Pedaling Priest Rolls To a Stop In Key West

After a stop in Miami, Father Matthew Ruhl rode his bike as far as he could go for the poor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCMiami

    After a stop in Miami on Tuesay, a Jesuit priest with a heart for the poor kept pedaling until he could pedal no further.

    Father Matthew Ruhl probably needed the rest he found in Key West when he rolled to a stop and touched his bicyle to the marker designating the southernmost spot in the continental U.S.

    Bike Riding Priest's Pitch for Poverty

    [MI] Bike Riding Priest's Pitch for Poverty
    A friar decided to ride his bike 5,000 miles to deliver an important message. (Published Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010)

    After all, he'd ridden all the way from Cape Flattery, Washington -- some 5,052 miles and 99 days away.

    "A little angel came to me one day while I was riding my bike and said, 'You can do this. You can make a difference,'" he said of the long, hot ride that helped raise awareness of poverty in America.

    He was inspired, he said, by Catholic Charities USA's goal of cutting povery in half by 2020. And along his jouney, which he undertook with 11 other riders in tow, he stopped to assist at food banks, meet with homeless people, observe poverty reduction programs, and raise money for the cause.

    "You want to change people's attitudes, he said. "I don't want these kids growing up thinking the generation ahead have cast them aside, and that we're going to hand them off a country utterly riddled with poverty. This generaion loves them, and gives a great deal of concern toward making sure that this country is less impoverished and grows increasingly less impoverished as they themselves grow."

    Saturday, Father Matthew and his friends were sprayed with Champagne and greeted with cheers.

    "I feel good. It's a good day for the team, it's a good day for Catholic Charities, a good day I think for the church and I pray it's a great day for the poor,” he said. "It was like every emotion you can imagine. There was absolute great great and there was cold cold, there was tired tired - everything you can experience, we experienced.”

    Cross-country charitable jaunts to South Florida are the new black, it would seem. In July, college grad Jordan Dibb wrapped up a 1,930-mile stroll for Haiti that began in Minneapolis and raised nearly $30,000 for Action Against Hunger.