World's Largest Portuguese Feast - New Bedford Ma
Bem vinda, Bem vinda!!! Welcome!
I welcome you to the 103rd Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, the largest Portuguese Feast in the world; where admission and entertainment are still “free”!
Thank you to our Presenter Partners that help make this possible, and a very special thanks to our festeiros and families for their dedication and hard work, I will try and make you proud!
I am, honored and delighted to be elected as this year’s Feast president. We have an outstanding executive committee, led by my best friend, John Alves as Vice-President, Treasurer Rich Wilkinson, Recording Secretary Dave Gonsalves, and Corresponding Secretary Carl Colangelo. I cannot thank these gentlemen and families enough for their hard work and dedication!
The feast, for me, continues to this day to be about family, friends, music, food and our faith......“tradition”.... As far back as I can remember, music was always at the center of all our family gatherings. I was fortunate to play accordion, side by side with my dad, Tony Duarte, the best mandolin player I ever heard. He passed that on to my brother Ken and my cousin (brother) Dave; you can catch us performing at the Milho Frito stand every feast night. Our family worked the linquica stand as you entered the field, in those days, we actually carried the barraca (Shed) to the spot where we sold the food and drink. If I wasn’t busy carrying statues in our parade, I was playing music with my dad and family, or listening to John’s mother, Maria Alves singing fado’s on stage.
I have the good fortune to not only serve with great festeiros, but with my son Michael, my brother Ken, my cousin Dave and his son Derek, as well as cousin Richie.....I pray to the Blessed Sacrament for good health so that one day he will allow me to serve with my grandsons, Mikey and Ben, both now 4 & 3 respectively. J
Much has changed in 103 years, but let me tell you what has not changed; our commitment to you, and our community!
With the Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento, and you our “guests” we continue to help hundreds of people each year, from over $500, 000 in scholarships, to assistance to many local charities and food banks. From our four founding fathers, including my two great Uncles, Manuel Agrella, and our first President, Manuel Duarte, to me,...
“you” help us help others!!
No matter how hard committees work from year to year, this Feast, all of our Feasts, would not happen without the hard work and dedication of the members of the Clube Madeirense S.S. Santíssimo Sacramento and their families....Thank You!
Our sincerest thanks to the Honorable Mayor Jon Mitchell and the GREAT City of New Bedford, and to Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, and the Sheriff’s Department. And a very special thanks to Steve Martin our local counselor as well as all our elected officals, and staff.... you help make New Bedford GREAT!
I would not be who I am without the women in my life, my grandmothers Louisa and Adelaide, my mother Irene and my godmother Georgie, and my daughter Melissa. My paternal grandmother, Louisa, helped raised me, and I remember as if it was yesterday, her singing to me the Portuguese song, “Ave Maria do meu Coração”, so I could learn it on my accordion, to surprise my dad at the feast. It always has been and will continue to be about, family, friends, music, food and faith.
And finally a very, very special thank you to my wife Madeline, my rock, my best friend, for the support, the love, the guidance and most of all the “smiles”.....I love you!
May God bless all of you and the 103rd Feast of the Blessed Sacrament!
Deus te abençoê!
Steven B. Duarte
President of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament 2017