Report by Helen Clara Fernandes & Pratiksha D’silva
Kuwait, 5 September: “Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the blessed Virgin Mary that she may intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Mary, by a special grace, was selected to become the Mother of Jesus, through Immaculate Conception. Her birth is the prime cause for the immense joy and happiness we share on this special day. As the Divine Mother of God; Mary being a flawless example for purity, modesty, chastity, humbleness and obedience, unceasingly was forthright and archaic to the Almighty’s will. In order to commemorate this occasion on the 8th of September being her birthday, we venerate her for her explicit nature and for the gift of our Lord, whom she bore and gave to mankind.
The nativity of Mother Mary, popularly known as ‘Monthi Fest’, has a unique quality of fetching all Christians under one big roof for celebration. Since this feast falls on the season of the harvest, it is termed as the feast of new harvest.
The 9 days Novena celebrating the feast of the Nativity of our beloved Mother Mary began from 27/8/2014 to 4/9/2014 on various themes on Mother Mary , conducted by the Konkani community Units in Ahmadi Parish in preparation of monti feast. It was led by Rev. Fr. Paul Melwyn D‘souza (Cap) and it ended with Solemn mass celebration on Friday, the 5th of September 2014, at Our Lady Of Arabia Church, Ahmadi. The Bambino of the Virgin Mary was taken in a procession by Deacon Sylvester D’souza at 10.00 AM followed by the Altar boys /girls lectors and the clergy. The solemn mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Paul Melwyn D’Souza (Cap.); Rev. Fr. Gaspar Fernandes (Cap.); Rev. Fr. Noel Almeida (Cap.); Rev. Fr. Anthony Lopez (Cap.); Rev. Fr. Xavier D’Souza (Cap.).
A large multitude of devotees from all over Kuwait attended the celebration irrespective of their origin. The church was packed and outside the Church there was shamiyana (tent) which was also full filled with devotees from all works of life not just the Konkani speaking crowd, were present in large number for the celebration and It was a fitting tribute, considering the love, affection and veneration that the faithful expressed towards Mother Mary.
Mr. Prasanth Ferrao welcomed the gathering on behalf of the Konkani Community. Then the grand celebration began with the blessing of the New Harvest, strewing of flowers to Mother Mary, followed by the Eucharistic celebration. During the Mass a very effective homily on how to make our family life meaningful and teach our children the right values needed for life was preached by Rev. Fr. Paul Melwyn.
After the mass, Ms. Precilla Pereira gave a very touching farewell note (mann pothru) to Rev. Fr. Gaspar Fernandes which included his achievements and service rendered by him to the people of Ahmadi during his tenure as Spiritual Director to Konkani community. Very soon he will be proceeding to Bahrain with a new assignment. In return Fr. Gaspar expressed his gratitude towards all the parishioners for their varied support and co-operation in preparing and carrying out the celebration wonderfully. He also thanked all the donors, well wishers and benefactors who came forward to celebrate the event.
Vote of thanks was given by Helen Clara Fernandes thanking all the people and the donors for their constant support. Special thanks to Mr. Lawrence D’souza of Caesars Group for his continued support to Konkani community not only to Ahmadi Parish but, to everyone all over Kuwait. The celebration ended with the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Followed by family fellowship, where everyone was served with the traditional ‘Festive Meal’ better called as “Festhachen Jevan”. Around 1750 members from all over Kuwait were present for the same. A very special thanks to the members of the United Mangaloreans Kuwait (UMK) who willingly volunteered their help in serving the people.
Mr. Shawn Sequeira (Bondel) was the Master of ceremony for the feast day as well as he guided the people during the 9 days of the novena. The ceaseless efforts, the incessant zeal and the constant unity of the Konkani community of our Lady of Arabia, resulted in the grand success of the celebration.