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May 18, 2012 > Holy Spirit Festival: Preserving our Heritage... Embracing our Future

Holy Spirit Festival: Preserving our Heritage... Embracing our Future

Submitted By Dominica Sizar

This year marks the Centennial of the beautiful crown and scepter that has been carried by every Festival Queen since 1912. For centuries, these have been important symbols to the Portuguese people as St. Queen Isabella stated she would give her crown to the church if the terrible famine that plagued her people was ended.

It was in April 1912 that A.D. Lewis, Sr. traveled to his native Portugal, and while there he purchased a sterling silver crown and scepter which he presented to the parishioners of his beloved Holy Ghost Church in Centerville, CA, which we now know as Holy Spirit Church in the City of Fremont.

A few recollections of the Lewis family as told by life-long parishioner Vermilda Silva:

"Antone Duarte (A. D.) Lewis, Sr. was a Portuguese immigrant residing on a farm on Central Avenue and was a devoted member of Holy Ghost Church. He had immigrated to Fremont in 1902, and then sent for his family a few years later. A.D. returned to his homeland, the Azores in 1912, and brought back the crown and scepter in fulfillment of a promise he made of prospering in California.

His four sons and one daughter all lived and flourished in our parish. He has two remaining family members who still live in Holy Spirit Parish. One of them is my cousin, Vivian Costa, granddaughter of A.D. Lewis, Sr. and me.

His son, A.D. Lewis, Jr. was Festival Chairman for many years and two granddaughters were Queens.

After the new church was built the crown was locked in the south side altar in a specially built container.

A rather humorous story I remember is that during the period before the Festival, the custom was for families to pass the crown around from home to home and hold prayer services. When Father de Sousa found that the services were turning into social parties, he brought the crown back to the church and never let it out again."

The Holy Spirit 125th Festival will take place May 19 and 20. As part of the festivities Grand Marshals, Janet and Duarte Monteiro, will lead the procession through the historic streets of the Centerville District of Fremont to the church and will culminate at the 12:30 Mass and coronation of Queen Nicolette Herbert Gacusan, on Sunday, May 20. Your family and friends are invited to enjoy games, international food, live entertainment and a raffle during the weekend.

In its 126 years, Holy Spirit Church has seen Fremont change from a farming community of mostly Portuguese immigrants from the Azores Islands to a sprawling city of people from all walks of life. Our pastor, Father Mathew Vellankal, embraces this and invites all to participate in this festival. The mission of the Festival is to support our parish community in treasuring the rich history and faith-filled tradition our church was founded on, which unites all of us through our Catholic faith.

Procession starts Sunday, 11:30 a.m. at the corner of Central Avenue and Dusterberry Way.


Holy Spirit Festival
Saturday, May 19: 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 20: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
37588 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 797-1660


Schedule of Events:

Saturday, May 19
10:00 a.m. - Opening Ceremonies, Boy Scouts of America Troop 154
12:45 p.m. - Holy Spirit Kids Choir
1:30 p.m. - Holy Spirit Filipino Cultural Club
2:30 p.m. - Elf Corps Studio's Talent Show
3:00 p.m. - APL
4:00 p.m. - Mission Peak
5:30 p.m. - JazzMeister
6:30 p.m. - Larry Wallin-Song Stylist

Sunday, May 20
10:00 a.m. - South Bay School of Music Arts
11:30 a.m. - Procession
1: 30 p.m. - Introduction of Festival Queen and Honor Court
1:45 p.m. - East Bay Jazzinators
3:00 p.m. - Canyon Band
4:00 p.m. - Desperate House Band
5:00 p.m. - Drawing

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