Riding for the Lord

  • Written by Brian LeBlanc
  • Published in Local
Father Matthew O’Leary, pastor of Holy Disciples Parish in Puyallup, takes a seat on a motorcycle after the annual Blessing of the Bikes at his parish in July. He was assisted at the blessing by master of ceremonies Larry Smith, right. Photo: Linda Clingan Father Matthew O’Leary, pastor of Holy Disciples Parish in Puyallup, takes a seat on a motorcycle after the annual Blessing of the Bikes at his parish in July. He was assisted at the blessing by master of ceremonies Larry Smith, right.

Barbecue, blessing and a ride to Rainier raise money for wounded warriors

PUYALLUP - When Philip Clingan takes to the road on his Indian Chieftain, he wears his Knights on Bikes vest.

“You never know who’s going to convert,” after seeing the vest, said Clingan, a Knights of Columbus member from Holy Disciples Parish in Puyallup who has been riding motorcycles for 30 years.

This summer, Clingan, along with 35 other motorcyclists and several bicyclists — Catholic and non-Catholic — lined the traffic circle outside Holy Disciples Church for the third annual Blessing of the Bikes.

Anyone was welcome to receive the blessing from Father Matthew O’Leary, “as long as you got wheels,” Clingan said.

The pastor’s blessing came after a July 27 Mass and a barbecue hosted by the parish’s Knights of Columbus council. Father O’Leary was invited to join the group for its ride to Paradise Lodge on Mount Rainier, but “he said he wouldn’t go unless there was a sidecar” for him to ride in, Clingan said.

This year, 21 bikers rode to Paradise Lodge on Mount Rainier to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Clingan, who organized the event, is a retired 21-year Army veteran.

Clingan is working to expand the Blessing of the Bikes and the fundraising ride, with a goal of 200 bikers participating. He promotes the event within the biker community and said he was pleased by the number of non-Catholic bikers who came for the blessing. It showed they are receptive to “the power of believing in what the priest is doing,” Clingan said.


Phillip Clingan (front row, third from right) and 20 other bikers rode up to Paradise Lodge on Mount Rainier after the Blessing of the Bikes at Holy Disciples Parish in Puyallup. Photo: Courtesy Linda Clingan

Help wounded warriors
Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project through a page set up by the Knights of Columbus at Holy Disciples Parish.

Learn more about Knights on Bikes — whose motto is, “In God we trust and ride."