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Pope Francis blesses Harleys as thousands of bikers descend on the Vatican

- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley-Davidsons on Sunday as bikers descended on the Vatican to celebrate the manufacturer's 110th anniversary.

The parade coincided with a two-day pro-life rally commemorating a 1995 encyclical on the inviolability of human life.

Francis addressed both gatherings after Mass, giving a blessing to the "numerous participants" of the Harley rally, the Associated Press reported.

In his comments to the pro-life crowd, the pope offered prayers "for every human life, especially the most fragile, defenseless and threatened."

Some estimates say a half-million Harley owners were in Rome during the weekend. The main events were Saturday's parade past the Colosseum and Sunday's Vatican blessing, the AP reported.

The Milwaukee-based manufacturer gave Francis two white classic Harleys for the Vatican police force to use, the AP reported.

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