By Edwin D'Souza

Bahrain, Sep 14: Friday September 11 will be remembered by one and all in Sacred Heart Church Bahrain's Parish, for the solemn celebration of Konkani Catholic Community’s Monthi-fest. Members and entire Parish congregation came under one roof to celebrate the feast united in the spirit of brotherhood and fellowship.

Nine days Novena and Mass in preparation for the feast conducted by visiting Priest Fr Manohar, commenced on September 2. Fr Manohar highlighted the role of Mary as the Mother of our Savior and our Mother and how we must imitate her virtues in our day to day life. Large congregation daily attended the Novena/Mass with great enthusiasm. It was indeed great to see hundreds of children and tiny tots offering flowers to Mama Mary.
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The Feast Mass on Friday was attended by around 3,000 faithful. The service commenced at 9.30 am at the outdoor stage, with blessing of new paddy by Parish Priest Fr Freddy along with Fr Manohar, and the assistant priests of Sacred Heart Church. This was followed by floral offerings to Blessed Infant Mary by the children to the singing of traditional hymns Sokkod Sangatha Meliam and Moriek Hogolsiam.

A grand procession then led the congregation to the Sacred Heart Church where the solemn Feast Mass was held and was concelebrated by Fr Manohar along with parish priest Fr Freddy, Konkani Community Spiritual director Fr Gaspar Fernandes and other priests in attendance.

Fr Manohar in his homily spoke about the meaning of celebrating the Monti Fest and how and where it had started. He also stressed that importance of celebrating it as one family, one community spirit. For the large, congregation it was indeed a spirit filled experience.

The choir organized by Freddy D'Souza was well appreciated and helped the congregation to participate in the celebration meaningfully. Spiritual Director of the Konkani Community Fr Gaspar thanked all those involved in organizing the Novena and feast services. At the end of the feast Mass, congregation was then served with traditional roce mixed with newly blessed paddy and refreshments.

A short cultural program was then held in the Our Lady of Arabia Auditorium which began with an invocation dance by Eunice D’Souza, Clarina D’Costa and Riyanna D’Souza. The Parish Priest Fr Freddy along with Fr Manohar, Fr Gaspar, Carmelite Sister’s superior Sr. Nirmala Priya were then led to the stage by Konkani Community Leader Freddy D’Souza for the cutting of the cake.
After brief address by Fr Freddy and Fr Gaspar, a short felicitation program was held to honor Mr.Simon Machado and Precilla Machado for their outstanding contribution to the community. The congregation was then treated to a hilarious comedy skit called “Soirikechi Guspodd Gondoll” written and directed by Stany D’Souza Paladka and acted out by Stany D'Souza, Hilary Tellis, Sujay Pinto, Ajay Lobo, Allwyn D’Souza, Roshan, Maxi D’Souza and Avinash Fernandes.

A lucky-dip draw was then held and the prizes for these were donated by well wishers. Raffles Restaurant catered a sumptuous vegetarian meal. The costs of the event were covered through support from various benefactors who donated whole heartedly and extended their support as truly one united community.

Sound and music was provided by Francis Lobo and photography was done by Edwin D’Souza. Hilary Tellis and Ronald Pinto compered the event.