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.
Portuguese immigrants brought their heritage and traditions.
Gold and God -- Hawkinsville.
Many Portuguese immigrants brought with them to America deep feelings of love and devotion to Our Lady of Fátima.
Artesia gets its name from its water supply -- artesian wells
Fr. Vicente knew in 1917 that he wanted to go to America to serve God through his Portuguese people.
Groups of Portuguese left the role of Central Valley laborer for the dream of having their own farm in Artesia.
The Portuguese fraternal organizations were at the forefront of raising money for the building effort.
The burgeoning parish outgrew the original Holy Family Catholic Church.
Our Lady of Fátima Church in Laton became a national shrine in 1964.
The Catholic history of Tulare dates to June 5, 1873, when Father Cornelius Scannell baptized a daughter of Frank Freitas.
By the late 1890s, many Portuguese from the Azores began to settle in the Riverdale area.
St. Brigid was one of the most important churches for the Portuguese in the Hanford area.
The Portuguese began arriving in the Tipton area in the 1890s and began organizing fraternal councils by 1913.
St. Mary's was the Mother Church of the Central San Joaquin Valley.
The miracle at Fátima reverberated throughout the world.
Henry Miller and Simon Newman made life on the West Side possible.
From mission church to parish in just four years.
Bulldozed into history in 1993.
The second Holy Ghost Church was renamed Our Lady of Miracles in 1986.
The first Sacred Heart Church was dedicated in the year Our Lady appeared in Fátima.
At the turn of the 20th century, Stevinson was an important population center in Merced County.
The history of Holy Rosary is intimately tied to that of St. Mary’s in Stevinson.
The third St. Joseph Church stands on Center Avenue near the Catholic Cemetery.
Volta was the location of a strategic Southern Pacific Railway depot.
Building lives and livelihoods from the most difficult of circumstances.
The first Mass in Livingston was celebrated at the Portuguese Pentecost Hall on Sunday, August 5, 1928.
After the Gold Rush, many unsuccessful Portuguese miners turned to sheep herding.
Charles Crocker brought opportunities with water and the railroad.
Prior to organizing to build the new church, religious services were held in the Portuguese I.D.E.S. Hall.
The life of a church begins, not ends, with the completion of construction.
By its centennial, Immaculate Conception was still flourishing.
José Machado was a pioneer who helped start California shore whaling at Monterey Bay in 1854.
Mass was celebrated in an abandoned warehouse for years.
The Portuguese community began having growing pains.
Father Forrestal served for twenty-six years and fostered the religious growth of his congregation.
Turlock was an early destination for immigrants.
The magnificent 1912/28 church stood for six decades serving the Portuguese immigrants in Turlock.
Born of a community's faith and determination.
The Catholic Church began instituting major reforms after the Second Vatican Council.
Portuguese immigrant youth yearned for places of belonging and meaning.
1972 saw a rift in the Portuguese Catholic community of Turlock.
Something new and inspiring.
A crisis in leadership leads to a future pastor.
The parish had long outgrown its tiny church by 1992.
Parish programs and activities continue to grow in the new millennium.
With God, all things are possible.
José Fontes' "papéis" paved the way for his daughter and grandchildren to emigrate.
Oakland, the terminus of the new transcontinental railroad, exploded in population between 1868 and 1880.
Caring for the young and poor children of the industrial revolution.
San Leandro was founded as a Spanish land grant in 1842.
Founded in 1864, shortly after San Leandro became a city.
Pastors served the Portuguese with the assistance of Portuguese-speaking assistants.
Vatican II had profound repercussions in immigrant communities.
A new church serving the Portuguese of Jingletown.
Established at the village called Oroyson in 1797.
Birth of Holy Spirit Church in Fremont.
Building the new church was a parish effort.
Initially a mission of St. Leander's Church.
Originally a mission of St. Joseph Church
Established as a Portuguese National Church.
Reverend Baptiste began his ministry to the Portuguese in Hilo, Hawaii.
The “chicken with the golden egg.”
Portuguese immigrants adapted to life on the river.
The Portuguese settlements around Sacramento were well established by the 1880s.
Built a considerable distance back from the levee on flat land.
St. Mary Church is the former Associação do Divino Espírito Santo Hall.
Founded as a Portuguese National Church.
Blessed with wonderful successors to Father Azevedo.
Stemming from a one-time festival fundraiser for a Madeiran monument.
Organizations around the world honor the Miracle of Fátima.
"Miracle" in a small, quiet agricultural community.
Churches sprang up wherever Portuguese immigrants settled in California.
Portuguese were attracted to the fertile land and climate of the Pajaro Valley.
Half Moon Bay was originally known as San Benito and then renamed Spanishtown.
In 1870, Archbishop Alemany blessed the new church building with the name of St. Anthony.
St. John the Baptist Church was built on donated land in 1870.
Dedicated to Queen St. Isabel of Portugal at the request of the Freitas Family.
A church was built and a town sprouted around it.
Holy Ghost Mission is "a unique gem in the Pacific".
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