It was a dreary and humid May 3rd when the boys’ clubs pedaled out of Brooksville Park, down the bike trail that led to Hamden. The trees and pavement showed signs of yesterday’s downpour, and though the sky was completely covered in clouds, everyone still believed Mary would hold off the rain.
So began the Bike-A-Thon: the annual fundraiser of the ConQuest Catholic boys clubs of Connecticut for the Bishop’s Appeal, supporting diocesan poverty relief. Boys’ club members spend nearly two months getting donors to pledge money for charity for each mile they ride.
At the two mile marker, the boys skidded and stopped to pray a decade of the rosary, as they did every two miles, as they had always done in years past. From there, the group took off riding again: there were twenty boys from the Cheshire and Bethlehem clubs and ten dads who were having a more difficult time than their energetic sons.
They turned around at the five-mile mark and reached the park within an hour and a half of their departure. Riding into the parking lot, you could sense the succulent smell of barbecued hamburger and hot dogs, and see a giant picnic tent full of water bottles, coolers of iced tea, salty potato chips, melt-in-your mouth cookies, and all the fixings for the barbequed meat.
After a hearty and quick lunch (boys eat fast), the clubs played a game of two-hand-push football: tremendous fun for dads and sons alike.
Mr. Desjardins, director of the Cheshire club, announced that the boys raised about $2,000 from sponsors at their parishes this year, making the five-year total nearly ten grand.
“And you’re all invited to annual Mass with the bishop when we will give him the check,” said Mr. Hughes, director of the newborn club in Bethlehem.
They held tree climbing races, push-up competitions, gladiator wars, cookie eating contests, and cleaned up lunch all at the same time. “I really like helping poor people this way,” said one boy.
We pulled out of the driveway and waved goodbye. The cars whisked past over the wet roads, under the bright green canopy of oak leaves, and sunlight could be seen peeking through the clouds. I couldn’t help but break into a wide beaming smile and thank Mary for doing so much more than holding back the rain.
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