|Published Date: 20 Dec, 2011 (4:24 PM)|
|Report: Lawrence Mascarenhas
Photographs: Mark Rodrigues, Vissia D’Souza and Anita D’Souza
Chicago, Dec. 20:Once again, it was a “White Christmas” here in Chicago. Though the Chicagoans witnessed much awaited the first snow fall of the season, it was quickly melted way before the children could make a snow man. However, it was a perfect weather for any celebration. The Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association Chicago celebrated Nathal Fest – 2011 (Christmas) with great pomp and grandeur at the Courtland Square Community Hall, Des Plaines, Illinois. This event was organized with a noble cause of helping the distressed women through “Shubadha” a temporary shelter for women run by Bethany Sisters in Mangalore, India. Under the leadership of Queenie Mendonca, the first woman president of MKCA and Francis Mascarenhas, the chairperson of the event, the program was well organized, well attended and wholeheartedly supported by the attendees.
The program began by the concelebrating the Holy Mass by Rev. Fr. Richie Vaz, SVD, Rev. Fr. George Velloorattil, and Rev. Fr. Georg from Techny. Fr. George Velloorattil, during his wonderful homily recalled his association with Mangalorean Catholics and praised them for their unique culture, hospitality, honesty and faithfulness. In his homily, he said “When we celebrate Christmas, it is important to have Jesus Christ in our heart; otherwise, it is like celebrating our loved one’s birthday without their presence.” He wished everyone Peace and Joy and said “Peace is a result of our own thoughts and actions controlled in a positive way.” The Mass was glorified with MKCA Choir in Konkani and English directed by Dotty Rego.
The cultural program started with welcome speech by MKCA president Queenie Mendonca. In her speech Queenie thanked all the members, who have worked hard during her tenure as president. She called the current Executive Committee to the podium and conveyed her sincere thanks for their hard work and selfless service to the Association in particular and to the community in general. She introduced the newly elected Executive Committee which was lead by the president-elect Godwin Rego. The incoming president Godwin Rego thanked the outgoing committee and requested all the members for their continued support to the Association.
This was followed by Happy Hour with open bar and snacks. When the DJ Joey noticed the tipsy mood of the adult crowd, he quickly changed the atmosphere to dimmed lights and sentimental slow music of 60s and 70s thereby pulling the couples to the dance floor. After the ball dance, it was time for children and young adults to hit the floor to the tunes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. There was variety of entertainment, games and raffles for youth and adults. Christmas quiz was organized by Vissia D’Souza and Fr. Richie Vaz, SVD for children and adults. Megan D’Souza won first place in Christmas quiz and Samantha Concesso wond second place.
Once the crowd was loosened up and got to know each other, it was dinner time. The menu included authentic Mangalorean dishes such as Dukra Maas (Pork dish) Chicken Green Curry, Daal Saar, Beetroot & Cucumber Salad, Butter Chicken, Chana Sukka, Sanna, Badami-Pista Kulfi – all home prepared by MKCA members. The delicious appetizers were donated by Tava Fresh, Indian Restaurant and Pakwan – Indo-Pakistani Restaurant, both located in Morton Grove, IL., also, pies were donated by Bakers Square. The audience conveyed their appreciation for the delicious food served. During the dinner, Lig Martis, Alphonce Mascarenhas and Roopa Misquita sang Konkani songs and entertained the crowd. The audience was surprised by the presence of News Anchor of TV Asia, who recorded a clip of the event for her telecast on TV Asia Channel.
The president distributed the prizes to the winners of raffles, games and quizzes. The prizes were donated by Clay Oven Restaurant, Viceroy of India, Starbucks, All State Insurance, Curry Leaf and Mangalorean.com.
There was a silence auction organized by MKCA Secretary Francis Mascarenhas. The items for the auction were donated by the MKCA members, their friends and well wishers in order to raise the funds for charitable cause.
All the children present were happy by the grand entry of Santa Clause (Played by Austin Prabhu). The children as well as some adults posed for a picture with Santa and received a Christmas gift from him. Santa advised all the children to respect their parents, do well in their school activities and be nice and helpful to each other.
Secretary Francis Mascarenhas proposed a vote of thanks. He specially thanked Rev. Fr. Richie Vaz, SVD for his support and guidance to the Association. He called the members, who have prepared Kuswar and other dishes for the event, to the podium and personally thanked them for their support and hard work for the Association.
Lawrence Mascarenhas coordinated the catering, Joey Mendonca conducted DJ, Mark Rodrigues/ Vissia D’Souza were official photographers, Jossie Mendonca managed the bar, Florine Rodrigues arranged offertory and Austin D’Souza Prabhu compeered the program.
The event concluded by singing “Lavdathe Dominum” thanking the Almighty God for his grace.
Nathal fest 2011 Pictures