In a quiet residential area of a town that I will leave anonymous, I found this unusual marquee.I’ve certainly heard of “blessing of the animals” events, but cars? Apparently I’m not as well-traveled as I’d like to think I am. Since car-blessing seems even more quintessentially American than valet parking at a strip-mall nightclub, I decided to do a bit more research on this curiosity.
Without disclosing the identity of the church, I will at least acknowledge that it is an ethnic Catholic congregation, and it does have a website. It goes without saying that Catholic churches recognize a number of saints’ days. As I learned from the church newsletter, the annual blessing of the cars—and their drivers—aligns with St. Christopher’s Day, the patron saint of travelers. So there’s a logical origin for this event, even if St. Christopher himself never owned a Hyundai. And yes, the newsletter features a photo of the church’s priest, offering solemnities to sedans in a parking lot.
A friend recently informed me that he’d heard of the blessing of motorcycles, which was another new one for me. Perhaps if I’d explored a bit more during my recent trip to Sturgis, South Dakota I would have found a church where they sprinkled holy water on some Harleys. Better luck next time.