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Preparing for MRPS celebration of thanks

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Preparing for MRPS celebration of thanks

Father Dante Dammay blessed the Portuguese sweet bread as MRPS President Alyce Machado Luis holds some more of the sweet bread during Friday's blessing of the food at the MRPS Hall.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED June 27, 2009 3:26 a.m.
Volunteers getting ready for the massive crowd that turns out every year for the MRPS festa celebration started preparing the massive pots of beef and cabbage that will be served even before dawn on Friday.

With more than a thousand people expected at the organization’s 90th Holy Ghost celebration, the preparation of massive pots of sopas – the traditional Portuguese serving also referred to as “sopas” – was the focus of volunteers Friday morning as the weekend of events neared closer.

Both the meat and the bread that will be served got their traditional blessing from a Catholic Priest.

“Everything started a week ago on Saturday at mass at St. Anthony’s, and leads up to the events on Sunday,” said MRPS President Alyce Machado Luis. “We’re expecting a big crowd just like we have every year.”

Over the course of the last week, members have been praying the rosary nightly in preparation for the observance of what is believed to be Saint Isabel’s miraculous conversion of bread that she was planning on smuggling to the poor into roses while in her garden in the 13th century.

The rosary praying continued throughout the week and will culminate tonight with a gathering led by a Catholic Priest before Sunday’s official welcoming of the public to the 133 North Grant St. hall where the sopas will be served free to all comers.

Representatives from other Portuguese associations that hold their own respective celebrations from Elk Grove all the way down to Gustine and Visalia are expected to be on hand.
The festa events will kick into overdrive on Sunday at 9 a.m. when the incoming queen is picked up and brought back for what will eventually be a parade procession that will work its way to St. Anthony’s for a 10:45 a.m. mass.

At 1 p.m. nine doves will be released to observe the nine decade existence of the Manteca-Ripon Pentecost Society. Sopas will be served throughout the morning and continue throughout the day. Dancing is expected to begin at 8 p.m. – where the Queen will make her way through the ballroom for those who might not have been in attendance at the earlier events.
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