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Harley-Davidson celebration at the Vatican

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Harley-Davidson celebration at the Vatican

By Associated Press. CREATED Jun 17, 2013

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis has blessed thousands of Harley-Davidsons and their riders visiting the Vatican.

Thundering engines nearly drowned out the Latin recitation of the "Our Father" prayer that accompanied Francis as he greeted the crowd before Sunday Mass. Standing in his open-top jeep, Francis drove up the main boulevard leading to St. Peter's Square.

The Harley riders were celebrating the manufacturer's 110th anniversary.

Once the service got under way, bikers in their trademark leather Harley vests sat in the square alongside nuns and tens of thousands of faithful Catholics taking part in an unrelated, two-day pro-life rally.

Francis addressed them both afterward, giving a blessing to the "numerous participants" of the Harley gathering.

For the pro-life crowd, Francis offered prayers "for every human life, especially the most fragile, defenseless and threatened."

Earlier in the week, Milwaukee, Wis.-based Harley gave Francis two white classic Harleys for the Vatican police force to use.