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Friday, February 3, 2012

U.P.S.E.S. Chapel Restoration Committe - José M. L. Alves

In the mid 1980's I served on the board of the U.P.S.E.S. Hall, San Diego, and was the chairman of the Chapel Restoration Committee.
Recently, I ran across the outline for the restoration, that included the members of the committe. Most of the objects were met and some are still kept.
In the following Christmas after the restoration, a "Presépio", "Lapinha" (nativity scene"), was built and opened to the public in the Chapel. The nativity scene was built by Francisco Gonçalves and myself, and contained many figurines that had been part of Mary Moniz's nativity scene, that she had built for may years in her home. It also contained more than 5,000 lights and was also the first time that the Chapel was illuminated in the outside. This tradition was maintained for several years, and in its later years was coordinated by Manuel Domingos.
The ladies that maintained the chapel open during the Christmas season were, Deutilde Varley, Helen Labruzzi, Virgina Correia, Phyllis Rose, Estela Pimental, and others that I do not recall.
Many visitors came to visit from mid December to King's Day on January 6. Many members of the Portuguese Community, brought their children and grandchildren to experience a tradition that was done in many homes in Point Loma, and had been lost. Unfortunately, this tradition was discontinued.
The was tradition started, while I was president and after the Portuguese Historical Center was moved to the U.P.S.E.S. Hall, for it had been started while the PHC was at the Upshur Street address. Most of the figures, that became part of the nativity scene at the Chapel, were the one's that were originally displayed at the PHC's "Presépio".
Today, the Chapel continues to be maintained, and is the focal point of the Festa do Espírito.

Chapel Restoration Committee


Jose Alves – Chair
Ed Brown
Phyllis Rose
Virginia Correia
Arnold Neves
Estela Pimentel
Joseph Silva
George Simas
Claire Alves


1. To bring Chapel to original historical condition
2. To create a descriptive plaque highlighting the history of the Chapel.
3. To create a descriptive historical brochure.
4. Maintain chapel open during Festa.
5. Control flow of donated bread to be sold or auctioned.


1. Repair water leaks and damage
2. Bring in electrical to meet the needs of Chapel usage
3. Repair ceiling
4. Repair stained glass cupolas

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