Wheel faith: Miami bikers raise funds for Catholic charity

 Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski sports his custom riding vest – a gift from the Florida Knights of Columbus group, Knights on Bikes – as he stands beside his Harley Davidson motorcycle before the start of the Poker Run. Photo: Tom Tracy/Florida Catholic

First, Pope Francis auctioned off a Harley.  Now this.

From Florida Catholic: 

Computer systems engineer Pierre Victor’s Italian-made MV Agusta F4 motorcycle is evidence that almost any hobby or special interest can be an intersection for faith-sharing and raising money for a good cause.

“I’ve had 13 bikes and this is the best bike I’ve ever owned — nothing comes close to this; everywhere it’s a show-stopper with people taking pictures,” said Victor, whose children attend Mary Help of Christians School here.

Victor was one of the participants at the second annual Archbishop’s Poker Run held Feb. 9 to support Catholic Charities’ St. Luke Addiction Recovery Center, a residential program for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Standing around with some 150 other motorcycle enthusiasts, he and a handful of coworkers from Coral Springs-based First Data company assessed other motorcycles and gave a detailed run-down of the modifications and upgrades to each machine.

“This ride was important to us and it has been very spiritual,” said Victor, a native of Haiti who is active in the Emmaus ministry at Mary Help of Christians Parish.

The church was the starting place for the Poker Run and its opening Mass, both led by Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski.

“A lot of the people we’ve been meeting today are very down to earth, enjoying the ride; it’s very well planned,” said Victor, adding that he seeks out opportunities to be with other Catholic men — and women riders too.

“It creates a brotherhood within the Church being able to speak to each other knowing that if you need someone to talk to you have a ministry brother there,” he said. “One of our weaknesses as men is we don’t like to talk, and one of the things the ministry does is allows (you to) open up your heart and find (consolation) in Jesus Christ and know that there are other guys out there walking your same path.”

This year’s Poker Run was a 72-mile ride from Parkland to Cutler Bay featuring several stops along the way — including Rick Case Honda in Davie, Café 27 in Weston, and Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School in Miami — where participants picked up a poker card toward a $500 gift certificate for the winning hand.

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