Blessed are the bikers and their bikes
The Rev. Philip Egitto gives bikers what he calls "bike blessings" after an Ash Wednesday service in Daytona Beach, Florida.
March 12th, 2011
01:34 PM ET

Blessed are the bikers and their bikes

By John Couwels, CNN

I bless you in the name of BMW, Honda and Harley Davidson, amen, could have been the blessing from a local Catholic priest to bikers attending Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Instead the Rev. Philip Egitto, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona, offered more traditional blessings for bikers and their motorcycles in the parish parking lot following Ash Wednesday services.

For Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a 40-day period of reconciliation, fasting and abstinence. Christians are encouraged to attend services in which clergy place ashes in the shape of the cross on the forehead of a worshipper.

“As bikers, they deserve the same as everyone else,” said Egitto, who has been offering what he calls “bike blessings” since coming to the church 15 years ago. He said the prayers are “to bless their lives and their bikes.”

Beyond the blessings, Egitto said his parish of 400 families has always welcomed bikers with open arms.

“It’s about hospitality,” he said. “All are welcomed at our church to give him thanks and praise.”

This year Bike Week coincidentally fell on the same week as Ash Wednesday. Following the evening Ash Wednesday service, two couples pulled their motorcycles near the church vestibule, and Egitto prayed while the cyclists stayed on their bikes, still wearing their leather protective jackets, gloves and helmets.

Egitto sprinkled them with holy water, asking God to bless them and their bikes for a safe journey during Bike Week and on their return trip home.

A Tampa couple who received the blessing said they were grateful. Barbara Presnel, 55, with a black ash cross on her forehead after attending Catholic Mass, said she didn't realize that Ash Wednesday was the same week when she booked the trip to Daytona.

“I always observe Ash Wednesday,” Presnel said. “It’s an important day for me. I always pop into church and talk to God a little bit and get my ashes to get Lent off to a spiritual foot.”

Presnel said she felt it’s right to do so, especially during Bike Week.

“In the middle of all the craziness, I felt it was important to take a few moments out to count our blessings and to pray for the family,” she said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Lent

soundoff (394 Responses)
  1. Petrn Cutonef

    Undeniably believe that that you said. Your favourite reason appeared to be at the internet the easiest factor to consider of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as people think about worries that they just don't know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing with no need side effect , folks could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

    July 13, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  2. David

    This story is just one cut above the one about the christian pole dancers

    March 25, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  3. Dominus

    LJ...you siad:


    "Any Christians that are here to take offense at your postings, probably aren't tru christians anyway." The point you are both missing is HS post contains verbal abuse towards others using words that have absolutely nothing to do with the scriptures. If you can't see that then neither of you are Christians and are not practicing Christ's teachings.

    Another poster put this on another thread and I thought they said it well. "would also caution against cherry picking scriptures to prove a point – on either side of this or any issue. It is a slippery slope and, as everyone knows, you can make the Bible say anything you want with this practice. The Bible is meant to be read in its entirety, with an understanding of the type of writing, author, audience, purpose, history, customs, practices, etc."


    LJ, While I understand your point, however, have you noticed while reading non believers posts, how many times they do worse? Not that two wrongs make a right, and as much as we are willing to take the abuse for the sake of Christ, we are human as well. Sometimes it is hard not to fire back the same , which is why we are still sinners,lol.

    I agree with you on cherry picking scriptures, regardless of what side you come from. But, there are people who do it, and thats why HS is trying to give them the other side of the word of God, not just all the Jesus loves you, he just hates sin.
    There is a price to pay for our actions. An eternity is a long time.

    My thought is that we are both Christians, but we are living in a world thats anything but Christian anymore. Sometimes in our zest to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we do slip a bit. But, if the end result is one saved soul, then it was worth it.

    Peter denied Christ 3 times, but yet Jesus knew Peter was human, and most likely that he did that reacting out of fear, in his humaness. Yet, Jesus built his church upon the words Peter said, when asked, "who do you say that I am"? Peter knew without a doubt, he was the son of God.
    I think God looks at our hearts, and realizes we may sin even with good intentions. He is a great father!

    March 18, 2011 at 7:26 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.