Report by Janet D’souza
Photographs by Ivan Lobo
COVID-19 is one of the most calamitous threats the world has ever experienced or faced. The world and its people plunged into depths of despair, unbearable loss, perilous uncertainty, and crisis. And yet, amidst these cataclysmic times, we saw strong signs of hope, resilience, solidarity, and a need for togetherness.
One such beacon of hope is the Mangalorean Association of Canada (MAC). Recognizing the need for a community to come together to celebrate new beginnings and a new normal, MAC, with renewed vigor and enthusiasm and within the parameters of the pandemic health guidelines, celebrated Monthi Fest Mass on September 12, 2021 at St Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Mississauga. Monthi Fest or the Nativity of our Lady has been an integral celebration in our lives, evoking wistful memories and nostalgia of a rich tradition and solemn customs such as blessing of the rice grains, aromatic fresh flowers, organic vegetables and families bonding over a vegetarian meal.
John D’Souza, our versatile Cultural Coordinator, welcomed the gathered congregation and summarized the flow of the religious ceremonies. Gerry D’Mello, an ardent supporter of MAC officiated the traditional, visually eye-catching flower offering ritual. Young children, each carrying a beautiful flower walked in a procession and placed their offering in honour of Mother Mary to the resonating tunes of “Sokkod Sangatha Mellyam” and “Moriyek Hogolsiyan”. The main celebrant of the Mass, Fr. Roshan D’Souza, transported the faithful to the days of their youth in hometowns in India simply by virtue of his poignant yet commanding voice. Fr. Henry Alva, with his impassioned homily filled us with hope for a better future and spiritual enlightenment. Fr. Andrew Lewis and Deacon Sarfraz Pinto were co-celebrants of this Mass. The melodious choir, led by the supremely talented Merlyn Rodrigues, sang from the depths of their hearts thrilling every single listener with their melody and arrangements.
Our sponsors are our pillars, our source of encouragement and motivation. Their sponsorship helps to sustain and fund numerous community activities and events. The Mass Muddhom was offered by Vincent and Prescilla Machado and family who are and continue to be committed supporters of MAC. Numerous sponsors stepped forward without hesitation and generously championed Monthi Fest and contributed both towards the Mass and the scholarship awards. As a gesture of respect and appreciation to our sponsors, MAC distributed blessed candles to all the sponsors.
MAC unequivocally agrees that education is of paramount importance in developing a global perspective, building and articulating opinions, shaping new technologies and exploring opportunities beyond imagination. The youth of our community are our legacy and an investment in this legacy is immeasurable. The MAC Scholarship Program awards two first year entrants into university or college a sum of money based on several criteria such as academics, extra curricular activities, volunteer work, awards, and work experience. The 2021 winners of the Scholarship Program were Seneca Rego and Jane D’Souza, both incredibly talented youngsters with a great and bright future. Seneca Rego was awarded CAD 1000 and the award was presented by Flavian and Miriam Pinto. Jane D’Souza was awarded CAD 500 and the award was presented by Reginald and Mary Fernandes.
The Monthi Fest Mass ended with the distribution of Novenm to all families, chocolates for the children and light refreshments for all attendees. Our sincere appreciation to the committee members, their families and the selfless volunteers who came together in camaraderie and harmony demonstrating the power of hope, courage, perseverance, and community spirit.
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