MKCA/USA CELEBRATES MONTHI FEST (NATIVITY OF MOTHER MARY)
Report by: Lawrence Mascarenhas Photograph by: Austin Prabhu and Lawrence Mascarenhas
Chicago, Sept 7, 2013: The members of the Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association (MKCA/USA) joined together with their friends and families to celebrate the Nativity of mother Mary (Monthi Fest) at the Courtland Square Club House, Des Plaines, IL. When the Sun set in the West today, it was a Sunrise in the East, the actual day of Monthi Fest in Mangalore. For Mangaloreans, Monthi Fest is traditionally combined with harvest feast, wherein the new crop is offered to the Creator. The blessed corn is then mixed with the festive meal and partaken with kin and kith of the family. For the Mangaloreans in Chicago, it was an early Thanksgiving as the feast closely aligns with North American Thanksgiving celebration.
The program began with a procession with children carrying flowers to express their love, respect and devotion to Mother Mary, which was culminated by offering a single most beautiful flower to the statue of Infant Mary. With the singing of “Sokkod Sangatha Mellyam” and “Moriyek Hogollsiyam”, children were rejoicing with admiration and joy.
The Holy Mass was concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Cyril Fernandes and Rev. Fr. Peter Rapaso in Konkani and English. In his Homily, Fr. Fernandes took us down the memory lane with his heart warming sermon. It was very nostalgic. He reminded us as kids how we used to run to our neighbors home collecting flowers to offer Infant Mary during the Novena (9 days). “I never understood as a small child why I was doing it, but the joy I had by doing it been immense” said Fr.Fernandes. He further stated that everyday rosary and evening prayers with the family kept us united and helped us form a strong family bond. He explained the importance of the mother’s role in the family, specially the sacrifices she makes for the well being of the children. He also passed on the special message from Pope Francis to pray for peace in Syria. The Hymns were sung exclusively in Konkani by the celebrants present.
Fr. Fernandes blessed the new crop (Novem), which was flown in from India especially for this program. The Novem was mixed in roce and partaken by all audience as a gesture of unity and nurturance from new crop.
As a mark of respect for the country we live in and to our Motherland India, Austin D’Souza Prabhu lead all the audience to sing “God Bless America” followed by Indian National Anthem to commemorate India’s 66thIndependence Day celebration.
The MKCA President, Godwin Rego welcomed the audience present and thanked them for their continued support and fellowship. He requested audience to come forward and take active part in implementing new ideas for the betterment of the Association. He also expressed his happiness to see the new faces increasingly attending the MKCA programs.
The cultural program was initiated by Amith Prabhu and Roopa Misquita by involving all the audiences present by conducting variety of games. Games for the young children, the first prize winner were Evelyn D’Souza and a runner up was Jenna Godlyn D’Souza. Older children section, the first prize was shared by Ashelle Monteiro and Shawn D’Souza. Under adult section, the only winner was Terry D’Souza. Then it was a dancing time for couples who hit the floor to the tunes of D.J. Joey Mendonca.
There were variety of delicious vegetarian dishes. All the dishes were home-made by MKCA family members. Many audiences appreciated the authentic delicacy of typical Mangalorean Monthi Fest dishes. “I have never eaten this kind of Vorn ever since I left home 7 years back” said an audience helping himself for the second round. There was a big line for home-made Badami Kulfi (special dish), not to mention it was also for the second round! Every dish was so authentic that there was no room for cherry picking.
The attendees enjoyed the Konkani songs sung by Lig Martis and Alphonce Mascarenhas. The event Chairperson Eric Fernandes proposed the vote of thanks. He specially thanked Fr.Cyril Fernandes and Fr. Peter Rapaso who have come all the way from Indiana to celebrate the Mass. Eric also thanked the members who prepared the variety of dishes for the program. Finally, he thanked all the members who have worked hard directly or indirectly for the success of this program. The cultural program concluded with the singing of “Loudathe Dominum”.
The D.J. played by Joey Mendonca. Shawn D’Souza served as Alter boy. The program was compeered by none other than the MKCA founder president Austin Prabhu and the program was a great success under the leadership of event chairperson Eric Fernandes.