Chicago: As 2.3 billion Christians around the world are poised to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Mangalorean Konkan Christians Association, celebrated its 11th Christmas Program with its focus on sharing and giving. It was sunny but one of the coldest day of this year’s winter season. As the temperature was below the freezing point, the Christmas spirit was in full swing with both young and old celebrating Nathal Fest in its true spirit.
The program began with celebration of Holy Eucharist by Rev. Fr. Richard Vaz, SVD. During the Holy Eucharist, the MKCA choir members sung Konkani and English hymns under the leadership of Dorothy Rego. The Keybord played by Daphne Fernandes gave a special touch to the hymns. In his homily, Fr. Richie Vaz SVD invited everyone to remember and relive again that wonderful time of our salvation history, when God made the big decision to become ‘Emmanuel’ (God-with-us) for us. God refuses to leave us alone but wants to be with us, intimately involved in our lives. The spirit of Christmas challenges us to set aside our selfishness, greed and materialism and open our heart to Christ to guide us every day in treating others with respect and love, bringing peace, happiness, contentment and blessings to everyone. Wishing everyone Merry Christmas, Fr. Richie said, “Jesus is the only gift that we can keep unwrapping – not just today, but throughout our lifetimes. Let us carry the light of Christ back out into our world – a world desperately in need of God’s love and allow Christ to be born again in the lives of all.
The President of the association, Godwin Rego welcomed all the guest, well-wishers and members present. He invited all the participants to share the Christmas spirit and enjoy the wonderful activities arranged by the organizers. He thanked for their gracious presence in making this program a success.
The compeer of the Program Steevan D’Souza, invited the audience to savor the typical Indian appetizers and the open bar. There were recreational activities for all ages – the children, teenagers and adults. The robust participation of the members was a joy to all the audience present. The winners of the activities were: Passing the Globe – Winner is Merwin D’Souza and runner-up Luella Mascarenhas and Musical Chairs – Winner is Mercy Concesso and runnerup Edna Mascarenhas.
There was unique “Dessert Competition” arranged by the organizers. There were nine entries and following participants won this competition: Anita D’Souza, winner (Rice Pudding) and Shannon D’Souza, runner-up (Mango Kulfi).
This was followed by sumptuous dinner with Dukra maas (Pork dish) with Sanna and Chana (prepared by the members); along with other mouth watering menu items. The Dessert Competition items were a hit and were a test to the taste buds with every item having its own unique taste.
The program was followed by singing of Christmas Carrols by children, under the leadership of Crystal Rodrigues. As they sang “Jingle Bells”, there was grand arrival of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. The arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus sent electric waves to the children present. They were all mesmerized and happy to receive gifts from Santa and Mrs. Clause.
The General Secretary of the Association and the Compeer of the program, Steevan D’Souza thanked all the audience present for their gracious presence and all those who prepared the Kuswar Items.
There were several door prizes and silent auction. The organizers announced that the “Kuswar Packets”, the typical Mangalorean style Christmas goodies, prepared by the Members of MKCA, are on sale to benefit the Educational Fund of Don Bosco Club, Puttur. The Christmas Kuswar is a typical Mangalorean Konkan Christian culture, whereby families prepare Christmas goodies and share them with their relatives and neighbors during Christmas time – a mark of sharing of joy. As usual the attendees hit the dance floor with full force for the musical tunes of Konkani, English, Spanish and Hindi songs presented by the D.J. Joey Mendonca. The program was grand success under the leadership of Steevan D’Souza, Chairman of the program. As the theme of the program reflected “Sharing and Caring”, the organizers announced that all the net proceeds of the program are benefitting the aforementioned noble cause of assisting the needy children in their education.