In 1999, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City held the world’s first organized blessing of bicycles. Now this new ritual has spread to different denominations and to cities as far away as Melbourne, Australia.
As part of the ritual, riders have their bikes blessed with holy water, remember cyclists who have died, and say a prayer for safe biking.
The Trinity St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto just hosted its sixth annual blessing of the bikes in June of this year. For this church, the event is also an important way to encourage alternative modes of transportation.
Lyn Gaetz of the Church’s Center for Faith, Justice, and the Arts says the cyclists who participate understand the importance of making daily choices to reduce carbon emissions.
GAETZ: “Making the decision, even in the dead of winter some of them, to leave their car in the garage and cycle is taking a big step to contributing to climate justice.”Safe biking and cleaner environment go hand-in-hand. Click To Tweet
The importance of personal responsibility was reinforced by the Pope’s recent Encyclical – one of the Catholic Church’s most authoritative documents – in which he expressed the moral duty we all share to protect the earth’s climate.
GAETZ: “We feel a responsibility for the generation coming that’s going to have to live with the results of our lifestyle.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media/Jason Jackson.
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