News Analysis

Meanwhile: A blessing for 50,000 bikers

Bikers at Jasna Gora in 2015 (CNS)

It’s motorbike season, and you’d better not start your engine without a blessing. A huge ceremony took place on Sunday in Poland at the shrine of Our Lady of Jasna Góra. According to the Polish Church, more than 50,000 bikers came to attend Mass and pray for a safe riding season.

Fr Marek Kiedrowicz, a Franciscan and chaplain to the annual Katyń Rally motocross race, said Mass and then led the act of entrustment to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the US too, the annual tradition of “the Blessing of the Bikes” has caught on: St Joseph’s in Bakersfield, California, was one church to host a mass blessing last weekend.

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The Archbishop of Washington usually ends up being named a cardinal – eventually. So it’s not wholly surprising that friends of Archbishop Wilton Gregory jumped the gun when he was appointed to the see.

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s statement was headed “Statement of the Archdiocese of Chicago on the Appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory to the College of Cardinals”.

Such a promotion may take a while: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop Gregory’s predecessor, will be a cardinal-elector until he turns 80 in November 2018. It is unusual to have two in one diocese.