Johnny Doc Scores Papal Mass Tickets for Adorable San Diego Family

After raising $7,500 at a lemonade stand to fund their trip to see the pope, they got here and realized that they were probably out of luck. Until now.

Aaron Miranda holds his papal mass tickets. He's flanked by his family and the author.

Aaron Miranda holds his papal mass tickets. He’s flanked by his family and the author.

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

On Thursday, we told you about the Mirandas, a San Diego family of seven that arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday to see Pope Francis. The Miranda children raised $7,500 at a lemonade stand to fund the trip, and the family drove an R.V. across the country, intent on attending a papal mass, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Only it turned out not to be so easy.

When the Mirandas planned their pilgrimage, no one knew that tickets were going to be required for the massive papal mass, scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Those tickets, which were offered online for free, went very quickly, and the Mirandas didn’t get any. And Aaron Miranda, the father, told us he was shocked that people were scalping the tickets. Some are trying to get as much as $250 per ticket.

“And that’s not right,” Aaron said. “You don’t pay money for a mass. If it were a dollar, I wouldn’t buy it. You can’t buy a mass. It’s totally beyond money. That is the wrong lesson to teach my kids. I’m upset that money got involved and that these tickets could have gone to people that really want to go to mass.”

Well, we put the word out on the street to try to help this adorable Catholic family, and we’re happy to report that it worked.

IBEW Local 98 union head John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty came through with tickets to the papal mass, and Center City residents Lara Pyle and Jason Craparo donated a pair as well.

“Everybody always tells me, ‘You love going up against the big guys,'” says Dougherty, who was heavily involved with the planning for the Pope Francis visit. “I used to, but now I just want to help people. I’m tired of that old stuff.”

When we rendezvoused with the Mirandas on Friday in Center City to get them their tickets, they were ecstatic.

“Thank you so much,” Aaron said to the donors. “What a blessing.”

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