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MRPS tradition: Feeding the people
MRPS one
Father Dante Dammey of St. Anthonys Catholic Church blesses the ingredients that will make up thousands of pounds of sopas Friday afternoon at the MRPS Hall in preparation of the 98th annual MRPS Festa on Sunday, June 25. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

At the end of the day, its all about faith.
On Sunday, the Manteca Ripon Pentecost Society will open the doors to its Manteca hall and welcome in anybody looking for food or fellowship for the 98th time continuing a tradition that has unified a community and paid tribute to a Catholic miracle in Portugal for almost a century.
While the sopas are the main attraction beef simmered in spices and cabbage and served up with homemade bread the message behind the free community meal has everything to in keeping with the spirit of the woman who sacrificed her own safety in order to make sure that the less fortunate had something to eat.
This is an event thats about the tradition of feeding the people who couldnt feed themselves, said MRPS President Richard Machado Jr. It also about tradition a tradition that the hall in Manteca has kept alive for 98 years and running.
According to the legend, King Denis of Portugal, when he became suspicious that his wife was sneaking bread out to feed the poor, asked her about her activities.
When she told him that she was taking roses to the altars to decorate the monastery which was unlikely because it was in the middle of winter   he accused her of lying and ordered her to open up her robe. When she did all of the bread that she was carrying beneath fell to the floor as roses, leading him to beg for forgiveness in what would become the Miracle of the Roses.
Pulling off a massive feast also takes planning and a whole lot of volunteers.
On Friday morning, more than 2,000 pounds of beef got delivered to be cut up and dropped into special pots that are only used for the annual festa. In addition to beef, thousands of pounds of cabbage were also on hand to fill the pots that will simmer through Sunday complete with carrots, spices and other vegetables when the community at large is welcome to come down and partake in a meal regardless of their faith or their heritage.
The tradition of this is all based on faith, said Past President and Hall Director Frank Souza. Its a big celebration for the entire community, but its rooted in faith as well as the local community who makes sure that this is a tradition that continues.
The Festa, which will take place at the MRPS Hall, located at 133 N. Grant Street, begins with a Catholic rosary on Saturday (tonight) at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday morning, at about 9:15 a.m. a procession will start marching from the MRPS Hall to the FESM Hall to pick up the Queens before moving on to St. Anthonys Catholic Church for a 10:30 a.m. mass. After the conclusion of the mass, where the queens will be presented, the processional makes its way back to the hall. Feeding will begin shortly after noon.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.