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From the Archives: Point Loma’s Portuguese chapel was built in 1922 to hold the Crown of the Holy Spirit

For a century the Portuguese community in San Diego has celebrated the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo, or Feast of the Holy Spirit, with a procession ending at the tiny white frame Portuguese chapel, or capela, built in 1922 next to the Portuguese hall at the foot of Addison Street. This year’s celebration took place from June 3 to June 5.

From The San Diego Union and Daily Bee, Saturday, June 10, 1922:

PORTUGUESE DEDICATE CHURCH BUILDINGS

Under the direction of M.O. Modena of Point Loma an impressive ceremony was held last Sunday at the new recreation center and chapel of the Irmandade do Divino Espírito Santa, to dedicate the buildings which have bee erected at a cost of $6000 by the resident Portuguese families at Roseville and La Playa. A procession wound over the hills from the headquarters to the church on Canyon street, where Miss hazel Silviera was crowned queen of the feast. A dinner and social gathering at the recreation center completed the ceremony.

Several hundred persons ranging from the tiny flower girls attendant on the queen of the feat and Miss Hazel Athaide as “Rainha Izabel,” to the grandparents and great-grandparents of these little ones, were in line, slowly marching to the strains of noble Portuguese hymns. Music was furnished by the East San Diego band.

From The San Diego Union, Monday June 10, 1935:

ESPIRITO SANTO FIESTA ENDS AS QUEEN CROWNED

When Queen Isabel of Portugal sold her jewels in the late 13th century to provide funds for feeding inhabitants of a war-scarred nation and took the lead in the rehabilitation of her country, it was an occasion for rejoicing. In the 400 years which have followed, the event has been celebrated by the Portuguese throughout the world.

San Diego’s colony of Portuguese yesterday, White Sunday, celebrated its Sociedade Espirito Santo fiesta with a colorful procession high mass at the St. Agnes church and a feast.

More than an our before the 11 a.m. services the procession began to form in front of the Roseville auditorium. Fourteen organizations with bands, drum corps, drill teams, marching units and the fiesta queen and her attendants comprised the colorful parade which marched, with police escort, to the St. Agnes church.

Leading the procession were the Merkley’s Musical Maids, followed by the Goodbody’s concert band, the Eagles drum corps, drill team and band, the S.E.S. drill team, members of the Lusitania crew, Daughter of Mary society girls, U.P.E.C. lodge, I.D.E.S. lodge, A.P.U.M.C.C. lodge, S.P.R.S.I. lodge and the St. Agnes Boy Scout troop.

Procession Forms

The entire procession formed in front of Queen Mary Rosa and her attendants and the little queen, Lorraine Monise and her accompanying flower girls.

More than 4000 persons lined the street as the marchers paraded under a canopy of bright flags. As the procession disbanded the throngs crowded into the little church to attend high mass.

After the church service official crowning ceremonies for Queen Mary were conducted and she received the blessing of the priest.

Outside the church the procession again formed and marched back to the little chapel near the auditorium where the queen’s crown was placed on the chapel altar. As Queen Mary entered the chapel she was met by her father, Manuel Rosa, president of the fiesta and captain of the Lusitania, fiesta flagship, and her mother, Mrs. Maria Rosa, official hostess of the fete.

Feast Is Held

With the crown resting in the chapel the queen led the celebrators to a large outdoor pavilion for the feast, final event of the fiesta.

Inside the pavilion more than 4000 Portuguese and their families and friends were served. A brief entertainment program was presided over by Capt. Rosa.

Yesterday’s celebration ended the annual fiesta which got under way at the Portuguese colony Saturday night with a display of fireworks and dancing.

“It’s the largest event ever held by the Portuguese in San Diego,” Capt. Rosa said. “Thanks to the many who served on committees in preparation for the fete and the hundreds who joined in the celebration, the event this year was the most successful in our history here.



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