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Heavy metal blessed by pope

2013-06-17 09:36

BLESSED ARE THE BIKERS: Thousands of Harley-Davidson bikers await the pope's blessing at the Vatican and to celebrate 110 years of the brand. Image: AFP

VATICAN CITY - Thousands of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and their riders gathered at the Vatican in Rome on June 16 - Youth Day in South Africa - to be blessed by Pope Francis on the 110th anniversary of the iconic American biking brand.

It was a loud parade with plenty of leather as biker culture filled St Peter's Square.

Thundering Harley engines nearly drowned out the recitation of the "Our Father" prayer in Latin that accompanied Francis as he greeted the crowd before Mass.


In St Peter's Square bikers in their trademark leather Harley vests sat alongside nuns and thousands of faithful Catholics taking part in an unrelated, two-day pro-life rally, the centerpiece of which was Francis' Mass.

Francis addressed them both after Mass, giving a blessing to the "numerous participants" of the Harley rally.

Tens of thousands of Harley owners from around the world descended on Rome for the event - an ongoing worldwide event with representatives from the Harley company meeting the media and their thousands of customer.

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