Posted on February 10, 2017 · Posted in News, Past Events

Archbishop Wenski leads annual Motorcycle Ride to benefit St. Luke’s Center

DORAL | Come rain or shine, the bikers were going to ride!

Early on the cold and wet morning of Jan. 29, Archbishop Thomas Wenski and dozens of motorcycle riders from across the state gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doral to participate in the 2017 Archbishop’s Motorcycle Ride.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski prepares to lead the 2017 Archbishop’s Motorcycle Ride, whose proceeds benefit Catholic Charities’ St. Luke's Center, which offers treatment for people struggling with addictions. The ride began at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doral and ended at Peterson’s Harley Davidson in North Miami.

Photographer: JONATHAN MARTINEZ |FC Archbishop Thomas Wenski prepares to lead the 2017 Archbishop’s Motorcycle Ride, whose proceeds benefit Catholic Charities’ St. Luke’s Center, which offers treatment for people struggling with addictions. The ride began at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doral and ended at Peterson’s Harley Davidson in North Miami.

The archbishop began the day by celebrating Mass with the riders and the parish community. Then, despite the rain and cold, he led the group of motorcycle enthusiasts as they rode for a good cause.

“The ride is a benefit for St. Luke’s Addiction Recovery Center, an agency of Catholic Charities. It is a residential program for people struggling to overcome addictions, alcohol or drugs,” said the archbishop.

This year’s ride, like last year, began at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Doral and ended at Peterson’s Harley Davidson in North Miami. Despite the route being cut short due to the bad weather, dozens of riders took part and left the church in good spirits.

“We will get to our destination,” said the archbishop before the ride began. “We’ll just be a little bit wet when we get there.”

“This event is great not only to raise money for the program but to create awareness,” said Martha Velasquez, senior director of stewardship and events at the archdiocesan Development Office, which organizes the event.

“It shows the archbishop not at the altar, like most people think, but with them, and today they get to ride their motorcycle with him,” she added. “This event brings people from around South Florida who share in their love for riding.”

Each rider paid $20 to participate and received a commemorative T-shirt.

“Throughout this event we get closer to the church while helping to raise funds for charity,” said Andres Bonilla, a member of the Emmaus Bikers group from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. “I’m really happy to have participated.”

The ride ended at Peterson’s Harley Davidson where the bikers were treated to a barbecue and entertainment.

“I’ve been riding a motorcycle since my 50th birthday and it’s not only a great hobby, it’s relaxing as well,” said the archbishop, who turned 66 in October.

“Bikers do a lot of charity work but sometimes people don’t see it,” said Rudolph Sardiña, another of the bikers. “This is a good way of merging two of my favorite things, riding my motorcycle and helping others. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Archbishop Thomas Wenski stands next to members of the Emmaus Bikers from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doral. From left: Rodolfo Moreno and Marcus Restrepos, and at far right, Victor Aneas. They are standing outside Peterson’s Harley Davidson in North Miami, the ending spot for the 2017 Archbishop’s Motorcycle Ride.

Photographer: JONATHAN MARTINEZ |FC Archbishop Thomas Wenski stands next to members of the Emmaus Bikers from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doral. From left: Rodolfo Moreno and Marcus Restrepos, and at far right, Victor Aneas. They are standing outside Peterson’s Harley Davidson in North Miami, the ending spot for the 2017 Archbishop’s Motorcycle Ride.