Fiesta of faith continues at St. Helen’s

Helena Rodriguez

The four-day fiesta of faith at St. Helen Catholic Church draws to a close today, but not until after another full day of celebration, which will include the crowing of a queen and princess at noon.
Today’s event will also include food and game booths, Christian music and a game of soccer at 1 p.m.
“What has really struck me, is that the more we get together as a community, the more we can express our faith,” said Father Tobin Hitt, pastor of St. Helen’s. “Faith is not just for priests, but the whole community. And what has really been exciting is seeing the queen candidates talk about faith and salvation.”
Four girls, are running for the title of fiesta queen, with the winner to receive a donated Mitsubishi car. Voting for a queen will be held during morning Masses today.
On Saturday morning, Placido Duran won the Father’s Choice Award in the fiesta car show with his classic Chevrolet. There were 17 entries in the car show.
Attendance seemed weak on early Saturday afternoon, but an auction under the tent at 2 p.m. was well-attended, and one person, Paula Soto, walked away with a jacuzzi tub for only $285.
While attendance was low, Antonio Salaz, who manned the menudo booth, said crowds came in surges throughout the day, particularly around lunch time. Church secretary, Elvia Garcia, said early Saturday afternoon, “It usually gets packed after the 5:30 p.m. Mass and after the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday morning.”
“Tonight and tomorrow (Sunday) is when we usually get a good crowd,” Garcia said.
Games included a basketball shoot and cake walk.
One of the princess candidates, Krista Montoya, a cheerleader at Portales High School, had a dance prepared to perform during the talent show for contestants on Saturday night at the fiesta. She said she has enjoyed the experience of running for fiesta princess.
“It’s been a lot of fun, it’s been challenging and exciting,” Montoya said, noting that she held fundraisers for the church, such as bake sales and car washes.
“The experience has brought me closer to God, just being here and knowing I’m doing all of this for God and the church,” she said.
Queen candidates are: Amanda Peña, Rebecca Garcia, Mary Ann Sullivan and Stevanna Villanueva. Princess candidates are Montoya and Adriana Abarca.
Todays fiesta schedule is as follows:
• 8:45 a.m. – Mass and voting for queen and princess candidates
• 10:30 a.m. – Mass and voting for queen and princess candidates
• 11:30 a.m. – Food and game booths open
• Noon – Coronation of queen and princess
• 1 p.m. – Friends of Jesus choir
• 2:30 p.m. – Los Padres music group
• 4 p.m. – Fiesta ends