Today saw the celebration of the annual mass for bikers at Burt Chapel in Donegal. Father Gerard Sweeney was the celebrant and he welcomed bikers in their hundreds to the chapel at lunchtime today.
A biker himself, Father Sweeney takes this opportunity to bless the bikes each year following mass.
As in other years, bikers turn up in their hundreds and not only attend this mass but also raise money for the local RNLI. The RNLI comprises all volunteers and depend on continued donations. Today saw this biking congregation rasie over €1200 and over £200. All of this goes a long way with the organisation.
Following mass today everyone travelled on their bikes, including Father Sweeney, to Neds Point in Buncrana where the RNLI volunteers laid on a huge Sunday afternoon tea for everyone.
Not only was today a special day for the biking community but it was made that extra special as everyone took time to remember Shaun Kelly from Derry who sadly passed away just over a month ago. Part of the local biking community, Shaun is missed by many and today gave everyone the opportunity to keep him close and in their prayers.
During the mass today Father Sweeney paid a moving tribute to Shaun and his family, and prayers were said for all bikers who have lost their life on the road and otherwise.
Also during mass today Father Sweeney spoke of the danger on our roads for bikers because of carelessness and negligence of other road uses. As a bikers wife, and one who enjoys the road on the bike, I’m only too aware of these careless and negligent drivers and pedestrians.
Father Sweeney told how just last week he saw a lady driver texting whilst driving and not even noticing his passing her on his bike. He also told of a time when he witnessed a lady driver putting her lipstick on whilst driving, completely oblivious to his presence on the same road.
Drivers, PLEASE always check your mirrors for bikers on the road. Always allow that extra bit of space for them. And always remember that they too are allowed the use of the road. Too often people choose to ignore bikers or forget to look for them.
As Father Sweeney said earlier, ‘keep the phones in your pocket until you stop. And save a life’. How true those words are.
A huge thank you must surely go out to Father Gerard Sweeney for his return to Burt chapel today to celebrate this very important biker mass. It was an occasion to feel proud to be part of an amazing community, that of the biking one. And proud to be able to use the occasion to help fund a very worthy organisation, the RNLI.