Brisbane, Sep 11: It was a beautiful spring day in Australia on September 9 when the Konkani speaking catholic Mangalurean community in Brisbane together with their family and friends celebrated the feast of the nativity (Monthi Festh) organized by the Brissy Konkans. It was a great day for the community as families and friends came together to celebrate the feast.
The day began with Holy Mass at the church of St Maximilian Kolbe at Marsden in Brisbane celebrated by Fr Mikhael Loke SVD, the parish priest of the church. The altar and the statue of Mother Mary were elegantly adorned with flowers and sugar cane stalks.
Milton Dick MP - Speaker of Australian Parliament, with the organisers Iona D’Mello, Karen Mascarenhas Sequeira, Royston Sequeira and Fr Thomas Varkey MCBS (extreme right) and Fr Krupa (extreme left)
The Mass was well supported by a melodious choir, whose members included Vivek Miranda, Karen Mascarenhas Sequeira, Anita Peres, Nancy D’Souza, Shaila Saldanha, Prabha D’Souza and Jackie Noronha. Ashton D’Mello assisted as the altar server.
The first and second readings were read by Tia Peres and Aaron Lewis. Fr Mikhael delivered an energetic and highly inspiring homily. It was heart-warming to see a great number of children participate actively during Mass. The prayers of the faithful were read by Lucas D’Souza, Ethan Lewis, Rainer Coutinho, Kyra Sequeira and Ryna Sequeira.
At the conclusion of the Holy Mass the children were invited for the traditional showering flowers to the statue of Mother Mary to the recital of the hymns 'Sakkad Sangatha Melyan' and 'Moriyek Hogolsiyan'.
Iona D’Mello, one of the main organizers thanked the celebrants and the attendees for coming together and partaking in the service and making it a meaningful celebration. The attendees then proceeded to the church hall for the traditional Monthi Festh lunch, festivities, and a gala celebration.
The celebrations at the hall were graced by Fr Mikhael Loke SVD, Fr Joseph Vattaparambil CMI, Fr Thomas Varkey MCBS. Fr Ravi with Fr Krupa who have recently arrived in Brisbane also attended the lunch.
The chief guest for the day was the speaker of the Australian parliament Milton Dick MP.
At the venue, the introduction to the Monthi Fest celebration was given by the master of ceremony Karen Mascarenhas Sequeira who was instrumental in organizing the event.
Vivek Miranda a committee member delivered the welcome message to the gathering.
Fr Joseph Vattaparambil CMI prayed the grace before meals.
The food was cooked by the families who attended the celebration and was served in a traditional manner on eco-friendly banana leaves under the leadership of another main organiser Royston Sequeira and his team of efficient volunteers. The ‘Novem Jewan’ included the traditional odd number of Mangalurean Monthi Festh dishes like boiled rice, moong curry, kuwalo curry, channa sukkha, pumpkin sukkha, alsande thel piyao, karamb, pickle and vorn which added to the traditional fervour.
After the scrumptious lunch, MP Milton Dick addressed the gathering. In his address he made a mention of how honoured he felt to be a part of this beautiful and spiritual celebration of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He said, “The Konkani culture with its deep-rooted traditions and vibrant celebrations has been an integral thread in the rich tapestry of global catholic heritage. The celebration holds a dual significance as it not only venerates the feast of Nativity of Mother Mary but also rejoices in the bounty of the harvest. It uniquely interwines faith with nature, thanking God for the gifts of the land.”
There was a full line up of performances and entertainment, including Konkani music and singing, children’s dances and dances from adults, skits as well as exciting themed related meaningful games for all.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Anita Peres.
It was a fun- filled, joyous and entertaining occasion bringing nostalgic memories of the Monthi Fest celebration and traditions back in Mangaluru.