Chicago, Dec. 19: The Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association Chicago celebrated Nathal Fest – 2009 (Christmas) with great pomp and grandeur at the Courtland Square Community Hall, Des Plaines. This event was organized with a noble cause of helping the recent flood victims of Mangalore and surrounding area in Karnataka, India; where thousands of households were left with no shelter and all their belongings were wiped out by this devastating flood. The event organizers were surprised by the overwhelming response of its supporters, guests and friends who attended this program. The attendees came from neighboring states and there was unique blend of people from different religious affiliation and ethnic background.
The program began by the celebration of Holy Mass in Konkani by Rev. Fr. Richie Vaz and wonderful Homily given by Rev. Fr. Henry Sequeira. In his Homily Fr. Henry Sequeira summoned the attendees to entertain birth of Christ in everyone’s heart, which signifies “Peace” to everyone. He stressed that we need to share our wealth with less fortunate; which signifies the true meaning of “Peace”. His message was filled with sharing of “Joy and Peace” with all the humanity; especially the needy back in our motherland, India. The Offertory was arranged by Dr. Merlyn D’Souza. The Holy Mass was glorified by the beautiful MKCA Choir group under the leadership of Rexon D’Souza and Dorothy Rego. The wonderful hymns sung by this group in Konkani and English, mesmerized the attendees present.
The cultural program was initiated by the welcome speech by Lawrence Mascarenhas, President. In his speech he thanked all the members, who have worked hard in its success and thanked his executive committee for their hard work in the past two terms of his presidency. He called the current Executive Committee to the podium and conveyed his sincere thanks for their hard work and selfless service to the Association and community in general. He called upon the new Executive Committee to the Podium, which is lead by Queenie Mendonca, President. He wished the new executive committee all the best and reaffirmed the leadership qualities of Ms. Mendonca, who is an Editor of manglorean.com website. The incoming President Ms. Queenie Mendonca stated that she has a plan to collaboratively involve the youth of MKCA in all its future programs and presented her vision of more community involvement and help to the needy during her next two year term.
This was followed by Happy Hour, consisted of Mangalorean style snacks and open bar (courtesy Lawrence Mascarenhas) managed by Jossie Mendonca. During the Happy Hour, there was wonderful group dance performance presented by Fernandes/ Mascarenhas cousins (Sherrie, Shaun, Stephanie and Reena Fernandes; Shannon and Jessica Mascarenhas). All the audience present conveyed their appreciation to the dance by thunderous applause. There was ongoing door prize, raffle draws and silent auction throughout the program under the leadership of James and Rita Saldanha. There was “Musical Chairs” game arranged by Queenie Mendonca.
All the children present were spellbound by the grand entry of Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause, courtesy of Joseph Lobo. Both the Santa and Mrs. Clause looked so real, as if like they descended from North Pole and created a serene scene of fabled story. They sang, sing-along songs with the children present, whose eyes were twinkling with disbelief to see them in-person. All children and their parents thoroughly enjoyed the presence of Santa and Mrs. Clause in receiving gifts (courtesy Theresa D’Souza) and unique photo session with them.
The dinner was signified by unique Mangalorean dish of Dukra Maas (Pork meat, courtesy Rita Saldanha) complimented by Sannas (courtesy Vissia D’Souza and Edna Mascarenhas). The authentic Indian dinner was courtesy of famous Indian Restaurants throughout the Chicagoland area ( Gaylord, India Garden, India House, BBQ Tonight and Pakwann). The dinner was arranged by James and Rita Saldanha. Entire Appetizers and Dinner was led by Alister and Alger Saldanha, who mobilized the youth group of MKCA. The Chairperson of this successful program, James Saldanha thanked both the priests Fr. Vaz and Fr. Sequeira for conducting the Holy Mass. He thanked all the members and Sponsors of this program for their generous contributions. There was power point presentation of all the sponsors with ongoing commentary about their contributions.
During dinner time there were Konkani, Hindi and English songs sung by Alphonse Mascarenhas, Roopa Misquita, Melissa Miranda, Lawrence Mascarenhas, Austin D’Souza Prabhu and Stany D’Souza. All the couples joined the couple dance and the organizers selected Highly Dressed Couple amongst them and Ifan and Vanessa D’Souza bagged the honors. There was balloon dance for couples and Steven D’Souza and Sabrina Wing won the contest. The Konkani, Tulu, Hindi and English Baila songs presented by Rexon D’Souza made all the attendees present to hit the dance floor.
All the attendees received a packet of homemade Mangalorean Kuswar (Christmas goodies) prepared by MKCA members. Anil D’Souza was the DJ for the entire program. This program was wonderfully compeered by Austin D’Souza Prabhu. The program was conducted without a hitch under the able leadership of program chairpersons James and Rita Saldanha. The hall (courtesy Lance Dias and Lawrence Mascarenhas) was wonderfully decorated by Jossie Mendonca, Vissia and Stany D’Souza. Mark Rodrigues, Arun D’Souza and Anil D’Souza were the official photographers of the program.
-Stany Gerald D’Souza.