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Events : MAC celebrates Monthi Fest 2013 with devotion and splendor
on 2013/9/13 23:50:00 (1809 reads)

Pics by: Jerson Marques

“Monthi Fest” or the Nativity of our Lady elicits a magical effect on the psyche of the Konkani Catholics around the globe. It evokes a flood of fond nostalgic memories in their minds of sugarcane, sticky candy, borrowing flowers from the neighborhood, delicious meals from freshly harvested vegetables and so on. Through the years many lovely customs and folk traditions have evolved around this feast such as the blessing of the new corn, showering of flowers to Infant Mary, consuming the grains of the new harvest in a cup of milk or sweet “Vorn”, and eating a variety of vegetarian dishes at the festive meal. This heartwarming harvest feast celebrates and culminates the hard work of the Konkan farmers with to the birthday of dear Mother Mary.

The Mangalorean Association of Canada (MAC) which comprises of the Konkani Catholic community of Greater Toronto celebrated the “Monthi Fest” on Sunday, 8th September 2013 with devotion and splendor at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Mississauga. Parents and children assembled in the evening at Pope John Paul II hall to honor the Infant Mary. The program commenced with a welcome note by Gerry D’Mello who assumed the leadership for the processional arrangements. A solemn procession of tiny tots and little children carrying plates of flowers entered the hall and they eagerly placed flowers in honor of Mother Mary to the great tune of “sokkod sangatha mellyam” and “Moriyek Hogolsiyan”. Lancy John Rodrigues, the Spiritual Coordinator of MAC led the novena prayers. Rev. Fr. Richie Vaz, SVD, a visiting priest from the U.S. conducted the ceremony of blessing the “Bambino” (the statue of Infant Mary), new sheaves of grain and the Rosaries. The community gathered there were thrilled to see this display of enthusiasm and devotion not only from the adults but from the children as well.

The High Mass in Konkani concelebrated at St. Maximilian Kolbe church in the presence of Mangalore born Arch-Bishop Emeritus Rt. Rev. Dr. Lawrence Saldanha from Karachi, Pakistan. The church reverberated with the voices of the faithful and the magnificence and significance of the feast was evident in the huge crowd gathered. Rev. Fr. Edwin D’Souza, the spiritual director of MAC was the main celebrant of the Mass. The co-celebrants were Fr. Henry Alva, Fr. Andrew Lewis, Fr. Richie Vaz and Rev. Eric Rodrigues. The altar decorations, the altar servers and the festive ambience of the church were really soul-elevating and added to the solemnity of the event. The walls of the church resonated with the mellifluous singing of the Konkani choir conducted by Merlyn Rodrigues. The homily delivered by Rev.Fr. Henry Alva, the Vicar Provincial for Capuchins in Central Canada, was very enlightening and thought provoking. Overall, the whole atmosphere was so devotional and captivating that the congregation felt that they were attending a Eucharistic celebration back home in their native towns and villages.

After the Mass there was the distribution of the blessed grain and rosaries to all the families of the Eucharistic celebration. The children received chocolate treats in lieu of the traditional sugarcane.

The cultural program commenced at Pope John Paul II hall with a light snack and a hearty welcome was extended to an overwhelmingly full hall by the emcee, Manohar Pais. With his charming and inimitable style, Manohar built a rapport with the audience. Ronald Fernandes, the dynamic President of MAC, welcomed the audience to the celebration of the Monthi Fest and the cultural program. He highlighted the accomplishments of MAC and thanked the clergy, sponsors, volunteers and guests for their time, selfless sacrifices, time and energy. Seneca Rego, a budding Bharat Natyam artiste in Canada, gave an awe-inspiring Indian dance performance. Generous sponsors were honored by Arch-Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Lawrence Saldanha with the gift of blessed candles which was followed by a Konkani group song “Monthi Fest”. This song was composed by Apolinaris D’Souza and was sung by 25 little children and youth in four different voices. This outstanding performance was the result of the initiative and leadership undertaken by Sonia D’Souza-Monteiro who trained and mentored the youngsters.

The highlight of the program was a Konkani skit “Amchea Morie Mayechi Pathenni” (Our Blessed Virgin Mary’s Faith) magnificently written and ably directed by Manohar Pais. This skit was particularly relevant as we celebrate the Year of Faith and it brought to mind the steadfast devotion and confidence we have in the power of our Mother Mary. The actors set the stage on fire with their natural acting talents, their fervor and their ability to breathe life into their roles. So poignant and realistic was their performance that every member of the audience felt touched by the special grace and faith of our Lady. Each actor is to be commended for their unique accomplishment as the skit was a resounding success and appreciated by all. A traditional dance choreographed by Lydia Rebello was a highlight of the event that truly enthralled the audience and captivated their imaginations. Celebrated comedians of Santhu-Monthu fame, Santosh D’Souza and Rony Monteiro accompanied by Juliet D’Souza, Nina Crasta and Lucy D’Mello enthralled the spectators with their rib-tickling jokes.

As part of the MAC mandate to promote and encourage youth in the field of education, the UAE Exchange Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Janice D’Souza by Gurpreet Singh Bedi of UAE Exchange. The $250 in scholarship money was awarded to Venessa D’Souza by Mary and Reginald Fernandes, the sponsors of this scholarship award. The scholarship award ceremony was led by Reynold Sequeira. Another critical mandate of MAC is to support meaningful charities throughout the world and this year, a decision was made to help the SISTERS OF ST. CHARLES BORROMEO in Tanzania. The nuns run a school for the underprivileged children and encounter many challenges such as lack of a proper and large school facility, clean drinking water and transportation. The proceeds from the raffle will be sent to this worthwhile cause and we hope this small contribution makes a difference in the lives of the children.

Konkan Delite catered a traditional all-vegetarian meal with the highlight of the meal being the delicious “Pothrade” and the traditional dessert, ‘Vorn’. The guests commended the quality and taste of the authentic meal. Raffle prizes were announced and the evening ended with a Konkani song and Laudathe by the youth of the community. Rudi D’Souza of Bluelite Audio did a splendid job of coordinating the audio visual requirements of the event while Leon Lobo is to be commended for organizing an outstanding presentation in appreciation of sponsors, the clergy and including key points of the events. Jerome Cardoza, the Cultural Coordinator ensured that the program ran smoothly and was seamless. A BIG salute to all the members and the volunteers who worked diligently and tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a tremendously successful Monthi Fest!

Here is the online photo album:

Best Wishes,

Mangalorean Association of Canada
Membership form:

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