The four candidates for Queen. From Left to Right: Linda de la Cruz, Nieves Marbery, Carmen Montano, and Apolonia Cusi.
At St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milpitas, collaboration serves as the foundation for maintaining a deep sense of community among parishioners.
On April 29, in the midst of a windy Sunday morning, women vying for the title of Queen of the church, worked together to sell various Filipino food items — like empanadas, okoi, turon, and suman — in an effort to raise funds.
“Whoever raises the most money is the queen,” said Carmen Montano, former Milpitas Vice Mayor, and one of four women who are running for Queen. “They have this every year. Individually we sell raffle tickets and dinner tickets to the event. But today, selling the food here, this is a collaborative effort.”
As a child, Montano moved with her family from Newark to Milpitas in 1963. In 1966, Montano’s mother started taking her and her six siblings to St. John’s. “I didn’t make my communion here, but I made my confirmation here in 1969,” said Montano. “When we were kids, we were here all the time. Of course, when we got older, we all went off to explore different churches. But I eventually made my way back here.”
Another woman in the running for Queen, Linda de la Cruz, has been attending St. John Church since 2002. She spoke of the comfort that arises from being part of such a close community that offers support to help each other through any of life’s challenges. “The community here at St. John’s is so nice. They are wonderful. At first, I was scared about running. I’ve never experienced anything like this. But most of my friends are attending this church, and I agreed to do it. I said, ‘I’ll do it for God.’”
A winner will be announced during Coronation Night on Saturday, June 16; this events takes place at the Pavalkis Hall at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, at 279 S. Main Street in Milpitas. Tickets are $35 to get in, and include dinner — and even a talent show, where Queen candidates will perform. Raffle tickets will also be drawn; first place is $500, second place is $300, and third place is $200.
Contact St. John Church at 408-262-2546 to purchase tickets.