She was conceived without original sin; she was a woman of incomparable purity and she received the most precious graces God ever gave a human creature. Her birth represents the entrance into the world of a new grace, a new blessing, and the end of the age of darkness. The Nativity of Mother Mary celebrates not only the birthday of the mother of Jesus Christ but also venerates our lady with a recitation of prayers, devotions and blessings. Monthi Fest, a unique Mangalorean tradition, the feast of the new harvest coincides with the birthday of our Lady. Kernels of rice from the new crop are blessed and prayed over in gratitude for a successful yield. Fruits, vegetables and flowers are offered first in church, and an assortment of odd numbered vegetable dishes are prepared and served in catholic homes.
The Mangalorean Association of Canada celebrated the Nativity and the harvest festival with devotion, pride and splendour in the midst of 450 Catholics on September 9, 2007 at Christ the King Church, Mississauga. Young and older angelic children, dressed in their finery, placed flowers in honour of Mother Mary to the accompaniment of ‘Sokkad Sangatha Melyan” and “Moriyek Hogolsiyan”. With the blessing of the sheaves of grain, the congregation walked eagerly in a procession to the church for a Konkani mass.
The church reverberated to the sounds of the Konkani choir led by Merlyn Rodrigues. From the subdued anticipation of the faithful Catholics gathered for mass to the solemn assemblage of His Most Rev. Dr. Gerald John Mathias, Bishop of Shimla-Chandigarh, Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Fr. Henry Alva and Fr. Henry Menezes; to the powerful, soul-stirring homily preached by Fr. Henry Alva, people participated in the excitement of reminiscing traditions, the taste of sugarcane and customs from back home. The cultural program commenced in the church hall with a light snack and an introductory speech by Gerry D’Mello, emcee for the evening. Mr. Maxim D’Mello, President of MAC, welcomed the guests and in a special tribute remembered the contributions of a valued MAC member, Mr. Vasant Salian, who is no longer with us. He also requested special prayers for Mr. Herbert Lobo, who is sick but worked diligently to promote the Monthi Fest celebrations.
The highlights of the evening - the songs, dances and instrumental ensemble by children, youngsters and adults captivated the audience and the tremendous effort and hard work of the participants were applauded. . His Most Rev. Dr. Gerald John Mathias, Bishop of Shimla-Chandigarh made a heart wrenching appeal on behalf of his missions and his work in the diocese. He made a special announcement to the guests regarding ongoing donations towards his mission work and those interested in contributing could send remit/credit to Shimla-Chandigarh Diocesan Society, SB Acct. 3354, Indian Overseas Bank, Sector 7 C, Chandigarh, India or to contact Fr. Edwin D’Souza in Canada at 905 238 6886. The proceeds from the raffle collection amounting to $1270 were presented to the Bishop in appreciation of his work among his far flung flock of faithful Catholics. Janet D’Souza, General Secretary of MAC, in her Vote of Thanks commended the work of all who participated and contributed their energies, time and talent.
Sponsors work hand in hand with MAC to sustain its many endeavours and activities. The sponsors gave out of the generosity of their hearts and MAC is indebted to them. The sponsors of Monthi Fest were:
Frank Serrao of Dixie Toyota – email@example.com
Ronald Mathias, Remax Realty Specialist – www.ronaldmathias.com
Ravi Fernandes of Trinity Auto Centre – 416 918 4760
Maxim Mendes, Broker, Remax Realty Specialists Inc. - www.maxmendesgroup.com
Maxim D’Mello, D’Costa Financial Group – firstname.lastname@example.org
Flavian Pinto, Retirement Planning Consultant, Sun Life Financial.
The program was printed and sponsored by Joseph Lobo, Inprint Copy & Signs – email@example.com
Aloysius D’Souza of Konkan Delite (www.konkandelite.com) catered a traditional yet sumptuous all vegetarian meal with the highlight being the “Pathravade” and the much awaited and appreciated “Vorn”. Joyson D’Souza, Sean Pereira, Bricio Ferrao, Joshua Desa and Darryl D’Souza with the band, Casual Encounter contributed immensely to the success of the event with their wonderful and toe-tapping traditional and contemporary music. MAC appreciates the participation and help of all the volunteers and the dedication and commitment of its members who ensured the astounding success of the Monthi Fest.