Lansing’s Legion Riders return to the roads with ‘first annual’ Blessing of the Bikes

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(Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (July 3, 2020) – Approximately 50 motorcycles gathered in the parking lot of American Legion Post 697 (18255 Grant Street, Lansing) on Sunday morning, June 28. This ride—to “Sollit, Spanky’s, Jack’s,” according to the online flyer—was the first official Legion Rider event of 2020, since the COVID-induced quarantine prevented gatherings and shut down the watering holes where bikers typically meet.

So it was appropriate to begin the season with a Blessing of the Bikes. Chaplain Seamus McLaughlin is an ordained minister who belongs to the Lansing Legion Riders. As the bikers circled around, while maintaining social distance, he read a Prayer of Bike Blessing:

“May God in Heaven fulfill abundantly the prayers which are pronounced over you and your bikes on this occasion of the Blessing of the Bikes. May God bless your going out and coming in; May the Lord be with you at home and on the road. May He accompany you when you start on your many journeys: May He fill your lives abundantly with many blessings; May He keep all your rides safe. May His mercy, grace and love shine upon your every path. In Christ’s name, Amen.”

Legion Rider Chaplain Seamus McLaughlin reads a prayer of blessing over the bikes and bikers gathered in the parking lot of the American Legion. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The bikers bow their heads and receive the blessing. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The bikers then returned to their bikes, and Chaplain McLaughlin visited each individually to anoint the front wheel with holy water.

Chaplain McLaughlin spent time at each bike, greeting the rider and applying a few drops of holy water to the bike. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Left: Denise Scholte is the Membership Chair of the Legion Riders. There are 78 members in Lansing’s chapter. Right: Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich is an honorary member of the Legion Riders because of her work with veterans and Honor Flight. Last year they gifted her with an official motorcycle vest and name patch. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Tina and Tony Blejski display the Blessed 2020 sticker they received with their motorcycle blessing. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Following the blessing, Legion Rider President Nick Grigutis prepares to lead the pack out of the parking lot. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Lansing’s Legion Riders have previously participated in Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies with other chapters, usually in Schererville, but that event was canceled this year. This was Chaplain McLaughlin’s first time doing a blessing ceremony, but he hopes it won’t be the last. The June 28 event was quickly dubbed the “First Annual” Blessing of the Bikes at Post 697.