steps makeup long journeys”
According to the traditional book of
records, the jumpstart of the Great New England Holy Ghost Feast happened on
March 8, 1986, at the office of Comercial dos Açores, Inc., Fall River,
Massachusetts. For that meeting, several people had previously been summoned.
Although the devotion to the Divine is
considered one of the most distinct chapters of the Azorean immigrant history,
well documented since the 19th century, by the Irmandades
(Brotherhoods) and Impérios (Empires) existing in this area, the idea of
joining all the brotherhoods (understandably dispersed geographically and by its
insular heritage) in a huge Journey of ethnic-religious commingling, boiled in
the mindes and hearts of many immigrants.
Well into the mid 1980s, when the majority
of population in the U.S (and in the Azores as well) was living happy moments of
abundance, some dynamic spirits were able to foresee the psychosocial conditions
to frame the immigrants under the banner of the Divine.
This is how, the immigrant Heitor
Sousa, native of Rabo de Peixe, São Miguel Azores, a known devotee of the
Azorean traditions, had the know-how to “discover” not only the
opportunity, but he also had the good-luck to find dedicated associates; he
had, above all, the cleverness to cultivate “common-ground” for a new
“union” among the generations scattered through the Diaspora, putting them
under the unmistakably banner of the Divine.
hereby is registered, that from a simple chat among two
immigrants from São Miguel, fond of the traditions and costums of their
homeland, in this case Heitor Sousa and José R. Costa, a spartk was generated
leading to high the flames of enthusiasm in the minds and hearts of many other
people, from other islands, and solidly gathering them in a huge festive union
in honor of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
the way it was.
reconciliation in the happiness of the Holy Spirit
Generally, the New England winters are long
and cold. During this time it is not rare to see snow at the roads’ edge, and
around the houses for many weeks. Many of the immigrants arriving from more
temperate climates, as in the case of the Azores, are forced to stay indoors,
losing almost, the appetite for social gatherings.
Apparently, the immigrants who visited
Comercial dos Açores, on that night of March 1986, were unaware of the wintry
conditions: their hears were sufficiently warm by the anticipated happiness of
the Great Feast, as they elaborated the first program for August 8, 9, and 10 of
Evidently, on March 8, 1986, as recorded in
the minutes, the participants unanimously agreed to the annual Great Feast of
the Divine, in Fall River; to invite all Brotherhoods of the Holy Spirit; to
invite all the Luso-American philharmonic bands; that the complementary leisure
and cultural activities of the festivities take place on John F. Kennedy
park’s south side; and the office of Comercial dos Açores would serve as
temporary headquarters for the initial committee of the Great Feast. It was also
understood that the religious ceremonies pertaining to the Coronation would be
held at St. Anne’s Church, across the street from Kennedy Park.
the way while moving forward…
Curiously, no one remembers anymore the
soothsayers of the time – they were people who quickly decreed scansions, or
voice their omens against the boldness of honoring the Divine against the limits
imposes by a retrograde religious community.
The will of the people is unstoppable.