Abu Dhabi, Sep 16: St Joseph’s Konkani Community (SJKC), Abu Dhabi, celebrated Monthi Fest, the birthday of Mother Mary, on September 9 at ST Theresa’s Church under the guidance of spiritual director Fr Mariyan Miranda OFM Cap. Monthi Fest is a family feast for the Konkani speaking community and it is traditionally celebrated as a harvest festival by the community in the west coast of India. The Konkani community in Abu Dhabi, celebrated this feast with grandeur, thanking God for the fruit of the earth, for nature and for the farmers who toil to give bread to the world.
The celebration began with nine days’ novenas. The daily novenas included rosary, devotional hymns, gospel readings, showering of flowers to Infant Mary by children and the Holy Eucharistic celebration with spiritually nourishing reflections by Fr Valerian Fernandes OFM Cap, Fr Rohan Miranda OFM Cap, Fr Derick D’Souza OFM Cap, and Fr Mariyan Miranda OFM Cap.
Students from the Konkani community who scored 80% and above in the secondary and higher secondary examinations for the year 2022-2023 were felicitated and altar servers from the Konkani community were given gifts during the novena for serving the novena masses by Bishop Emeritus Paul Hinder on September 7.
The blessing of new corn (paddy) which was specially flown all the way from Mangaluru and showering of flowers began in honor of Infant Mary in a traditional way. The faithful and the children gathered in the open place near the St Joseph’s School stage. Floral tributes were given to Mother Mary by little children with the choir singing the beautiful hymn ‘Moriyek Hogolsiya’. Bishop Paolo Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia graced this occasion by joining for the memorable event and gave a short message to the faithful gathered. A good number of children both little ones and grownups, offered flowers to Mother Mary. Parishioners of different age groups took part in honoring Infant Mary, which thrilled and triggered nostalgic childhood memories among all.
The festival began with a grand procession followed by altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, faithful, SJKC committee members and priests. The statue of Infant Mary and the new blessed corn – ‘Kanshi’ were brought to St Theresa’s Church in procession by Lancy D’Souza, Leo Rodrigues, Conrad Dsouza and Austin Menezes. The solemn festive concelebrated Mass was presided over by Fr Chetan Leo Lobo OFM Cap. The concelebrants were Fr Mariyan Miranda, Fr Darick D’Souza, Fr Baptist Rohan Miranda, Fr Chito Bartolo the parish priest, Fr Michael Fernandes the custos of the Capuchins of the vicariate, Fr Joby, Fr Peter Fernando and Fr Amala Udhayam whereas Fr Troy the former vicar general and Fr John Mosha joined for the first part of the celebration of blessing of new corn and showering of flowers. Fr Chetan with his inspiring reflections during the homily made the celebration memorable. Over 1500 faithful devotees of Mother Mary participated in the Solemn Eucharistic celebration.
After the Mass Fr Mariyan Miranda the spiritual director of the Konkani community welcomed all the co-celebrant priests and the committee members gave them flowers, a token of appreciation to them. The parish priest Fr Chito Bartolo OFM Cap thanked the Konkani community for their commitment and dedication for the parish and gave a short message.
The following parishioners were felicitated by Fr Chetan Lobo OFM Cap - Ethan Carl D’Souza for being selected in the UAE International Cricket Team, Rohan Correa for rendering his service as a musician to the Konkani prayer group for the past 23 years, Lourdes D’Costa and family for being regular for daily Mass at St Joseph’s Church and for upholding family values.
The donors were honored by Fr Mariyan Miranda, Fr Darick and Fr Baptist Rohan Miranda. Vote of thanks was rendered by SJKC coordinator Conrad D’Souza whereas SJKC committee members Sharan D’Souza and Manoj Menezes compered the programme. At the end of the festive Eucharistic celebration, the traditional ‘Novem Jevan’ was served. Blessed corn and sugarcane were distributed to all the faithful. It was indeed an excellent celebration as all those present enjoyed the precious family day celebration.
The whole event was conceptualized and managed by St Joseph’s Konkani committee members under the able guidance of Lancy D’Souza along with the new coordinator Conrad D’Souza, volunteers and ushers who provided their selfless service relentlessly for all the nine days of novenas and on the feast day. Monthi Fest is a memorable one for everyone especially for St Joseph’s Konkani Community of Abu Dhabi. The community beautifully and devotionally experienced Mangaluru’s most revered tradition.