A Small Miracle: International Film Crew Meets Portuguese Festa in Point Loma

by on May 30, 2023 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

By Colleen O’Connor

Want some positive news with a great cast of characters?

It was all there in full, glorious color Sunday, May 29, with wonderful moments, and two distinct cultures sharing the sights and sounds of Point Loma’s Festa De Spiritus Sanctus and on full display during the parade route on Avenida del Portugal to St. Agnes Church in Point Loma

A 700-year old tradition that commemorates Portugal’s Queen St. Isable, who (during a famine) promised the Holy Spirit to give her crown to the Church, “if sent a miracle, so my people will be relieved of their hunger.”

That miracle arrived, via ships sailing into the harbor, loaded with wheat and corn. Thus, began the celebrated Festa do Espírito Santo (Feast of the Holy Spirit) with thanks and prayers to the Holy Spirit for interceding in times of danger or calamity.

Timely this year, with something of a small miracle added.

Taking center stage at Sunday’s celebration were hundreds of onlookers, lots of press and a film crew from Kuangchi Production Service, Taipei, Taiwan.

Names Right to Left.  Barry Martinson, S.J., Danny Cheng, Alex Shyh, Ginny Chang, David Chen, Jay Chou.

The Taiwan team was led by Fr. Barry Martinson, S.J., San Diego-born and educated at St. Vincent’s grammar school in Mission Hills and St. Augustine High in North Park. My grammar school classmate).

Now, and for the last several decades, Father Barry, has worked and ministered to his flock working in a mountain village called Chingchuan, located in the mountains of northern Taiwan, populated by the indigenous Atayal tribe.

Currently, he and his colleagues are producing a video documentary about his brothers’ work and life (also a Jesuit) in Taiwan.

For several of the six-member group this was their first visit to America and they shared these enthusiastic first impressions of the Festa.

For Father Martinson (an accomplished artist himself), the vibrant colors and big, beautiful dresses with elaborate trains and embroidery, plus the band music impressed him. As he translated for the other members, here are their thoughts, all delivered with a kind of joy on their faces.  Unforgettable.

For Joy Chou, the team’s writer and producer, it came as a surprise to see the emphasis on the environment; the Portuguese fishermen, and something she had never appreciated before; the statue of the Blessed Mother Mary as an international figure.

David Chen, the team cameraman, was most moved by the children, “the young people standing on the floats, those just dressed in white, and waving as if welcoming him.”

Ginny Chang was enthused by two optics; the families and the stunning princesses.  “All dressed so beautifully with makeup and perfect hair.”  Even more so, she was moved by how the families “stayed near their children to protect and encourage them” along their parade route.

Alex Shyh, the grandfather in the ensemble, was also fascinated by the colors of the gowns, the handstitched capes.  Each grouping so different in color and styles.  Elegant. He said, “just waiting for the next group to appear was so exciting.” But, he “couldn’t understand the band’s brown mascot.”

Danny Cheng, the videographer, “loved the marching bands, the folk dancers, and the beauty of such unique dresses.”  In fact, the loved the whole parade.  He filmed and edited it all.  Music included.

And as a gift, for those unable to see the parade, he has sent a link to be attached soon. A thank you gift from the generous Taiwan visitors to those unable to attend the Festa in person.

Another small miracle.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gravitas May 31, 2023 at 1:51 pm

Great video in Part II and nice photo of Queen Eva Rosa and her court 2023.


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