October 14, 2013

Blessed Be the Bikes

I'm working on a post about bike registries, but in the meantime... I'd heard about the Blessing of the Animals, but the Blessing of the Bicycles? This annual event was news to me.

The Blessing of the Bikes at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City

According to Wikipedia, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City has been holding mass blessings of bicycles since 1999. Riders of all ages and faiths are encouraged to don their cycling clothes and bring their bikes into the cathedral, where a priest prays, sprinkles the two-wheelers with holy water, and presides over a moment of silence in remembrance of cyclists killed in the past year.

Similar events occur in cities from Los Angles to Pittsburgh to Melbourne, Australia. (Blessings are typically held during the spring or early summer, so you've got time to start one in your town.)

I couldn't help but notice, of course, that the "Blessing of the Bicycles" makes mention of bike theft! (More God than I'm comfortable with perhaps, but good stuff otherwise!)

Present in a world groaning under the excesses of consumption, we acknowledge the inherent goodness of non-motorized human powered transportation and give thanks for the simple beauty of the bicycle. God of life, hear our prayer. 
Present in a community filled with children, we pray for those learning to ride. Keep them smart, safe, and visible on their neighborhood roads. God of life, hear our prayer. 
Present in a community filled with strife, we pray for the victims of road rage and bike theft. And we ask for the strength to forgive mean people. God of life, hear our prayer. 
Present in a world of work, we pray for those who build, repair, and clean our bikes and those who rely on bicycles to earn their living. Bless those who choose to not drive to work and those for whom driving isn't even an option. God of life, hear our prayer. 
Present in a community of beautiful diversity, we ask your protection and blessing on all who ride: pedi-cabbies, weekend warriors, athletes, homeless folks, students, children, eco-warriors, bike co-op anarchists, messengers, and all the others who take to the [insert town name here] streets, bike paths, parks, and mountains. Keep us safe as we ride. God of life, hear our prayer. 
We now observe a moment of silence for all who have died while riding...

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