Elizabeth O’Hara, RGC Editor
When one sees a line of big, heavy metal motorcycles parked one after another, sloping to the side, it conjures up all kinds of images. Tough guys. Bar fi ghts. Salty language. So imagine seeing a dozen bikes all in a row outside of a classroom portable at St. Raphael’s Parish.
These are El Paso’s Knights on Bikes.
“It’s okay to love God. To be tough and to have a better image,” said organizer Lawrence Stewart.
Stewart helped found the local Knights on Bikes in 2011 while mentoring local “squires” or youth from 10-18 years old as part of a Knights of Columbus project. Currently, there are 17 Knights on Bikes representing Cristo Rey, Most Holy Trinity, Queen of Peace, St. Pius, St. Luke and St. Raphael parishes. Amongst the members is Deacon Robert Diaz from Queen of Peace who didn’t even own a motorcycle when he fi rst learned of the group.
“My dad was always against motorcycles when I was growing up. And I was always against them for my own kids,” Deacon Robert said. “This group of men is different. They show that being Catholic is cool. And they do that from the perspective of people who see Jesus Christ from an angle no one expects.”
“Every member considers himself a Knight of Columbus fi rst,” said Fernando “Fernie” Silva. The men are Fourth Degree Knights or “Sir Knights.” And must be in good standing with their Knights of Columbus chapter to join, he said.
Knights on Bikes participate in various diocesan events such as the March for Life and the Border Mass. The men can often be seen as an escort to Bishop Mark J. Seitz, who Deacon Robert said, was thrilled to learn of the evangelical group.
“We gave him a motorcycle vest and he asked for a motorcycle to go with it!” he laughed.
The group hopes to expand to more parishes in 2015. For more information on how to join Knights on Bikes, contact Lawrence Stewart at www.elpasoknightsonbikes.com or follow the group’s Facebook page.