Bikers flock to St Peter's Square for Pope's blessing

The engines almost drowned out the Our Father prayer before mass

Related Stories

St Peter's Square in Rome has been resounding to the roar of hundreds of motorcycles as bikers from around the world joined Catholic pilgrims for a Mass and a blessing by Pope Francis.

Leather-clad cyclists sat alongside nuns and other members of the large congregation, turning the famous square into a giant and noisy parking lot.

The Pope blessed the bikers without referring to them directly.

The bikers are marking the 110th anniversary of Harley-Davidson.

Some 35,000 Harley-Davidson bikers have pulled up in the Italian capital for the event, attending concerts at Ostia beach and taking part in a parade.

Earlier in the week, the US maker of the iconic bikes gave the pontiff two white classic Harleys for the Vatican police force to use.

The Pope delivered a pro-life sermon, offering prayers "for every human life, especially the most fragile, defenceless and threatened', without speaking directly about abortion or contraception.

After the Mass, the Argentine Church leader spoke to disabled people in the square, including one on a motorcycle wearing Harley garb.

Harley Davison bikes stand parked on St Peter's Square, 16 June Hundreds of Harley Davison bikes stood parked on St Peters' Square on Sunday.
The Vatican's coat of arms is stuck on a Harley Davidson on St Peter's Square, 16 June The arrival of bike culture, with its hedonistic associations, at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church was an incongruous sight for some.
Bikers strain to photograph Pope Francis on St Peter's Square, 16 June The motorcyclists strained to get photos of the new pope.
Pope Francis blesses a person in Harley Davison garb on St Peter's Square, 16 June After Mass, Pope Francis met some of the bikers.
A biker on St Peter's Square, 16 June The bikers are in Rome for a Harley-Davison festival.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories


Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa

  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine

  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday

  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world


  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.