Harley Davidson Bikers Receive Blessing from Pope Francis

Motorcycle Maker Celebrates 110th Anniversary in Rome

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves | 1776 hits

The roar of over 1,400 motorcycles was heard in St. Peter's Square as bikers from all over the world came to Rome to receive a blessing from Pope Francis. The bikers are celebrating the 110th anniversary of the famed motorcycle maker's founding.

Throughout the week, some 35,000 Harley-Davidsons have been riding all over Rome to commemorate the event. During the week, the motorcycle company gave Pope Francis two white Harley Davidson motorcycles as a gift.

Prior to reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis greeted the bikers present in the Square.

“I greet the many participants in the Harley-Davidson motorcycle rally and the members of the Motorcycle Club of the Italian State Police," the Pope said.

Elizabeth Lev, a professor Christian art and architecture at Duquesne University’s Italian campus and University of St. Thomas’ Catholic Studies program, met with some of the motorcycling enthusiasts in Rome. "The ones I met and saw really enjoyed seeing the city and the interest the Romans and passersby had in the parade of bikes. They seemed to feel quite at home here," she told ZENIT.

Lev noted that this is the first time Harley Davidson enthusiasts have met in Italy and was planned under Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The last time a similar event took place was in 2005, when Blessed John Paul II blessed Ferrari enthusiasts and their cars,

Regarding the reason as to why it was important for the Bikers to receive the Holy Father's blessing, Lev stated that the man responsible for bringing Harley Davidsons to Italy was a devout Catholic. The man's heir "planned this to bring the bikers ( who I think have their own code) to see the Vatican which has a universal 'code'," Lev said.