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For the first time ever, The Romeiros may have to pay to visit Fall River

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For the first time ever, The Romeiros, an Azores tradition dating back to the 16th century, may have to pay to visit Fall River.

Each lent, the group walks through 15 cities and towns, covered in shawls and scarves, carrying wooden staffs and rosaries. The group stops at over 50 churches along the way over days, drawing thousands to watch the group complete the tradition.

The event requires police details to block off streets and officers to ensure the groups travels safely through each community. Fall River has provided this service to The Romeiros for decades with no charge. Last year, according to some members, there were issues with details and permits for the event, which required last minute help from State Representative Carole Fiola. It was at that time where the group was informed that there was no guarantee the city would be able to provide police details in 2024.

Not willing to risk the event being cancelled, organizers took matters into their own hands. Several weeks ago, in partnership with Espirito Santo Church, the group held a fundraiser to raise money to cover the cost of the police details. Bruno Pimental, one of the event organizers and member of The Romeiros, said a take-out dinner fundraiser was held on January 13th and was a tremendous success.

“We had over 1,000 meals sold, and many more people made donations when they came in to pick up their food” said Pimental.

Pimental said that “everything was up in the air” and they wanted to make sure that if the city could not provide the police details for the daylong event, they had the money to pay for it themselves.

Photo: St. Michaels Church Facebook page

“There were rumors that started last year, and we ended up having a problem getting the details last year. We were lucky Carole Fiola stepped in to help but she said she could not make sure we had help this year. So, we decided to raise the money ourselves.”

Pimental said he estimated that the cost of the details, which include six police officers from 6 AM to 6 PM on the day of the event, was between $8000 and $10,000.

Mayor Paul Coogan attended the fundraiser and purchased a meal and made a donation as well. Pimental said he pulled Coogan aside at the event to discuss what, if anything, the city was going to provide to The Romeiros and their longstanding tradition.

“I asked the Mayor if the city was going to help pay for the police and he told me to call his office in February and set up a meeting. He said he would try to figure something out.”

Pimental went on to state that if the city doesn’t provide the police details, he is confident they will be able to pay for the services themselves.

“We make sure of it.”

Pimental said he intends to call Coogan next month and have that conversation. Fall River Reporter spoke with a representative of the Mayor’s office but we did not receive a response before this story was printed.

Primary correspondent for the Greater Fall River area, Jess focuses on human interest stories and investigations into political corruption. She is a former fill-in host and digital contributor at The Howie Carr Show, former host of The Jessica Machado Show and SouthCoast Tonight on WBSM in New Bedford, former blogger at The Herald News and a former fill-in host at WSAR in Fall River.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Dr David

    January 24, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    Meanwhile the City provides free police protection for Drag Pedophiles at the PUBLIC library

    • Big Kraut

      January 24, 2024 at 7:01 pm

      They only provide protection because nazi a******* get all butt hurt and show up. These events are not something that I care for, but I don’t give a f*** that as it doesn’t impact me or anyone else. Kids aren’t kidnapped and taken to these things. It’s their parents choice, like it or not. I can’t see how an event like this impacting you, other than you just like to tell people what to do and not to do.

      • Dr David

        January 26, 2024 at 1:45 pm

        If you think that sexually depraved men dressed as women seeking to sexually titillate themselves by ‘performing’ in front of small children does not impact the community at large .. then you have what is known throughout history as a ‘darkened intellect’ and there is no reasoning with such ‘reasoning’. Collectively, darken intellects destroy cultures, societies and then nations. For example .. Germany in 1939 when Heir Hitler was able to take over an entire nation as a False Idol known as ‘Fuhrer’.
        The real Nazis at the Drag spectacle are the ‘men’ grooming children inside the building not the ‘nazi’ goofballs outside. The other Nazis by default are the gullible fools in the rest of the community that are too intellectually and spiritually dead to see the darkness that taunts and mocks them … just like German citizens in 1939 and the USA in 2024
        The Drag debauchery is a grooming operation and seeks the stamp of ‘State’ approval and that’s why the trans cancer seeks to invade all public spaces, especially the public schools. Take your Drag b.s. to a night club and stay the F out of the public library and schools.

  2. MortisMaximus

    January 24, 2024 at 5:22 pm

    First time since the 16th Century. Fall River should be proud.

  3. Manny

    January 24, 2024 at 6:37 pm

    If you provide such a service for one group, then you would have to provide similar accommodations for all. Why should my taxes go to pay for a ceremony that doesn’t align with my religion?

    If this were a Jewish or Islamic procession I’m sure that people would feel real sore about their taxes paying for the police escor.

    • HuntersCrackPipe

      January 25, 2024 at 8:28 am

      Thats called serving the community. I know it’s hard to fathom basic societal concepts but give it a try.

  4. LimpMikeS

    January 24, 2024 at 7:16 pm

    Should have been paying all along. Show me another group or event that takes up this much space and time that isn’t paying, and if there is one, they should get the same treatment. Looking elsewhere online, that fundraiser sold over 1,000 meals that were priced at $20/each in four hours, plus donations on top of it. These people can afford to pay for the resources they use. If they could raise that money in just a few hours then there is no excuse why they can’t pay every time.

    At the end of the day it is a religious event, if a religious group can’t swim then it has to sink. The Jewish community seems to be going through this, a massive building without the community to finance it, so they’ve chosen to downsize. Obviously the Catholic / Portuguese community is larger and able to support the Romeiros for the foreseeable future, but if that ever changes, then the event must change. The government should not be subsidizing a religious sect directly or through free services that other groups don’t get, or have to rely on a ‘Carole Fiola’ to pull strings for.

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