Ras Al Khaimah, Sep 18: The Konkani Community of St Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Ras Al Khaimah came together joyously to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 10, with unwavering religious fervor. The RAK Konkani Community, comprising many Mangalurean and Goan families, united in prayer and festivity.
The Mass was held at the main church and led by Father Prashant Noronha from Mysuru, India, as the main celebrant, accompanied by our assistant parish priest, Fr Godfrey Rodrigues. The spiritual gathering commenced with a heartfelt rendition of the hymn 'Sokkad Sangaatha Melyaan' during the flower-strewing ceremony. Here, Fr Prashant Noronha blessed the 'khansi' (corn), which was later incorporated into the vorn, forming part of the Novem Jevan (festive harvest lunch), a cherished and traditional element of the celebration. Following an inspirational message from Fr Prashant, attendees of all ages lovingly scattered flowers in honor of Mother Mary, harmonizing their voices with 'Moriek Hogollsiam'.
After this profound expression of devotion, the congregation proceeded reverently to the main church for the Feast high Mass. Fr Prashant Noronha delivered a deeply moving homily, while Fr Godfrey Rodrigues enriched the spiritual experience of the attendees. The Melodia Choir Dubai, filled the church with exquisite hymns, and the devout participants sang in harmony. This year, approximately 300 individuals from various parts of the UAE graced the occasion.
Following the Mass, a cultural program was organized, with Sushma Olivera and Deepa Lobo skillfully hosting the event. Sushma extended a warm welcome to the guests and efficiently managed the formal proceedings, while Deepa continued with the cultural festivities, including Housie and various games appealing to participants of all ages, infusing the atmosphere with joy and excitement, and adding to the thrill by introducing spot prizes. Community members, both young and mature, showcased their musical talents, delivering captivating performances.
During the cultural program, attendees also enjoyed a delightful lunch. The 'Novem Jevan' by Venus Restaurant, Ras Al Khaimah, was served in the church canteen in the traditional Mangalurean style, enhancing the festive ambiance for all present. Steffie Sequeira expressed heartfelt gratitude in the vote of thanks, acknowledging the support of sponsors and well-wishers. The gathering concluded with the joyful singing of 'Laudate' after the sumptuous meal. The cultural programme ended on a high note with lively baila, as attendees joyfully danced to the beat.
The celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a testament to the unity and devotion of the RAK Konkani Community, made possible through the dedicated efforts of all involved.