The birth of our Blessed Mother, the mother of Jesus Christ and the hope of our salvation has a tremendous importance in our lives. Her nativity represents hope, infinite blessings and a time of celebration for us, her devotees. September 8th also marks an important phase in the lives of the farmers as the first harvest is blessed in churches in thanksgiving to God for ensuring a plentiful yield. This is a custom that is unique to Mangalore, a celebration that evokes nostalgia in adults and enthusiasm in children. Parishes distribute the blessed new corn which is added to milk to drink before a festive vegetarian meal symbolizing the new harvest.
The Mangalorean Association of Canada (MAC) celebrated Monthi Fest with devotion and splendor in the midst of 350 devoted Catholics on September 11, 2011 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. Children eagerly placed flowers in honor of Mother Mary to the accompaniment of”Sokkad Sangatha Melyan” and “Moriyek Hogolsiyan”. Gerry D’Mello, a staunch supporter of MAC led the prayers, novena and assumed the leadership for the processional arrangements. The Konkani mass was led by Rev. Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rev. Fr. Rudolph Pinto, Rev. Fr. Henry Alva, Rev. Fr. Andrew Lewis, and Rev. Fr. Kim D’Souza. The walls of the church resounded with the mellifluous sounds of the choir charming the congregation with the selection of Konkani hymns. The choir was led by Merlyn Rodrigues. MAC was deeply honored and privileged to welcome the Most Rev. William McGrattan, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Toronto responsible for the Central region and for the ethnic communities. His Lordship participated in the Eucharistic celebration as well as the cultural program that followed the religious ceremonies. Sr. Ferdinand lent her unstinting support and showed her support with her generous donation of rosaries.
The cultural program commenced in the church hall with a light snack and the emcee for the evening, Mr. Manohar Pais welcomed the guests. With his refreshing and affable style, Manohar instantly built a rapport with the audience. Mr. Ronald Fernandes, President of MAC, with his inimitable style charmed the audience as he highlighted accomplishments and thanked the clergy, sponsors, volunteers and guests. Renita Fernandes began the program with a traditional dance; sponsors were honored with the gift a blessed candle; and representatives from the audience and MAC together with the clergy received the Novenm and drank it with milk. The highlight of the program was a tableau reminiscent of Nativity traditions, blessings and joy portrayed in a scene set in a poor farmer’s home. Beautifully crafted and ably directed by Manohar Pais, the actors set the stage on fire with their natural acting talents. Ronald D’Souza, Prescilla and Cassandra D’Cunha, Lucy D’Mello, Naira and Nathan Menezes, Terence D’Souza and Seneca Rego are to be congratulated for their fine acting. A graceful dance in honor of Mother Mary was part of the tableau and was competently performed by Vinisha D’Souza, Clarissa D’Souza and Natasha D’Souza.
The UAE Exchange Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Clinton D’Silva by Divya Kamath of UAE Exchange and $250 in scholarship money was awarded to Michele D’Mello by the generous sponsors, Reginald and Mary Fernandes. The scholarship award ceremony was presented by Janet D’Souza with the assistance of Gerry D’Mello. MAC was also privileged to have Francis Fernandes Cascia, a noted Konkani writer, director and actor participate in the Nativity function. As a token of our deepest gratitude for the immeasurable work done by him for the Konkani culture and language, he was honored with a gift of a shawl. Manohar Pais spoke briefly about his achievements and the accolades showered on him and this was followed by a brief comedy appearance by the Great Man himself.
Konkan Delite catered a traditional all-vegetarian meal with the highlight of the meal being the delicious “Pathravade” and the sumptuous dessert, ‘Vorn’. The guests commended the quality and taste of the authentic meal. Raffle prizes were announced and the evening ended with the Mando and Lavdhate. Rudi D’Souza, of Bluelite Audio did a superb job of coordinating the audio visual requirements for the event assisted by his team and Leon Lobo. Maxim D’Mello is to be commended for organizing an outstanding presentation in appreciation of sponsors, the clergy and including key points of the event. Jerry Cardoza, the cultural coordinator worked tirelessly putting the numerous pieces of the puzzle together, coordinated the flow of events with the emcee and ensuring that time was maintained. MAC is indebted to all the volunteers and committee members who worked behind the scenes with the event, serving of food, arrangement of tables to guarantee the astounding success of the Monthi Fest.