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‘Blessing of the semi trucks’ ceremony grants truckers ‘protection wherever they go’

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A fleet of semi trucks showed up to a Catholic church in Detroit over the weekend to be blessed with safe travels for another year. 

The annual blessing of the semi trucks has been held at Our Lady Queen of Angels church, part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Detroit, Michigan for the last eight years. Each time, truckers head to the church in their rigs, attend Mass, and then stand outside of their trucks with their families, awaiting the blessing of Father Adalberto (“Beto”) Espinoza.

This year, about 40 trucks showed up on Saturday, September 9th to be blessed for the road ahead. 

“This is important because (the drivers) thank God for their work, because most of them are migrants. They migrated with their families and got a job here,” Fr. Espinoza said to Detroit Catholic. “They’re always so happy to come and say thank you to God for the work and also to ask for protection wherever they go.”

The tradition is a common practice in Mexico, and was introduced to Father Espinoza by a member of the congregation eight years ago and has been conducted in Detroit ever since. 

“They are from Jalisco (in Mexico), most of them,” Fr. Espinoza said of the truckers and their families. “It is a big town where many Catholics live. These are very Catholic people, and that is why they always come here year after year. Some of them (drive) because their parents did it. All these are sons of the people who used to drive trucks before, and for them, that is very important to do what their father did.”

“There is no schedule; I never know what time I’m getting home. Anything can happen out on the road,” said Eric Garza, an owner operator who participated in the ceremony. “Sometimes I plan for being home the next day, and sometimes I break down. Just a month ago, I got stuck in North Carolina. I was supposed to be home by Friday, and I didn’t get home until Monday. (When I’m home) I wind down, relax, and I just kind of hang out with my kids and spend some family time.”

After receiving the blessing, the drivers head home, but not without honking their horns in gratitude as they leave the church. 

“This is a tradition that I love,” Fr. Espinoza said. “I love it so much, and they come here (every year), and I am very happy.”

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