Catholicism after a period when she had lapsed in the practice of her faith.

The existence of the letters was revealed in mid-May and generated massive media coverage. Kennedy died May 19, 1994, at age 64.

The letters had been expected to sell for as much as $1.3 million.

 

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