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Mumbai, Sep 8: Monti fest is celebrated in a unique manner in St Joseph church at Mira Road the largest parish of Mumbai Archdiocese. Christian population in the parish comprises of 5750 families totaling the strength of the parish to 21700 people.
It is the hub for both Goan and Mangalorean presence where Konkani is heard all over the places as most of the parisheners are Konkani speaking people. All the feasts are celebrated with minute respect for traditions with cultural and traditional specialties. This year the church kept her tempo high for the extraordinary Monti Fest celebrations preceded with solemn 9 days novenas to Monti Mai.
Ripened corns ("Bathachio Konshyo") were blessed and distributed to the people and children on the feast day adorned with flowers honored Infant Mary through the streets of the town. People followed the Children carrying flowers marched taking Infant Mary's statue led by a brass band and reciting prayers and singing Marian hymns. Thousands of people marched the main roads, side roads, gardens of Mira Road singing praises to mother Mary honoured her. It was a fabulous show on the roads. People of all religions paid due respect maintaining silence and blocking traffic for almost half an hour as the religious procession progressed.
This is a beautiful tradition of honouring Blessed Mary Virgin on her birthday and has been a virtual solemnity at Mira Road. People from all walks of life have been participating in the nine days solemn Novenas, this year concentrated on Biblical Themes highlighting the role of Mary in family life. This tradition began 7 years ago after Fr Rudolf V. D’ Souza, took over the charge as parish priest, and this year the celebration has come to its climax with a massive crowed.
Fr. Rudolf V D’ Souza OCD (Parish Priest), Fr Deepak Thomas OCD (Assistant) and Fr Peter Rebello OCD (Assistant) concelebrated in the main church. Fr. Michael Morris Shenoy the Superior of the Carmelite Community and assistant parish priest celebrated mass in the community hall. Fr. Rudolf in his homily stressed the importance of catholic values in families, respecting life and especially taking care of the girl child and giving equal opportunities to them and also recommended to increase devotion to Mary in order to nurture solid Marian Virtues among the members. He said that life without love is of not worth. Human being must be brought to life in and through love. The test-tube and cloning culture of this modern world will create monsters instead of humans and abortion is a mortal sin that would wipe out our race and human dignity. The homily was appreciated by all the people present.
Fr Rudolf V D' Souza thanked specially daijiworld.com for its timely reporting and invoked blessings on all those who were actively involved in the preparations for the feast. He also thanked Paul D' Souza who provided "Bathachio Konshyo" (paddy) for distribution from Mangalore and thanked Sebastian D' Souza for his help and assistance in all the infrastructure arrangements for the feast.
The Konkani Welfare Association of Mira Road, provided the liturgical band and organized systematically the procession with the pastoral helpers of St. Joseph Church.
Lot of people of other faiths flocked to honour Mary in the noon and evening and lighted candles to her to fulfill their vows and obtain blessings from her.
Sugarcane was distributed to all present as a sweet gift from Mary.