Cyclists rolled into St. Mary Cathedral’s courtyard yesterday to have their two-wheeled rides blessed.
As Deacon Thomas Gornick sprinkled holy water on the collection of bicycles, riders dinged their bike bells cheerily.
The seventh annual Blessing of the Bikes comes during Pedalpalooza, Portland’s open source bicycle festival.
“The Catholic community has a long tradition of recognizing the cyclist,” says Deacon Gornick, director of evangelization for the archdiocese and a bike commuter. He leads the blessing every year.
Organizers say the Catholic community and parish value the contribution cyclists make to the community and the environment. In a statement, they said, "Cycling in Portland contributes a significant element to our cultural mosaic. The cyclists bring a special life to our neighborhood and city whether they ride for recreation, commuting or competition."
Pope Francis has praised the beauty of the bicycle. He told a crowd during Year of Faith celebrations last July that it pains him to see nuns or priests driving expensive cars, saying they should instead choose humble modes of transportation, like bikes. The pope’s personal secretary, Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, gets around on a bike.
Since last year's blessing, no cyclists have died on the roads in the Portland area.