Pope Francis has been turning heads and getting peoples’ attention since being installed in March 2013. More heads were turned when Pope Francis decided to auction his beloved “hog” — Harley Davidson — off for charity.
Is that Pope Francis? You’re not really sure. You hear the deep-throated rumble long before you see the source. Bouncing off the Basilica and careening around the stone pavement and arches, you really can’t tell from which direction the noise is coming.
Then you see it. A Harley Dyna Super Glide valued at about $20,000.00. Looking closer, you realize the rider also looks familiar. With his white cassock reflecting the morning sun, he smiles, gives you a thumbs-up and you can almost swear you hear Fonzi saying, Heyyyy!
Well, it could happen. Maybe it would’ve happened. While Pope Francis is no Hell’s Angel, he does own a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He won’t have it for much longer though.
The Pope is putting his bike on the auction block. Feeling that the money would be of more use for the Caritas Roma charity, he’s decided to sell it in Paris next month.
Harley-Davidson handed Francis the keys to the Harley in June 2013 as thousands of riders from around the world landed on St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the 110th birthday of the American bike maker. Tossing in a little extra, the motorcyclists also gave him two white Harleys for the Vatican cops to ride and enjoy.
The motorcycle has the pope’s signature on the tank and is expected to raise between $16,000 and $20,000. Also up for sale is his signed Harley leather motorcycle jacket, size XL.
The Latin prayer that accompanies Francis as he greets well-wishers in St. Peter’s Square was drowned out by deep-throated Harley engines. Standing up in the “Popemobile,” as it came up the avenue heading to the square, the Pope tossed out blessings to what had become a giant parking lot for Harleys.
As the service got started, bikers with their leathers sat along side nuns and thousands of Catholics who were in town to join in a pro-life rally.
Vatican security pegged the Harley crowd, who came from over 15 nations, at roughly a half million. Rome was the center of the celebration and anniversary of the bike maker and the main events were Saturday’s bike parade past the Colosseum and Sunday’s Papal blessings.
Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, pointed out that there are “quite a few” Catholic riders. “Anyone is welcome to attend Papal Mass,” he said.”I know a great people who have big bikes,” Lombardi quipped.
After his remarks to the crowd, the Pope gave prayers for each human life and particularly the most defenseless and threatened. Then the Pope spent about sixty minutes after the Mass visiting with the crowd, chatting with and caressing approximately one dozen sick and disabled people in the square. One recipient of the Pope’s attention was one man on a Harley wearing leathers.
As for Pope Francis now that he won’t have his hog? He’s going to stick to a more modest and humble means of getting around — a Ford Focus.
By Jerry Nelson