The following comes from an August 18 Reuters article by Paul Ingrassia:

Holy water at hand, the bishop begins the invocation.

“We call on God to bless all these cars and the people who bring them here,” intones the Most Rev. Richard Garcia of the Catholic diocese of Monterey, California. “He has blessed us to create great and beautiful work.”

Then Bishop Garcia and fellow prelates spread out to sprinkle the 52 classic cars on display in the courtyard of the Carmel Mission, the iconic church where Father Junipero Serra, who was canonized a saint last year, is buried.

The Blessing of the Automobiles, formally called the Carmel Mission Classic, is perhaps the most unusual event during Monterey Car Week. It’s nine days (a week being no longer enough) of parades, parties, shows, races and lectures that culminates in Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance classic car show on the 18th fairway at the Pebble Beach golf course.

The Blessing, sponsored by the Carmel Mission’s Knights of Columbus Chapter, is a fairly new car-week event — just four years old. It’s the brainchild of Frank DiPaola, now chairman of the event. He saw the need, he explains, to “combine the passion of fine automobiles with the passion of the soul.”

Adds Rico Tesio, the Carmel Mission’s Deputy Grand Knight: “We are men of faith. But we are also men of cars.”

While looking at those and other cars, Blessing attendees eagerly swapped car stories (all truthful, one presumes, at an event like this) with each other.

The camaraderie theme was invoked by Bishop Garcia, who said: “The Son of God came into the world to bring people together. Whatever brings us together also brings us closer to God.”