Dubai, Sep 16: St Mary's Mangalorean Community, (SMMC-Dubai), a renowned Mangalurean Konkani organisation of St Mary's Catholic Church, Dubai, under the guidance of spiritual director Fr Victor Fernandes organized a grand celebration of a 9-day novena for the popular Mangalorean feast of Nativity of Mother Mary, or Monthi Fest, from August 31 to September 8. With religious zeal and dedication, a large number of devotees and children attended the Novena liturgy. During Novena days a Konkani Mass was celebrated, followed by flower veneration to Balok Mori 'Bambino.' It was wonderful to see so many children attending the Novenas and showering flowers on Mother Mary.
Long awaited Monthi Fest was celebrated with great joy and devotion on Friday, September 9 and over 8000 faithful devotees participated in the Solemn Eucharistic celebration. The festal celebration began with a grand procession by Konkan Taram Brass band with the popular hymn “Sakkad Sangatha Mellyam”, followed by children with flowers, representatives of Eucharistic Ministers, SMMC core team members, Statue of Infant Mary in Palki, Altar Servers and Priests.
The church service with prayers in honour of our Lady, began with the traditional blessing of the new corn (paddy) crop freshly flown from our homeland. Floral tributes were given to Mother Mary by little children with Choir singing the beautiful hymn ‘Moriek Hogolsiyam’. Statue of Infant Mary and the new harvest – ‘Novem’ were brought to the Altar in procession.
The main celebrant of solemn festal Eucharist was Fr Alwyn Dias, OFM Cap, provincial minister, Holy Trinity Capuchin Province, Karnataka accompanied by Fr Victor Fernandes OFM Cap and Fr Andre Fernandes, OFM Cap. The festal & novena celebrations were highlighted by singing melodious hymns by JMJ and St Cecelia's choir groups. On this momentous occasion, the winners of Singing and Elocution competitions were rewarded. Students who excelled in their academics were also rewarded with the Students Excellency Awards. Fr Victor Fernandes thanked all the well-wishers and the people involved in making this celebration a grand success by honouring them with the blessed candles. After the high mass, Konshi (blessed new corn) was distributed to the faithful devotees to celebrate the feast along with their families and loved ones. Novem Jevann food packets prepared by Caesars Restaurant were served.
The whole event was well planned and managed by SMMC core committee members, volunteers and ushers, who provided their selfless service relentlessly for all 9 days of Novenas and on the Feast Day. The arrangements were well appreciated by the devotees and evoked nostalgic memories of age-old traditional celebration of ‘Monthi Fest’ in native homeland.