(5) Five Wounds Church: Appraisal-Community

Bride Walking Down the Aisle at Five Wounds. Courtesy of Danny Photo Studio

It is perhaps best to begin an appraisal of the Site and its residents by recognizing the regional connections within which it is situated. There are four levels of community that involve the church and the targeted audience.  The four levels are local, regional, national, and international. To begin with the smallest, Little Portugal surrounds Five Wounds Church in San Jose. This defines the site proper, and as such, is the focus of the Plan. Examples of local area links are the Portuguese newspaper and the local bulletins used to convey local activities and ordinances. These particular media examples provide a channel through which the community may become aware of local activities as well as current situations involving Five Wounds.

A step up from the local, the regional level includes the city of San Jose and the county of Santa Clara. Increased recognition of the Site will create an opportunity to collaborate and engage with many different neighborhoods and audiences, exposing them to the rich heritage of the Portuguese. At the local level, a desire to sustain the Portuguese culture is warranted; at the region and larger links, awareness and appreciation of the culture from multiple perspectives and ethnic backgrounds is wanted.

Specifically, the national and international links can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection these days. What used to mandate a long voyage across the Atlantic now only takes a click of a button. People involved at the national and international levels of the community appraisal would hardly invest in such a trip anymore; the Internet provides a more cost effective and safer experience of Five Wounds, but not with the current web access offered by the church. A connection to the Site is available be anyone from anywhere with Internet access, internationally or otherwise.

Over the years, as is the case with the Portuguese youth, a fusion of Western and traditional Portuguese culture has birthed a cultural perspective unique to Portuguese American heritage.  For instance, the local sport clubs provide a unique atmosphere that houses both Portuguese and Portuguese-American guests sharing food, wine, and laughs. Such a club is ideal to observe the people of Little Portugal closely precisely because the business structure of the club refuses to bend to the requests of traditional Americans (e.g. serving only traditional Portuguese food) and remains focused on Portuguese authenticity.

Back at the church, we find a healthy rhythm of weddings and baptisms scheduled. Aesthetically, the church has not lost its beauty over the years and needs little restoration support. There are no major ecological issues that need to be addressed immediately apart from the daily maintenance of the local ecology already outlined. There are little to no environmental risks besides the church being located rather close to the California 101 highway. Although the fumes and especially the noise which emit from the high traffic of highways can be taken as deterrents to the tourism of the Site, having the highway so close to the church keeps potential visitors from taking complicated directions and decreases the potential of getting lost or frustrated. Getting off the highway, Five Wounds is a two-minute drive.

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About Five Wounds Church

University of California, Berkeley Anthropology Department

Posted on May 13, 2011, in Anthro136k-spring2011-UC-Berkeley, Anthro136kSp11, Five-Wounds-Church-San-Jose, Microhistories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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