Santas on Harleys visit central Taiwan’s oldest Catholic church for Christmas

Close to one hundred Harley Davidson motorcycle owners put on Santa costumes for a procession through Puxin Township, Changhua County, finishing at the Luocuo Church, known as the oldest Catholic church in central Taiwan.

Organized by the “Iron Wings” Motorcycle Club, Harley riders from three counties converged on Puxin on the invitation of the town’s Mayor, who also happens to be a member of the club. Puxin Township Mayor, Zhang Chengyu, explained that the Lucuo Catholic Church usually organizes a light sculpture show every Christmas, but this year the event was cancelled due to pandemic restrictions. Therefore, he decided to invite the Iron Wing motorcycle club to the town to add some color for Christmas.

Zhang said that Iron Wings members often organized gatherings based on charity events, such as raising money for rural elementary schools, but this was the first time they had organized a Christmas event.

After meeting at a carpark on the outskirts of town, the Harley riders donned their Santa suits, then slowly rumbled through the township until they reached the Luocuo Church.

The procession’s arrival at the church coincided with the end of the Christmas morning service, and the faithful exited the church to be greeted with the site of dozens of bright red and white Santas among the dazzling display of shining motorcycles.

Santas and Harley's at Luocuo Catholic Church, Puxin Township
Santas and Harleys at Luocuo Catholic Church, Puxin Township. Picture: Iron Wings Motorcycle Club Facebook.

Father Hu Mingliang introduced the church and its history to the visitors, pointing out that, although the current building is just a few decades old, the church was first established in 1875, making it the first and oldest Catholic Church in central Taiwan. Priests from many nations have served at Luocuo, including Spanish, American, and Vietnamese nationalities. The Luocuo church saw the establishment of the first western-style band in Taiwan, the first orphanage, and first swimming pool in central Taiwan, and was the first to import and operate a western-alphabet printing press in Taiwan.

Father Hu concluded by saying that Christmas is the most important day for believers to feel the grace of the Lord. “Whether you are a believer or not, please accept our sincere blessings of peace and joy, light and hope on this day of Jesus’ birth,” Father Hu said.

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