Report: Victor Moras
Pictures: Rajesh, Odi, Lawrence

Salalah, Sep 16: The Konkani speaking Catholic community of St Francis Xavier Church, Salalah, Sultanate of Oman celebrated Monti Fest on Friday, the 12th of September 2014. It was a great day indeed as the celebration brought back memories of homeland. Fr Anil D’Costa, the principal of an ICSE school run by the Capuchin priests in Perampally, Udupi Diocese, was the main celebrant. The mass was con-celebrated by Fr Ashok Gonsalves, our own parish priest.

The celebrations began by the recitation of Holy Rosary by Albert Pinto. After the rosary the congregation moved to the grotto with the melodious hymn ‘Sokkad Sangatha melyam’ in the air, children with plates of flowers and adults placing flowers at the feet of Mother Mary. It was a grand procession with a statue of Mother Mary being taken out by two altar servers ably sheltered by four attendants with a huge umbrella. Fr. Anil blessed the new paddy and the children showered flowers while the choir sang ‘Moriek Hogollsiyam’. The mass was truly grand with the meaningful liturgy prepared by Victor and Anitha Moras and read/sung by our children – Leron, Michelle, Samantha, Fiona, Delany, Nelwisha and Sasha. The melodious choir was led by Loy Mendonca, Victor Moras & group with Vinith Antony Moras at the key board. The colorful offertory procession by small children and adults, was organized by Lawrence D’Souza.

In his homily, Fr. Anil emphasized the importance of Mother Mary as the centre of the Church and of our family. She is the best role model for girls and women of today to be imitated and keep the families balanced and strong in faith. The anecdote of a ‘bishop asking his mother to kiss the ring and the mother ordering her son to seek her blessing instead’ was timely and appropriate and very meaningful in the context of the feast of Nativity. The mass became visually meaningful as Michael Pereira projected the hymns, prayers and pictures on the screen. The blessed paddy corn was distributed to the faithful with the recessional hymn.

As the people moved out of the church, sugar cane and light snacks were given and immediately they rushed to the church hall. It was a festive atmosphere in the hall with the decorations by Clement D’Souza and melodious music by our DJ Michael, ably assisted in the sound arrangements by Kiran. In no time the hall was full with people standing on the sidelines for want of space. It was a record crowd this year by Salalah standards with more people busy preparing for the traditional meal elsewhere.

There were creative spot games for children and adults conducted by Seby D’Silva. An entertaining activity game for adults wherein not only the participants but also the audience were involved, was conducted by Victor Moras. Finally Clement D’Souza and Agnelo Fernandes conducted the Housie Housie. Fr. Anil, Fr. Ashok, Reggie Rosario, Clement D’Souza and Fausto Fernandes were requested to give away the prizes.

All those who were toiling behind the scenes preparing the traditional meal under the leadership of Richard Machado and Michael Machado moved in with their troupe and within minutes the place was transformed into a dining hall. The meal was served on the traditional plantain leaves after the grace by Fr. Anil. The sumptuous meal was enjoyed by one and all. It was a great meal, especially because more than 10 families were involved in cooking the vegetable dishes and the rest of the items were prepared by the professional chef, Nilesh under the supervision of Richard Machado.

The organization of all the events was appreciated as all of them were timed perfectly and well coordinated. The entire program for the day was organized by Victor Moras and Michael Machado from the Mangalorean community, and Fausto Fernandes from the Goan community.