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May 10, 2011 > A cup of tea and history

A cup of tea and history

By Mauricio Segura

The year 1866 saw Andrew Johnson serving as successor to the mourned Abraham Lincoln; future president Ulysses S. Grant became the first ever Lieutenant General (now known as a five-star general), the highest rank in the U.S. Army. Congress approved the minting of the five-cent coin and Jesse James was the most wanted outlaw throughout the Wild West.

That same year, the city of Milpitas was just a single road farming community with roughly 638 residents. However, with the emergence of the Western Pacific Railroad the town went through a major economic boost.

A mission was built on Main Street, the site now occupied by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. The mission was established to serve local farmers and Indians but mostly the larger population of Portuguese immigrants who migrated from the Azores Islands. It became a parish in 1877 with the original church building facing Main Street until it burned down in 1900. A second building was erected on the same site and thrived for over 60 years. Today, the main complex includes a K-8 school, rectory, church, imperio, bell tower and hall, and a Catholic Education Center.

Rich with 145 years of history, the St. John's Ladies Guild will be hosting a fundraiser Remembrance Tea Celebration on May 14. In addition to tea and refreshments, a walk-through historical artifact exhibit and lecture by St. John the Baptist Parish Historian Stan Horyza will serve as the afternoon's main feature. A raffle and other entertainment will also be available.

All proceeds from this event will go to the youth and young adults of St. John's Parish to support their Mission Madrid fundraising efforts. Sixteen members will be traveling this August first to Rome, then on to Madrid to hear Pope Benedict XVI speak at World Youth Day festivities. Begun by Pope John Paul II in 1985, the week-long event is held every two to three years in different international locations promoting unity for both Catholic and non-Catholic youth alike. The sixteen participants will be present as servers during the Remembrance Tea for people to meet and speak with about the trip.

Tickets will be $25 at the door on the day of the event, but discounted tickets (adults $20, students and seniors over 60 $15) can be reserved by calling Peggy Horyza at (408) 263-8779 or by e-mail at

Those unable to attend the event who would like to make a donation for the youth trip may do so by sending checks payable to St. John's Parish to: Madrid Team c/o St. John's, 279 So. Main Street Milpitas, CA 95035.

St. John the Baptist Parish Remembrance Tea Celebration
Saturday, May 14
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. (archive exhibition begins at noon)
St. John's Pavalkis Hall
279 So. Main Street, Milpitas
(408) 263-8779
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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