Bike blessing draws motorcyclists to shrine

By REBECCA WEBSTER

Recorder News Staff

FONDA — About 30 motorcyclists made a short stop at the National Shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha Saturday to start themselves off on the right foot for biking season.

The group rode from the Bad Pig in Rotterdam Junction to the Fonda shrine to get their bikes blessed by Shrine Director Friar Mark Steed.

Before blessing the bikes, Steed gave the motorcyclists a short biography of who Kateri was and why the property was significant.

He welcomed them to come back to visit and then shared with them a prayer for their travels.

"Lord, be with us today as we pray for these men and women who ride the roads of our nation," Steed prayed.

He offered a prayer that they share their enthusiasm for biking with others, and ride the roads with patience.

"Allow them full and complete enjoyment of the open road. As the wind tells them of their freedom, keep them free and keep them safe."

Steed prayed that they are brought home safely each day to those they love and who love them.

Rick Barnett, a Rotterdam resident who was getting his bike blessed Saturday, said he joined in on the day with Amsterdam resident Eric Cichy, who got many involved.

"We're having all the bikes blessed for the season so that everybody has a safe season," Barnett said.

It was his first time ever going to a bike blessing before, he said, but he was happy to have shared it with not only friends from Rotterdam, but other motorcyclists from Fulton and Montgomery counties.

Cichy said he organized the run to help start the motorcyclists off on the right page for the season. And through organizing the event, it gave him the chance to explore the shrine grounds for the first time.

"I like it. We walked back there and did all the trails. It's a pretty cool place," he said.

"This is the very first bike blessing, but I put on Cichy's bike night which is usually the third Thursday of every month at a local venue to go to some type of charity."

Following the bike blessing, many of the motorcyclists headed to the Bad Pig in Rotterdam for a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project.

"There's people out there who need things and we try to give them something," Cichy explained.

Following the blessing, as the motorcyclists headed off of shrine grounds, on to their next destination, Steed stood in the parking lot, water from the shrine's spring in hand, remarking on the opportunity.

"I've never done it before," he said. "I said sure because you can bless everything and everybody. They offered to come here. So as brief of a ceremony it is, it's a sincere ceremony and I was happy to do it."

Steed said the shrine is open to any one and he was pleased to be approached by something very unique.

"We want this place to be open to people so they can come experience a place of quiet, a place of peace."