Inspired by the tradition of visiting churches on Holy Thursday, Slow Rollers Will Pearson and Fr. Jud Weiksnar, ofm led a group of 50 bicyclists on the inaugural Holy Roll in 2017. Last year’s ride was canceled due to heavy rain, but weather permitting, this year’s Holy Roll will take place Thursday, April 18 at 8:30 p.m. They will roll through the East Side, Polonia and Lovejoy to visit seven churches, including five from Broadway Fillmore Alive’s “One Night and Seven Churches” pilgrimage.
The Holy Roll will begin at Ss. Columba-Brigid Church, 75 Hickory Street, after the conclusion of Holy Thursday Mass. The cyclists will then visit St. Stanislaus, Corpus Christi, St. Adalbert’s, St. Luke’s, St. John Kanty and St. Katherine Drexel. St. Casimir was dropped from this year’s ride in order to avoid the potentially hazardous utility cuts and rough pavement Clinton Street. As Clinton is scheduled to be repaved this summer, the impressive St. Casimir will hopefully return to the route in 2020.
The Holy Roll is a shade under 10 miles long. Riders will stop for ten minutes at each church, allowing them to get a glimpse of the majestic structures and, if they so desire, spend a moment in prayer. Each church offers a unique ambiance, and while the mood is prayerful. it can vary from solemn to joyful. The motivation for the riders can be worship, exercise, sight-seeing, and/or socializing. People of any faith or no faith are welcome to ride. As Holy Thursday is one of the most solemn feasts on the church calendar, Holy Roll participants are asked to maintain a respectful attitude in and around the churches. The ride itself is free, but some churches set out collection boxes for free will donations.
Riders are strongly encouraged to have lights on their bikes. The route includes some inclines, and traverses several busy streets. Riders are expected to maintain an average speed of 10 mph and follow the rules of the road. Volunteer guides will set the pace and lead the ride, but there will be no repair crew and no police escort. Riders who get a flat tire, experience mechanical problems or otherwise fall behind will need to call someone to assist them or pick them up. The ride will end at approximately 11:00 p.m, so the organizers advise against bringing children. Volunteers will watch the bikes while the riders are visiting inside the churches, and some churches also provide security.
Thanks to the cooperation and enthusiasm of the approximately 50 cyclists on the inaugural Holy Roll, it proved to be an energizing and, for some, inspiring experience.
The Holy Roll is a self-supported ride and is not sponsored by any of the churches. For those who wish to attend Holy Thursday Mass before the Holy Roll, the liturgy begins at 7:00 p.m. at Ss. Columba-Brigid Church, 75 Hickory Street, and will end at approximately 8:30 p.m. If you have any questions, e-mail Fr. Jud Weiksnar, ofm at firstname.lastname@example.org.