Monday, June 17, 2013

JS: Hundreds of Harley riders revved up as Pope Francis blesses bikes

Rome — Several hundred Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners can add a papal blessing to their list of bragging rights about their Hog.

Before celebrating Mass on Sunday, Pope Francis blessed bikes and bikers from his popemobile as Harleys lined Via della Conciliazione, the street from St. Peter's Basilica to the Tiber River. The blessing concluded a weekend of events on the Rome leg of the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer's celebration of its 110th anniversary.

Paolo Forbicini's Harley-Davidson Fat Boy was one of the bikes blessed by Pope Francis. Forbicini, a Catholic from Milan, said he was proud to have the pontiff's blessing bestowed on his ride.

After the blessing, leather-clad bikers sat alongside nuns and other worshippers for a traditional Catholic Mass. Forbicini said celebrating his first Mass in St. Peter's Square was even more special with all his fellow bikers, and he was excited to return to his motorcycle.

"It's just a few hundred meters behind me," Forbicini said about his Harley. "It's waiting."

John Wheeler, Harley's manager of international communications, said the Vatican reached out to Harley-Davidson to take part in the event after the 110th anniversary celebration locations were released.

"The actual act of bike blessings goes back decades," Wheeler said.
continue at JS

Not mentioned in this article, the blessing was during(but apparently unrelated) to a pro-life rally in the Vatican. 

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