PHILADELPHIA — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and World Meeting of Families have announced they have a unique way to raise money for local charities this year — auction off the car that Pope Francis used during his historic first trip to the United States.
“I’m deeply grateful to FIAT Chrysler for its generosity in giving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the two FIATS used by Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia on September 26-27, 2015,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. in a Wednesday news release.
During his Septembe visit, FIAT Chrysler made a pair of FIAT 500Ls available for the Holy Father to use during his time in Philadelphia.
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After the trip, the cars were donated to the archdiocese who has teamed up with the annual Philadelphia Car Show to auction at least one of the cars to benefit various archdiocesan charitable initiatives including Catholic Charities, a women’s maternity home, and special education schools, among others.
“The FIAT is such an icon of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia and the auction of this vehicle serves as an extraordinary final event to close this memorable chapter in the City’s history,” Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families — Philadelphia 2015 said. “The good that this auction will bring to the Catholic Charities Appeal, Mercy Hospice, Casa Del Carmen and the Archdiocesan Schools of Special Education is simply incomparable.”
Each year, the Philadelphia Auto Show Black Tie Tailgate which will be held on Jan. 29 and the Philadelphia Auto Show, which will run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 7, benefits the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia through Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation, a group of Philadelphia-area car dealerships that has contributed more than $6.3 million to the hospital and other children’s charities. This year the event will benefit the hospital’s Division of Neurology and, through the papal car auction, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Bidding will take place on the night of the Black Tie Tailgate at 9 p.m. EST, where attendees can place bids in person and remotely, allowing even more people to participate.
“When we learned that these vehicles would be given to us, we wanted to find some way for the public to see them and answer Pope Francis’ call to love and care for the poor,” Archbishop Chaput said. “Our partnership with the Philadelphia Auto Show provides us with the wonderful opportunity to share these vehicles with the community while also connecting with a highly engaged audience for the great benefit of society’s most vulnerable and marginalized members.”
The second car will be on display to the public for the duration of the Philadelphia Auto Show. However, the archdiocese has said that they may choose to auction that one off as well.
“We are delighted to have Pope Francis’ FIAT 500L on display for the entirety of the Philadelphia Auto Show and we are excited to add this auction component to the Black Tie Tailgate. David Kelleher, Chairman of the Philadelphia Auto Show said.
“No other Auto Show in the U.S. has such a display and we are hopeful that this will drive even greater attendance in Philadelphia. An opportunity like this is truly once in a lifetime.”
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This article originally appeared in Catholic News Agency.