Portuguese American Journal

Feast & Faith | Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres returns – Azores

The religious celebrations of the 2024 Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, [The Holy Feast of Christ of the Miracles] will be held on the weekend of May 3-9, in Ponta Delgada city, in São Miguel, Azores.

Established nearly 400 years ago, the tradition has been held since the 16th century following a severe seismic chain of events on the archipelago.

The largest religious festivity in the region, the feast is also recognized as the second-largest religious event in Portugal, after the religious celebrations in Fatima.

Beginning this year, a Mass in English will take place on Sundays at 8:00 am local time at St. Joseph’s Church. Father Larry Machado, of Azorean descent, and serving as the pastor of the Portuguese parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Turlock, California, will preside over the Mass.

Of Azorean heritage, the Bishop of Stockton, California, D. Myron Cotta, will oversee the religious ceremonies. He is the son of emigrants from the Parish of Cinco Ribeiras, Terceira island.

D. Myron Cotta, Bishop of Stockton, CA

Born in 1953 in Dos Palos, Merced County, D. Myron Cotta was appointed auxiliary bishop of Sacramento in 2014, where he served for over three years before assuming his current role. His diocese encompasses San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mono, and Alpine counties, with a Catholic population exceeding 300,000.

D. Myron Cotta completed his studies at Saint John Seminary, Camarillo, in 1987, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Fresno on September 12 of that year. He served as vicar in Atwater from 1987 to 1989, then as administrator of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima in Laton until 1992.

From 1992 to 1999, Bishop Cotta served as parish priest at the Church of Our Lady of Miracles in Gustine. Under his guidance, the church was elevated to Sanctuary status in 2008. 

This year’s full calendar of celebrations will fall between Friday (the 3rd) and Thursday (the 9th) to include the religious ceremonies and the traditional secular festivities.

The events attract thousands of pilgrims from all over the world to São Miguel island, one of the nine islands of the Azores archipelago. Most pilgrims come from the many communities of Azoreans abroad, namely from the United States of America and Canada.

The venerated image of ‘Christ of the Miracles’ will be on display outside the Church Sanctuary on Saturday night (May 3th), and on Sunday (May 5th), following the traditional procession, which will parade through the main streets of Ponta Delgada city on Sunday.

For the celebration, the streets of Ponta Delgada will be covered with carpets of flowers. The festival includes religious services, music, food, entertainment, and cultural events.

Celebrated each year on the fifth Sunday after Easter, the festivities highlight the veneration of the Holy Image of Lord Jesus, by the people of the Azores, represented by an artistic wooden carved image of the Passion of Christ, carried through the streets by the faithful. The image is worshiped yearlong in the Chapel of the Convent of Our Lady of Hope in Ponta Delgada.

 Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres  is a time of great devotion for the people of the Azores, many of whom consider this celebration the most important religious event of the year and a relevant part of the cultural heritage of the Azores

Watch live (in Portuguese) on RTP/A. For updates follow the sequence of events on Facebook.



The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.


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