Sharjah, Sep 14: In St Michael's Church, Sharjah, the Konkani Catholics gathered in celebration of Monthi Fest, the Feast of the Nativity of Mother Mary. This grand event was meticulously organized by the St Michael's Mangalorean Konkani Community (SMMKC), under the guidance of their spiritual director, Fr Denis Saldanha, the community coordinator, Alwyn Coutinho, and the committed core team members of SMMKC.
The festivities commenced with a Triduum Retreat and Novena prayers, where a multitude of people congregated for Holy Rosary, Eucharistic adoration, and Holy Eucharistic celebrations throughout the Novena days. After each Holy mass, the faithful, singing the beloved traditional songs "Sakkad Sangatha Melyan" and "Moriyek Hogollsiyan," proceeded to the cradle of Infant Mother Mary to pay their respects.
The Triduum preacher, Fr Prashanth Noronha, the vice rector and director of studies at the Institute of Philosophy and Religions, Kripalaya, Mysuru, delivered inspiring talks and led spirit-filled prayers that enriched the spiritual journey leading up to the joyful celebration.
On September 9, the festive celebration commenced at 9:45 am with the blessing of newly harvested "Khanshi" (rice corn) by their Spiritual Director, Fr Dennis Saldanha. Konkani-speaking faithful gathered to offer flowers to Mother Mary at the church quadrangle. A meaningful procession with the new corns and the Infant Mary statue preceded the Solemn Eucharistic celebration. Fr Prashanth Noronha presided over the Solemn mass, with other priests from St Michael concelebrating, enhancing the solemnity of the day. Around 3000 Konkani Catholics participated in the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration, with the choir's melodious singing enriching the experience.
The festivities also featured various competitions for children and families, showcasing remarkable talents in singing, elocution, and family skits. The enthusiasm and zeal of the participants were a source of inspiration for all.
Following the Solemn Mass, a cultural program unfolded in the parish hall, captivating the audience with graceful dancing and compelling acting by approximately 100 adults and children. The master of ceremonies, Roshan D’Silva, skilfully engaged the crowd throughout the program. Winners and participants of the competitions were duly awarded.
Blessed Khanshi and Noven Jewan food packets were distributed, along with goody bags for children. The congregation danced to the foot-tapping Baila music played by the community band 'Beyond C8.'
Monthi Fest 2023 left an indelible mark on Sharjah's Konkani Catholic community. The solemn celebrations were made possible through the generous support and active involvement of community members, including Lay Ministers, Volunteers, members of the Konkani Prayer Group (KPG), altar servers, choreographers, and supporters. The entire community shared in the spirit of spirituality and joyful elation, echoing the Magnificat antiphon: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46).