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The Power of the Spirit

The Power of the Spirit attempts to tell the story of the building of many of the Portuguese churches in California and the people who built them. The churches today stand as sentinels, attesting to the sweat, tears, and sacrifices of the Portuguese communities throughout the state. These people were motivated by a profound sense, deeply ingrained by their history and upbringing, of sustaining a heritage and tradition.

The digitization of this exhibit is a work-in-progress. There are dozens of churches in this exhibit, and each will be made available as its content is digitized.

Click on an article below.

The Power of the Spirit: The Churches

Portuguese immigrants brought their heritage and traditions.

The Power of the Spirit: Hawkinsville Assumption Church

Gold and God -- Hawkinsville.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Family Church (Artesia) -- Fr. Manuel Vicente

Fr. Vicente knew in 1917 that he wanted to go to America to serve God through his Portuguese people.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Family Church (Artesia) -- The Town

Artesia gets its name from its water supply -- artesian wells

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Family Church (Artesia) -- Building the Church

The Portuguese fraternal organizations were at the forefront of raising money for the building effort.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Family Church (Artesia) -- Founders

Groups of Portuguese left the role of Central Valley laborer for the dream of having their own farm in Artesia.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Family Church (Artesia) -- Parish Growth

The burgeoning parish outgrew the original Holy Family Catholic Church.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of Fátima (Laton)

Our Lady of Fátima Church in Laton became a national shrine in 1964.

The Power of the Spirit: Southern San Joaquin Valley -- From Fátima to California

Many Portuguese immigrants brought with them to America deep feelings of love and devotion to Our Lady of Fátima.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Mary's (Visalia)

St. Mary's was the Mother Church of the Central San Joaquin Valley.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Brigid (Hanford)

St. Brigid was one of the most important churches for the Portuguese in the Hanford area.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Aloysius (Tulare)

The Catholic history of Tulare dates to June 5, 1873, when Father Cornelius Scannell baptized a daughter of Frank Freitas.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Ann (Riverdale)

By the late 1890s, many Portuguese from the Azores began to settle in the Riverdale area.

The Power of the Spirit: The Power of a Miracle

The miracle at Fátima reverberated throughout the world.

The Power of the Spirit: St. John the Evangelist (Tipton)

The Portuguese began arriving in the Tipton area in the 1890s and began organizing fraternal councils by 1913.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Joseph (Los Banos)

The third St. Joseph Church stands on Center Avenue near the Catholic Cemetery.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of Loreto (Volta)

Volta was the location of a strategic Southern Pacific Railway depot.

The Power of the Spirit: West Side -- Agricultural Beginnings

Henry Miller and Simon Newman made life on the West Side possible.

The Power of the Spirit: West Side -- Gleaners of the Fields

Building lives and livelihoods from the most difficult of circumstances.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Joachim (Newman)

From mission church to parish in just four years.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Ghost Church (Gustine)

Bulldozed into history in 1993.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Mary's (Stevinson)

At the turn of the 20th century, Stevinson was an important population center in Merced County.

The Power of the Spirit: Sacred Heart Church (Patterson)

The first Sacred Heart Church was dedicated in the year Our Lady appeared in Fátima.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Jude's (Livingston)

The first Mass in Livingston was celebrated at the Portuguese Pentecost Hall on Sunday, August 5, 1928.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Rosary (Hilmar)

The history of Holy Rosary is intimately tied to that of St. Mary’s in Stevinson.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of Miracles (Gustine)

The second Holy Ghost Church was renamed Our Lady of Miracles in 1986.

The Power of the Spirit: Immaculate Conception (Buhach) -- Miners to Shepherds to Farmers

After the Gold Rush, many unsuccessful Portuguese miners turned to sheep herding.

The Power of the Spirit: Immaculate Conception (Buhach) -- Sweet Potato Kings

Charles Crocker brought opportunities with water and the railroad.

The Power of the Spirit: Immaculate Conception (Buhach) -- Building the Church

Prior to organizing to build the new church, religious services were held in the Portuguese I.D.E.S. Hall.

The Power of the Spirit: Immaculate Conception (Buhach) -- Overcoming Crises

The life of a church begins, not ends, with the completion of construction.

The Power of the Spirit: Immaculate Conception (Buhach) -- Centennial

By its centennial, Immaculate Conception was still flourishing.

The Power of the Spirit: Sacred Heart (Turlock) -- Generations of Faith

Turlock was an early destination for immigrants.

The Power of the Spirit: Sacred Heart (Turlock) -- History

The magnificent 1912/28 church stood for six decades serving the Portuguese immigrants in Turlock.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) --Setting the Stage

The Catholic Church began instituting major reforms after the Second Vatican Council.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- Youth as Cornerstone

Portuguese immigrant youth yearned for places of belonging and meaning.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- New and Unforeseen Directions

1972 saw a rift in the Portuguese Catholic community of Turlock.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- History

Born of a community's faith and determination.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- The Cultural Center

Something new and inspiring.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- Tensions, Transitions, and Growth

A crisis in leadership leads to a future pastor.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- The Fontes de Sousa Family

José Fontes' "papéis" paved the way for his daughter and grandchildren to emigrate.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- Stability in Continuity

The parish had long outgrown its tiny church by 1992.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- Into the Third Millennium

Parish programs and activities continue to grow in the new millennium.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Assumption (Turlock) -- Saved in Hope

With God, all things are possible.

The Power of the Spirit: The East Bay -- Little Money, Much Faith

The “chicken with the golden egg.”

The Power of the Spirit: The East Bay -- Cosmopolitan Communities of Immigration and Change

Oakland, the terminus of the new transcontinental railroad, exploded in population between 1868 and 1880.

The Power of the Spirit: The East Bay -- The Salesians

Caring for the young and poor children of the industrial revolution.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Leander's (San Leandro) -- Local History

San Leandro was founded as a Spanish land grant in 1842.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Leander's (San Leandro) -- Early History

Founded in 1864, shortly after San Leandro became a city.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Leander's (San Leandro) -- Entering the 20th Century

Pastors served the Portuguese with the assistance of Portuguese-speaking assistants.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Leander's (San Leandro) -- Post-Vatican II

Vatican II had profound repercussions in immigrant communities.

The Power of the Spirit: Mary Help of Christians (Oakland)

A new church serving the Portuguese of Jingletown.

The Power of the Spirit: Mission San José / St. Joseph Church (Fremont)

Established at the village called Oroyson in 1797.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Spirit (Fremont): Early History

Birth of Holy Spirit Church in Fremont.

The Power of the Spirit: Holy Spirit (Fremont) -- After the Fire

Building the new church was a parish effort.

The Power of the Spirit: All Saints Church (Hayward)

Initially a mission of St. Leander's Church.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Edward (Newark)

Originally a mission of St. Joseph Church

The Power of the Spirit: St. Joseph's (West Oakland)

Established as a Portuguese National Church.

The Power of the Spirit: Portuguese Methodist Episcopal Church (Oakland)

Reverend Baptiste began his ministry to the Portuguese in Hilo, Hawaii.

The Power of the Spirit: Sacramento -- 1800s Portuguese Immigrants

Portuguese immigrants adapted to life on the river.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Joseph Church (Freeport/Clarksburg/Sacramento) -- Early Years

The Portuguese settlements around Sacramento were well established by the 1880s.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Joseph Church (Freeport/Clarksburg/Sacramento) -- The New Church

Built a considerable distance back from the levee on flat land.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Mary (Pocket/Sacramento)

St. Mary Church is the former Associação do Divino Espírito Santo Hall.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Peter's Chapel (Bryte/Sacramento)

Stemming from a one-time festival fundraiser for a Madeiran monument.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Elizabeth (Sacramento) -- Early Years

Founded as a Portuguese National Church.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Elizabeth (Sacramento) -- After Father Azevedo

Blessed with wonderful successors to Father Azevedo.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of Fátima Chapel (Sacramento)

Organizations around the world honor the Miracle of Fátima.

The Power of the Spirit: Mater Ecclesiae Church (Thornton)

"Miracle" in a small, quiet agricultural community.

The Power of the Spirit: South Bay and Coast -- From Missions to a National Church

Churches sprang up wherever Portuguese immigrants settled in California.

The Power of the Spirit: St. Anthony's (Pescadero)

In 1870, Archbishop Alemany blessed the new church building with the name of St. Anthony.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady of the Pillar (Half Moon Bay)

Half Moon Bay was originally known as San Benito and then renamed Spanishtown.

The Power of the Spirit: St. John the Baptist (Milpitas)

St. John the Baptist Church was built on donated land in 1870.

The Power of the Spirit: Our Lady Help of Christians (Watsonville)

Portuguese were attracted to the fertile land and climate of the Pajaro Valley.

The Power of the Spirit: Five Wounds Portuguese National Church (San José)

A church was built and a town sprouted around it.

The Power of the Spirit: Church of Saint Isabella (Terra Linda/San Rafael)

Dedicated to Queen St. Isabel of Portugal at the request of the Freitas Family.

The Power of the Spirit: St Agnes (San Diego) -- From Whaling to Fishing

José Machado was a pioneer who helped start California shore whaling at Monterey Bay in 1854.

The Power of the Spirit: St Agnes (San Diego) -- Building a Church

Mass was celebrated in an abandoned warehouse for years.

The Power of the Spirit: St Agnes (San Diego) -- Needing a Bigger Church

The Portuguese community began having growing pains.

The Power of the Spirit: St Agnes (San Diego) -- Parish Community

Father Forrestal served for twenty-six years and fostered the religious growth of his congregation.

The Power of the Spirit: Hawaii Holy Ghost Mission (Waiakoa, Kula, Maui)

Holy Ghost Mission is "a unique gem in the Pacific".


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