A priest, two teachers and a group of students pedal bikes down the road … No, this isn’t the start of an potentially offensive joke. Instead, this is exactly the sight to be seen across the North Fork this weekend on Main Road or Sound Avenue.
The 27th annual McGann-Mercy Bike for Life, in which students from the private high school cycle from Port Jefferson to Orient Point, will take place over four days beginning Thursday morning. This year, the riders include 15 current students and alumni, two teachers, three support staff, and of course, the school’s chaplain, Rev. Gerald Cestare.
The trip across the North Fork is about more than exercise. The Bike for Life also incorporates a spiritual aspect for the Catholic school students.
Each day of pedaling ends at a local church where students engage in activities and talks, giving the weekend more of a retreat feel. The discussions revolve around teaching students about living a wholesome life as they grow older, building up their school community, dealing with the pressures and worries of high school, cherishing their faith and sexuality.
Riders kick off the trip in Port Jefferson and will travel along 25A and Route 48 until they reach St. Patrick’s Church in Southold, where they will spend the night. On Friday they will continue to Orient Point Beach Park, where they will have a beach barbecue and then circle back to St. Agnes in Greenport for the night.
On Saturday they will ride to Sacred Heart Church in Cutchogue, and then on Sunday they will travel back from Sacred Heart to Port Jefferson for a closing Mass at Infant Jesus Church.
The event is sponsored by McGann-Mercy Campus Ministry.