Blessing of the Bikes

Blessing of the Bikes

Between April and June
In 1996, Father Robert McElwee of the Frontenac Sacred Heart Church in Frontenac, Kans., began a Blessing of the Bikes for local motorcycle enthusiasts. Motorcycles are popular in his part of Kansas, and Father McElwee believed that the blessing ceremony would bring some people into church who might not otherwise attend. He held the event in the spring, just as motorcycle riding season begins. The first blessing involved sprinkling holy water on six motorcycles. But over the years the event began to attract thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country. The Blessing was so popular in 2005 that Father McElwee needed the assistance of two other priests from nearby parishes. The blessing that year took the three men 45 minutes to complete. For 2006, Father McElwee shared the Blessing of the Bikes with churches in the nearby towns of Joplin, Mo., Fort Scott, Kans., and Pittsburg, Kans. Besides motorcycles, people also bring such wheeled vehicles as children's bicycles and wheelchairs to be blessed.
The celebration includes a number of other events throughout the county, including jumps by the Green Beret Parachute Team, races at the Mo-Kan Dragway, a street concert in Pittsburg, and a concert at Foxtown.
While there is no charge to have a bike blessed, sales of related items such as T-shirts, food, and raffles are used to support scholarships at the nearby Harley-Davidson Technical School and local charities.
CONTACTS:
Sacred Heart Church
100 S. Cherokee
Frontenac, KS 66763
620-231-7747; fax: 620-232-7006
www.sacredheartsek.com
References in periodicals archive ?
UXBRIDGE - The weather was warm, the sun was out, and hundreds of motorcyclists from as far as 50 miles away showed up for the recent fifth blessing of the bikes at Rendezvous Leather & Accessories on Quaker Highway.
CUTLINE: (1) Participants share a moment of reflection at the recent blessing of the bikes in Uxbridge.
It was the sixth annual Blessing of the Bikes at the downtown church--an event that has become more common as a growing number of churches consider the idea that protecting the environment is not just a scientific or political debate, but a spiritual one.
In keeping with the religious nature of "Holy Week,'' David plans to offer a blessing of the bikes, similar to blessings offered by the Pope at the Giro d'Italia.