Bike riders get ready for Bethlehem Academy fundraiser

| July 24, 2015 | 0 Comments
Fathers Erik Lundgren, left, and Kevin Finnegan display their pedal power during last year's SMART Ride. Photo courtesy Father Erik Lundgren

Fathers Erik Lundgren, left, and Kevin Finnegan display their pedal power during last year’s SMART Ride. Photo courtesy Father Erik Lundgren

Twenty one people from Faribault are getting ready to jump on their bikes and pedal to raise money for Bethlehem Academy in Faribault.

They are set to push off from the steps of BA July 30 to ride 230 miles over three days in an annual event called the SMART Ride. It stands for Southern Minnesota Alternate Route Tour. It winds through a state and regional park, the City of New Ulm and then back to BA.

The event was started several years ago by BA alum Joe Burgess (1992). Proceeds go toward tuition assistance for BA students.

“Once you’ve participated, you become a repeater,” noted BA’s SMART Ride coordinator Franz Boelter, one of three BA staff members who ride. “It’s a very rewarding experience and a group of people that you want another experience with.”

Among the riders are Fathers Erik Lundgren and Kevin Finnegan. Both previously served at Divine Mercy in Faribault, and both enjoy staying in touch with both the parish and BA.

“Since moving away from Faribault to my new assignment [at Ss. Joachim and Anne in Shakopee], I still love BA and know that it’s one of the best Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese — as well as the oldest,” Father Lundgren said. “I spent four years as a co-chaplain to Bethlehem Academy and fell in love with the school. Almost all the teachers and students are active Catholics at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, and those who aren’t are given an authentic and loving presentation of the Catholic Faith in all its Goodness, Beauty and truth.”

Father Nick Vandenbroeke, who currently serves at Divine Mercy, will bless the riders at the start of their journey. Father Kevin Kenney, pastor of Divine Mercy, also supports the ride, though won’t be able to be there for the blessing. He looks forward to being involved with the parish and school.

“I look forward to working together with Bethlehem Academy and Divine Mercy Catholic School to continue the fine Catholic education our children are receiving in Faribault,” Father Kenney said. “I congratulate Bethlehem Academy on their 150th anniversary and hope to see them into the next 150 years.  Bethlehem Academy has influenced many lives and will continue to do so with all of our support.”

This year’s goal for the ride is $50,000, and $30,000 had been reached by late June.

“Each year we gain an incredible amount of financial momentum in the final two weeks,” said Boelter. “We have faith that the same thing has already started happening again. A week ago, we were barely over $10,000. When God and people of faith work together, great things happen. Fathers Erik and Kevin just joined in on Monday, and their personal goal is 10K in 10 days.”

For information and to financially support the riders, visit the SMART Ride donation page, in which you can click on the donation button for the rider or riders you would like to support. Or, write a check made it out to Bethlehem Academy and mail it to SMART Ride, c/o Franz Boelter, Bethlehem Academy, 105 3rd Avenue SW, Faribault, MN 55021.

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