Congressional delegation's papal ticket decision

Posted at 4:17 PM, Sep 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-19 16:17:39-04

Call it the papal equivalent of the golden ticket: the address of Pope Francis to a Joint Session of Congress September 24 is one of the most coveted during his six-day visit to the United States.

That is because of the fact there are so few.

Each Member of Congress is given two tickets, one for themselves and one for a guest of their choosing.

“I’ve had a few requests,” said Sen. Rob Portman who decided early on his extra ticket was going to Sr. Margarita Brewer, a nun with the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati who provides an English as a second language (ESL) tutoring program.

“I used to work for her when I did ESL when I was in the House of Representatives,” Portman said. “My wife’s a tutor and works for her program.”

"She is really excited about it you know she's a nun who has spent her lifetime, she's elderly now, helping people and has great respect and admiration for the pope so I think she's really going to appreciate seeing him," he said.

Rep. Jim Jordan also choosing to give his ticket to a Catholic educator, presenting it Wednesday to Andrew Krakowiak, a longtime teacher, coach and administrator at Elyria Catholic High School.

"The people you will remember who had the biggest impact on your life were a coach or a teacher you had along the way,” Jordan told a class at Elyria Catholic.

One of Krakowiak’s former students is now Jordan’s chief of staff.

"Call came out of the wild blue yonder,” Krakowiak said. “It really is quite an honor, an absolute honor and privilege to be chosen for something like this to represent so many great people and to be a part of real historical moment."

He said he expects Pope Francis’ speech to Congress to be historical.

"I'm just so open to hearing everything that is said. I really want to savor every moment. I'll be on the edge of my seat for the entire hour and ten minutes,” he said.

While he’ll be open to what Francis says, he hopes Congress will be as well.

"Because I think the potential and the hope for what good can come out of this as I said to the kids in the class can affect millions of people."