Thursday, May 31, 2007

Taking the Faith into the Streets

When I was a child, the parish feast was one of the most anticipated events of the year. My home parish is Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) and the parish feast is help each year on the last weekend in May.

This feast is more than a parish festival. It is a celebration of faith, family, friends, and food. The church parking lot is transformed into a carnival type atmosphere with food booths, games, and live music.

But the big event takes place on Sunday. The feast Mass is the biggest event of the three day period. The principal celebrant is usually either the bishop of the diocese or a bishop from Europe. Since Espirito Santo is a Portuguese parish, a bishop from Portugal usually attends.

After the Mass, there is a procession through the streets of the city. All the parish groups are represented in the procession and the streets are lined with people.

At Espirito Santo, the procession begins with a large red banner which reads, "Vinde Espirito Santo" translated means "Come, Holy Spirit". All the large statues from the church are carried in the procession by men of the parish. The smaller statues are carried by the children from the parish school. Each statue was preceded by children and teenagers who dressed as the saint portrayed by the statue and many other children dressed as angels.

Here is a slideshow of photos from the procession. For photo captions, click on the white square on the lower left corner of the picture.

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