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Bikes, trikes to be blessed — Prayers 10:45 a.m. Sunday at St. Francis

Father Henry Shelton likes to feel the sun on his face and the wind against his collar as he tools around the countryside on his Honda Shadow 750.

The priest at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church is a biker at heart.

The church on East Cherokee Street will offer a Blessing of the Bikes Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

It’s a short ceremony, maybe five minutes at most, Shelton said.

Shelton brought the idea with him from Tupelo and this will be the third year for it at St. Francis. Last year, about 20 bikes — from motorcycles to toddler scooters — were blessed.

The blessing, though a Catholic tradition, is open to anyone of any faith, he said. It’s a prayer said over the bikes for safe travels for the rider.

Colby Calcote, vice president at Trustmark Bank, owns a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic. He keeps a medallion of St. Columbanus, the patron saint of motorcycles, on his ride.

“I think it’s not to give us a false sense of security, but to remind us that we can find peace and comfort is knowing that God is with us not only when we ride our bikes, but every day when we ride through life,” he said. “And that’s peace of mind enough for me.”

The blessing will be on the church’s school playground across the street from the church. Bikers of all ages should come through the double gate on Court Place behind the church education building to enter the playground.