MANTECA — Prayers of protection for riders and all manner of vehicles brought the faithful to Christian Worship Center for the annual blessing by the Prodigal Sons Motorcycle Ministry.
The event draws about 400 motorcycles, classic cars and ordinary transport each year, timed to match the start of motorcycle riding’s high season, said Josh Fala, a pastor at the church.
Bounce houses for kids, vendor booths and a live band all were part of the family-centered fun Saturday, which, he added, doesn’t bring in as much as it costs.
“It’s really a way to touch the community, make ourselves available to the community and let them know Jesus loves them,” Fala said.
Pastor Tony Silveira and church members ran a prayer tent for anyone needing an extra dose of spiritual goodwill. “We pray for children, the sick, for the community,” he said.
Senior pastor Steve Perea led the hands-on blessings for rides and riders, asking for safety and alertness while driving, family harmony, good health and a sense of God’s presence wherever they went.
“I always feel safer knowing God’s with us,” said Louis Estrada Jr. after he and his dad had their blessings.
“Jesus, he controls the road,” added the senior Estrada.
There to have his motorized wheelchair blessed, Reggie Soto said he rode with the group before a fall five years ago left him four-wheeling instead. Soto said he comes every year to have a prayer over his ride and join in celebrating his faith and the day’s fellowship.
Motorcyclist Mary Applebaum said she joined the group for the ministry – they had to teach her how to ride. “We use our motorcycles to reach the unsaved. A lot of bikers come from a background of trouble with law and alcohol or drugs. What we have in common are the bikes,” she said.
“We’re getting more and more women riders, which is awesome,” Applebaum said.