Monday, September 9, 2013

Festa do Divino Espírito Santo - Feast of the Holy Spirit 2013

Texto de Agostinho Bairos & Fotos pela Altina Sousa
Text by Agostinho Bairos & Photos by Altina Sousa
Festas do Divino Espírito Santo no Parque da APM
Antigamente as Festas em louvor do Divino Espírito Santo eram celebradas na Primavera por altura do Pentecostes e do Domingo da Santíssima Trindade. Hoje em dia, em grande parte devido às visitas dos emigrantes às ilhas na época do verão, as Festas do Espírito Santo, também conhecidas por Impérios, são celebradas também durante os meses de verão.
Na nossa comunidade de Winnipeg a paróquia portuguesa celebra a festa do Espírito Santo no Domingo de Pentecostes; a Casa dos Açores no Domingo da Santíssima Trindade e a Associação Portuguesa de Manitoba no primeiro fim de Semana de Setembro, denominado Labour Day Weekend.
Os trabalhos de preparação principiam semanas antes com a angariação das pensões ao cuidado do Sr. João Couto; decoração do local da celebração e dos carros que irão participar na distribuição das pensões; confeção de vestes; acquisição da carne,  pão, massa e vinho para as pensões; preparação da carne para as alcatras; transporte de material e utensílios necessários, tendo-se distinguido o Sr. João Cunha que fez várias viagens ao parque e o Sr. António Carvalho que na Sexta-feira transportou a massa oferecida por um grupo de senhoras da ilha do Pico, etc.
Esta foi já a quarta vez que a Associação organizou esta festa no seu parque recreativo em Saint Laurent. Na Sexta-feira, dia 30 de Agosto a Comissão do Parque, sob a liderança da Nancy Gonçalves,  decorou as instalações predominando as cores brancas e vermelhas. Zita Lopes, a Sra. Ana Correia e Sra Filomena Mariano com um grupo de voluntários  decoraram o recinto onde numa coroa de grandes dimensões seriam colocadas as coroas do Divino Espírito Santo e onde seria rezado o terço no dia seguinte. Entretanto os sectores da cozinha, sob a chefia da Directora Arminda Domingos,  e do bar, director Luis Vicente,  faziam as devidas preparações. A Sra. Lourdes Dias e um grupo de voluntários faziam também os preparativos para as sopas e alcatra que iriam ser servidas no Domingo.
No Sábado da manhã o recinto dos convívios estava festivamente decorado e preparado com as pensões expostas sobre mesas, os carros decorados a rigor pela família Correia e vizinhos, e uma mesa redonda central com massa, queijo e outras iguarias para serem servidas ao público após a benção das pensões que teve lugar às dez horas da manhã. O Reverendo Padre André Lico, acompanhado do Padre Nilo, presidiu à benção das pensões e fez uma breve homilia.
Após o convívio os carros saíram para percorrer as ruas do parque e entregar as pensões. Seguia-os um veículo com um longo atrelado sobre o qual cantava o grupo dos foliões. Foi muito interessante e até emocionante ver como as pessoas recebiam calorosamente o grupo de jovens do rancho Juventude que, sob a liderança da Directora dos jovens, Aslhey Gata e do irmãos  José e João Couto, entregava as pensões de porta em porta. Este processo durou para cima de quatro horas. Enquanto decorria a distribuição na cozinha, entre muitas outras tarefas,  descacavam-se as batatas e fazia-se o arroz doce; no telheiro o Dircetor Luis Aguiar preparava o sistema de som; no recinto vedado as crianças jogavam à bola, ... dava gosto ver toda aquela azáfama tão alegre e tão portuguesa.
Foi servido o almoço a todos os voluntários.  Às seis da tarde foi rezado o terço do Divino Espírito Santo em frente da coroa, liderado pela irmã Vania e à noite, após a actuação do Rancho Juventude, o cantor-compositor da nossa comunidade. Sr. João Pimentel, deliciou-nos com as suas composições e outras canções do seu vasto reportório. Surpreendeu-nos ainda com a interpretação das velhas com o Sr. José António Andrade.
No Domingo da manhã a cozinha serviu pequeno almoço aos interessados e por volta do meio dia começaram a chegar os fiéis para a Missa que iria principiar às 2 da tarde. Vieram de Winnipeg dois autocarros, organização da directora do sector de Assistência Social, Sr. Helena Neto e, da Vila de Saint Laurent, vieram várias famílias canadianas para celebrar conosco.
A Missa foi presidida pelo Sr. Padre André Lico e concelebrada pelo pároco de Saint Lautrent, Padre Michel Nault e ainda o Padre Nilo. A primeira leitura foi em francês, a segunda em inglês e o evangelho em português. A irmã Juliana improvisou uma comovente oração dos fiéis. A Banda Lira de Fátima acompanhou alguns dos cânticos tendo os outros sido acompanhados por Maria Dias Carreiro no teclado e Henrique Braga na guitarra.
Após a Missa houve a coração das crianças, todas elas vestidas de anjo. Em seguida iniciou-se o cortejo pelas ruas do parque. A cruz foi levada pelo Sr. Armindo Bráz, seguindo-se o estandarte da Associação e a bandeira do Espírito Santo. As coroas da festa foram levadas pelas Sras. Maria José Gonçalves e Sra. Eduarda Sardinha. Um grupo de senhoras ostentava, cada qual, um dos sete dons do Espírito Santo. Logo após iam as famílias com coroas: Chaves, Costa e Labão; o grupo dos foliões; os membros da Comissão do Parque; mais de vinte anjos; o Consul de Portugal e esposa; o Presidente da Direcção da Associação; os sacerdotes; a Banda Lira de Fátima e, por fim,  um grande número de fies.
Alguma das ruas estavam ornadas com tapetes de flor ou farelo pintado. As pessoas, paradas na berma dos caminhos ou em frente das moradias, aguardavam e viam passar o cortejo num misto de devoção e diversão.
Depois de recolhidas as coroas e o cortejo foi entregue a cada criança um bolinho de massa, oferta da Sra. Inês Chaves e depois foram servidas as sopas tradicionais, a alcatra, massa e arroz doce  a mais de seiscentas pessoas. Alguma da massa foi oferta da família Arruda. A Banda Lira de Fátima tocou vários números tendo o primeiro sido dedicado a Isabel Santos, que, por motivos de doença, não pode acompanhar o esposo, o presidente da Direcção da APM.
A noite foi abrilhantada por João Pimentel que nos proporcionou um ótimo espetáculo musical. Foi feito também o sorteio das rifas, organizado pelo Sr. Albino Felizardo, e cujo lucro reverteu a favor do Recinto de Recreio para as Crianças do Parque.
A Direção da Asssociação Portuguesa de Manitoba, que através dos seus directores e sectores, organizou esta festa, sob a orientação do Vice-Presidente e Directora do Executivo, agradece a todos quantos participaram e às dezenas de voluntários que garantiram o seu sucesso.

Feast of the Holy Spirit in the PAM Park

Formerly the Festivities in honor of the Holy Spirit were celebrated in the spring at the time of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. Today, largely due to the visits of migrants to the islands in the summer season, the Feasts of the Holy Spirit, also known as Impérios, are also held during the summer months. (
Each irmandade (“brotherhood”) is organized around the Império do Divino Espírito Santo, normally a small structure, with a distinct architectural style where the faithful conduct their rituals.)

In Winnipeg the Portuguese-Canadian community holds three separate events celebrating the Feast of the Holy Spirit. The Parish of Immaculate Conception (the Portuguese parish) celebrates the Feast on Pentecost Sunday and the Casa dos Açores celebrating the Feast on Trinity Sunday. The 3rd celebration is organized by the Portuguese Association of Manitoba (aka the “Association”) and is held in the first weekend of September to coincide with the Labour Day Long Weekend (the statutory holiday, Labour Day falls on the 1st Monday of September each year).

The preparations for the Feast begin many weeks prior to the event and  includes the raising of esmolas or pensões (charitable offerings), which this year was under the  able care of Mr. John Couto. But there is much more that needs to be done. This includes preparing the decorations for the celebration site and carts that will participate in the distribution of the pensões; confection of the smocks for the procession; acquisition of the meat, bread, massa (Massa Sovada-Azorean Sweet Bread),  and wine for the pensões ; preparation of meat for Alcatras (Alcatra, is a dish of beef marinated in red wine and garlic and then roasted, that is a tradition of Island of Terceira in the Azores); transportation of the equipment and utensils needed , which was made possible by this year by Mr. João Cunha who made several trips to the park and Mr. António Carvalho who on Friday carried the massas offered by a group of ladies from Island of  Pico; and much more.

The weekend of August 31 to Sept. 2, 2013 was the fourth time that the Association has organized the celebration of the Feast at the organization’s recreational park in Saint Laurent. On Friday, August 30 the Park Committee, under the leadership of Nancy Gonçalves, decorated the Feast site in the traditional Feast colours, red and white, predominating.  Zita Lopes , Ms. Ana Correia, and Mrs. Filomena Mariano aided by a group of volunteers, decorated the area where an enormous crown would be placed with the Crowns of Holy Spirit, and where the  rosary  would be prayed the next day . Meanwhile,  under the leadership of Executive Chef/Director Arminda Domingos and Luis Vicente, Bar Director, another group of  volunteers made the necessary preparations the traditional food and refreshments that are essential part of the celebration​​. Mrs. Lourdes Dias and a group of her volunteers prepared for the sopas (traditional soup of cabbage and beef) and Alcatra that would be served on Sunday.

On Saturday morning, the opening day of the Feast, the park grounds were festively decorated, with an exhibition area featuring  the pensões displayed on tables , carts tastefully decorated by the Correia family and neighbors , and a central round table replete with massas, cheese and other delicacies to be served to the public after the blessing of pensões that would place at ten o'clock in the morning . The Reverend Father André Lico, accompanied by Father Nilo, presided at the blessing of pensões and gave a brief homily.
After the opening gathering, the carts left to go through the streets of the park and distribute the pensões throughout the park residents . The carts were followed by a truck pulling a trailer where the Foliões do Divino—a musicians who sing hymns, accompanied by instruments- performed. It was very pleasing and exciting to see how the residents and audience warmly received the young members of the Juventude Folk Dance Group , under the leadership of Youth Director, Ashley Gata and the brothers Joseph and John Couto, who distributed the pensões from door to door . The distribution of the pensões lasted for over four hours!
While the distribution was taking place there was much still to be done for the events that would follow. In the kitchen building , among the many other tasks , potatoes were being peeled and the sweet rice was being prepared; on stage and in the bandstand area Director Luis Aguiar was preparing the sound system ; in the sports field children played futbol (soccer) ... it was a pleasure to see all this cheerful hustle and bustle that was so Portuguese in nature.
Lunch was served to all volunteers . At six o'clock many gathered to for the praying of the Rosary of the Holy Spirit in front of the coroa/crown , led by Sister Vania. Later in the evening the entertainment  began first with a performance by the Juventude Folk dancers and then followed by our very own  singer –songwriter, Mr. John Pimentel. He delighted us with his compositions and other popular songs from his vast repertoire . He surprised us all with his interpretation of some of the old favourites in collaboration with Mr. José António Andrade .
On Sunday morning the kitchen served breakfast to those who wished to partake and by midday the faithful began to arrive for the Mass that would begin at 2 pm. Two bus-loads  of elders and others arrived from Winnipeg,  which was made possible by the Director of the Social Assistance sector , Mrs. Helena Neto. From the neighbouring Town of Saint Laurent , came several Canadian families to celebrate with us.
The Mass was celebrated by Fr. André Lico and co-celebrants the parish priest of Saint Laurent , Father Michel Nault, and Father Nilo. The first reading was in French , the second gospel in English and Portuguese . Sister Juliana improvised a moving prayer of the faithful. The Banda Lira de Fátima accompanied some of the pieces that choir sang and with some of the other songs having been accompanied by Maria Dias Carreiro on the keyboard and Henrique Braga on guitar.
Following the Mass there was the crowning of the children, all of them dressed as an angel. Moments later, began the cortejo (procession) through the streets of the park. The cross was carried by Mr. Armindo Bráz , followed by the standard of the Association and the flag of the Holy Spirit . The crowns of the Feast were carried by Mrs. Maria José Gonçalves and Mrs. Eduarda Sardinha. They were followed by a group of seven ladies , each proudly representing one  of the seven spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit . They were followed by the  families Chaves, Costa e Labão who carried crowns. The balance of the procession included the Foliões do Divino , the Park Committee , more than twenty angels , the Consul of Portugal and his wife , the President of the Association , the co-celebrant priests, the Lira Fatima Band and, finally , a large number of believers .
Some of the streets were adorned with carpets of flowers or painted  saw-dust. People, lined the side of the roads or stood in front of cottages , waiting for and seeing the procession pass with a mixture of devotion and fun .
At the end of the procession and after the crowns were collected, each child was given a small massa cake (sweet bread) generously provided by of Mrs. Agnes Keys. This was followed by the communal dinner where over six hundred people feasted on the traditional sopas , alcatra, massa, and rice pudding. Some of the massa was a gift from  the Arruda family. The Lira de Fátima Band entertained the crowd  and played several numbers the first being dedicated to MRS. Isabel Santos , who , because of illness , could not accompany her husband, the President of the APM, to the Feast.
The evening was enlivened by the performance by John Pimentel who provided a great musical extravaganza  and the draw for the winner of the fundraising raffle , organized by Mr. Albino Felizardo, and for which the proceeds were to benefit the expansion and development of the children’s play structures and grounds.  
The Feast of was organized by the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Association of  Manitoba , which through its directors and sectors, under the guidance of the Vice-President and Executive Director. The Board wishes to thank who participated and to the dozens of volunteers who ensured its success.
For Further information on the Feast of The Holy Spirit See:
·        The Importance of the Holy Ghost Festival for Azorean-Americans by University of Toronto student, Jennifer Nason




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