Doing something good with his Harley Davidson

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bikers prepare for a blessing of their motorcycles at St. Hedwig Parish, 2226 N. Hoyne Ave., before leaving for an 1,800-mile pilgrimage to the shrine of Mary of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pa., in July 2009. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)

Michael Bogan hadn’t been an active motorcyclist for a while when he took the activity up a little more than a year ago, buying a new bike and taking to the road.

When he did, he got to thinking that, as he put it, “I should do some good with the Harley. There’s not really a Catholic motorcycle ministry or fellowship.”

He spoke to other Catholic motorcyclists, and they agreed, so Bogan wrote to Cardinal George suggesting that the archdiocese should have such a ministry. Much to his surprise, he got a phone call directly from the cardinal a few weeks later. The cardinal’s message, he said, was essentially, “A motorcycle ministry is a great idea. Go ahead and start one.”

Bogan has been taking steps to try to get a group — he’s calling it “Knights of Christ” — off the ground. One big step is a motorcycle blessing by Cardinal George at 9:45 a.m. June 21 in the parking lot of Holy Trinity Polish Mission, 1118 N. Noble. Following the blessing, participants are invited to ride to Alley 64, 2001 N, Rand Road, Palatine.

Out of that Bogan hopes will grow a group similar to some of the Protestant motorcycle ministries he’s seen: an organization where riders could share their faith and fellowship, and maybe raise money for Catholic causes and engage in other good works along the way.

It’s important for bikers to realize that Christ ministers to them, and that Christ calls on them to minister to those they meet along the way.

“Christ ministered to everyone, the poor, the sick, the marginalized,” said Bogan, a parishioner at St. Colette in Rolling Meadows.

He chose the name Knights of Christ because he sees analogies between modernday bikers and the knights errant of Arthurian legend.

“I look at it like we are at war,” Bogan said. “Every day is a battle with sin and temptation. We are moral and righteous individuals mounted on steeds of steel. I always wanted to be a knight, since I was little.”

While many of the activities of the motorcycle ministry might be similar to those of a secular motorcycle club — “They go, they ride, they drink, they party hearty,” Bogan said — this would be a more wholesome endeavor, perhaps with scheduled rides to different churches for Saturday vigil Masses and opportunities for good works.

Such a group might even be a draw for people who no longer practice the faith, Bogan said, providing them with an easier way to reconnect.

While the archdiocese does not have a formal motorcycle ministry, there is no shortage of Catholic bikers, and several parishes host annual motorcycle blessings. Bogan is hoping some of the riders who participate in those will come out and perhaps make a full-fledged motorcycle ministry a reality.

Father Andrzej Maslejak, the director of Holy Trinity Polish Mission, said he was happy to provide a place for the motorcycle blessing.

“I’ll be praying too,” he said.


  • st. hedwig parish