CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Helen Santos of the Holy Ghost Church prepares sausage for Portuguese bean soup. The church will be celebrating its 115th Feast of the Holy Ghost tomorrow with food, music and a procession to and from the Blessed Sacrament Church.
Portuguese festival honors holy day
The Holy Ghost Festival will feature a religious procession
The annual Holy Ghost Festival tomorrow will bring a uniquely Portuguese flavor to a Christian holy day.
The festival has been observed for 115 years by the Brotherhood of the Holy Ghost of the Holy Trinity, better known as the Punchbowl Holy Ghost Society, whose headquarters is a small chapel at 1774 Puowaina Drive.
A procession will leave the chapel at 8:30 a.m. heading for Blessed Sacrament Church, 2124 Pauoa Road, where a 9 a.m. Mass will be said. Society members will carry decorated statues of Jesus; his mother, Mary; and other saints in the solemn march on Puowaina Drive, San Antonio Street, Lusitana Street and Pauoa Road. Organizers said the public is welcome to join the procession and attend the service.
Catholic Bishop Larry Silva, a descendant of immigrants from the Azores, will preside at the Mass. Afterward, celebrants will return to the hillside chapel where food booths will be open and a fundraising auction will be held. It is open to the public.
The Holy Ghost feast is celebrated in Portuguese communities around the world. It is based on Pentecost -- observed in Catholic and Protestant churches last Sunday -- which celebrates the beginning of the Christian church. In the Bible story, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus' apostles in the form of tongues of fire, filling them with the inspiration to carry on with his teaching.
Queen Isabel of Portugal set off this particular devotion to the Holy Spirit in the 14th century. She vowed to give her jeweled crown to the Church of the Holy Ghost in Lisbon if God would end the drought that led to thousands of deaths from famine and disease. Her prayers were answered, and she not only donated the crown, but hosted a feast for the poor every year of her reign. Isabel, also called Elizabeth, was canonized a Catholic saint because of her work as a peacemaker between her country and its enemies, and for devotion to the poor.
For society members the celebration begins on the Sunday after Easter and continues for seven "domingas," or Sundays. Tomorrow, member families will bid for the honor of sponsoring a dominga next year. Each sponsor will lead the devotions to a saint and provide refreshments for society members for each week.
Gabriela Ledward, a Nanakuli High School freshman, will be crowned queen at the festivities tomorrow, a tradition that remembers the Portuguese monarch who started it all more than 600 years ago.