Pope blesses bikers in St Peter's Square

Parking up ready for the mass.
Parking up ready for the mass.
Harley Davidson riders park their motorcycles along Via della Conciliazione.
Harley Davidson riders park their motorcycles along Via della Conciliazione.
The Vatican's coat of arms is stuck on a Harley Davidson.
The Vatican's coat of arms is stuck on a Harley Davidson.
 A Harley Davidson biker sleeps on his bike outside Saint Peter's Square.
A Harley Davidson biker sleeps on his bike outside Saint Peter's Square.
Motorcycles parked along Via della Conciliazione during the mass.
Motorcycles parked along Via della Conciliazione during the mass.
T-shirts with pictures of Pope Francis are hung over the bikes.
T-shirts with pictures of Pope Francis are hung over the bikes.
Rosaries adorn one of the bikes.
Rosaries adorn one of the bikes.
A Harley Davidson biker from Germany holds a souvenir of the pope.
A Harley Davidson biker from Germany holds a souvenir of the pope.
Harley-Davidson bikers pose for a picture beside a Swiss Guard before the mass.
Harley-Davidson bikers pose for a picture beside a Swiss Guard before the mass.

Biker culture has come to the Vatican.

Pope Francis has blessed thousands of Harley Davidsons and their riders in Rome as the American motorcycle manufacturer celebrated its 110th anniversary with a loud parade and plenty of leather.

Thundering Harley engines nearly drowned out the recitation of the Our Father prayer in Latin that accompanied Francis as he  greeted the crowd before mass.

In St Peter’s Square, bikers in their trademark leather Harley  vests sat alongside nuns and tens of thousands of faithful  Catholics taking part in an unrelated, two-day pro-life rally, the  centrepiece of which was Francis' mass.

Francis addressed them both after mass, giving a blessing to the "‘numerous participants" of the Harley rally.

Tens of thousands of Harley owners from around the world descended on Rome for the anniversary.

BLESS THEM: Harley-Davidson bikers walk outside Saint Peter's Square to attend a mass to be led by Pope Francis in Rome.
BLESS THEM: Harley-Davidson bikers walk outside Saint Peter's Square to attend a mass to be led by Pope Francis in Rome.
BLESS THEM: Harley-Davidson bikers walk flocked to Saint Peter's Square to attend a mass to be led by Pope Francis in Rome.
BLESS THEM: Harley-Davidson bikers walk flocked to Saint Peter's Square to attend a mass to be led by Pope Francis in Rome.

AP