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Oman: Monthi Fest celebrated at Sts Peter and Paul Church, Ruwi

Pics: Joachim D’Souza

Oman, Sep 18: The Konkani-speaking community of the Sts Peter and Paul Church, Ruwi gathered in big numbers, raising their voices in unison in praising the Almighty for the gift of Blessed Virgin Mary to the mankind on September 8. The church was brimmed with thousands of faithful as the feast of Our Lady of Nativity, or Monthi Fest as it is popularly known, was celebrated with great fervor and devotion. It was a double celebration for the Konkani-Speaking Mangalorean Community of the Sts Peter and Paul Church, Ruwi, as the faithful were celebrating their 30th year Monthi Fest. The Mangalorean Community from the parish has always been the vanguard of promoting culture, nourishing native traditions and enhancing fraternal bonds.  Accordingly, the celebration of Monthi Fest is very much looked forward for recreating the fond memories of everyone’s native place and it is one of the premier events hosted by the faithful every year.

The celebration of Monthi Fest 2017 in Sts Peter and Paul Church, Ruwi commenced with nine days of novena prayers on August 30. The days of novena are a preparation for the Monthi Fest and harvest feast for the whole family. The novena began each day with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist mass with spiritual enrichment through sermons, bestowed on the huge congregation in Konkani, by Fr Roshan D’Souza, capuchin, the visiting priest from, Holy Family Capuchin Church Brahmavar, Udupi district.

At the end of the novena and Eucharistic celebrations on each day, mainly the children and the crowd, offered flowers in a ceremonious manner to Infant Mary. Treats were distributed every day to children, sponsored by the humble faithful of the Mangalorean community. The grotto was illuminated in a graceful white-and-blue combination which uplifted the celebration mood.

Fr Roshan stressed the need of accepting the Blessed Virgin Mary as mother, guide and care taker of the Christian families. Fr Roshan further stressed that this feast of nativity is the feast of family that connects us well with our roots and traditions. Virtues of Mother Mary and her role in leading us to her son, Jesus, was the basis of the homily shared by Fr Roshan D Souza.

Showering of flowers ceremony near the Grotto, on the feast day, September 8, started sharp at 8.15 pm. Over 500 little children gathered in front of the church grotto with flowers spreading the excitement of the birthday celebration of Mother Mary, setting the mood right for the congregation to involve wholly. The gathered faithful sang the hymn ‘Sakkad Sangatha Melyaam with the choir and the procession heading in reverence, led by Stanley T H Fernandes, (Dattu), carrying the Bambino, followed by the new corn carried by Anita and Cyril Danthi. Holy pictures for the blessing were carried by Henry D’Souza and Naveen Mascarenhas, Eucharistic ministers, the Altar servers and the celebrant priests joined the procession for onward ceremony and blessing in poise and devotion. Fr Roshan D’Souza blessed the new paddy and the holy pictures during the Novena near the decorated stage near to the Grotto and children showered flowers while singing ‘Moriyek Hogolsiyan’ hymn. Novem (Paddy corns) was brought from India for the occasion by an ardent faithful Cyril Danthi which was sufficiently catered to all the four churches all over Oman.

Solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the church on September 8 was led by Fr Marian Miranda as the main celebrant with Fr Roshan D’Souza as co-celebrant. At the start, Sunil Furtado, president of the Mangalorean Catholic Centre of the Parish welcomed the congregation on behalf of Mangalorean community.

A melodious Mangalorean choir led by Maestro Apolinaris D’souza was the highlight of the evening celebrations for the nine days as well as on the feast day, which helped the devotees to participate in the Eucharistic celebrations in a more meaningful way.

Fr Marian Miranda, assistant parish priest and the spiritual advisor of Konkani Community from the parish proposed the vote of thanks. Special thanks were extended to the guest priest Fr Roshan D’Souza for his spirit filled homilies for all the nine days novena. Fr Marian also thanked the parish priest Fr Raul Ramos and assistant parish priest Fr Bijo for their whole hearted support and prayers.

Fr Marian also appreciated and thanked the Nativity Feast committee led by Mangaloreans steered by Valerian Peres. He was in praise of the choir, the altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, the ushers, the sponsors, the church staff and all who have worked tirelessly to make this celebration of Monthi Fest 2017, possible in utmost gaiety and grandeur.

Fr Marian also thanked the community parishioners who supported wholeheartedly for the preparation of ‘Noven Jevan’ and arranging refreshments for the children during the nine days of Novena. He also thanked the companies who supported with their food products for goodie bags distributed to the children.

Fr Marian stressed that the birthday of Blessed Virgin Mary which is celebrated with blessing of the new corn, and family meal is one of the hallmarks of Mangalorean Catholic community. The goody bags for the kids and blessed corn, the holy picture of Mother Mary with a meaningful prayer to our beloved Mother, as a souvenir were distributed to all the faithful after the mass.

The cultural programme began immediately after the mass with a welcome to the priest, guest priest and president of the Nativity committee. Prayer was led by Fr Marian Miranda with blessings of the food. The cultural programme had something for everyone in the gathering with melodious live singing by young vibrant singers, and scintillating dances. At the end of the programme, Baila was performed. The compere for the cultural programme of the evening was Dilip Correa. The entire programme was coordinated by Naveen Mascarenhas.

Fr Marian Miranda in his address praised the efforts of the Nativity Feast Celebration Committee led by main coordinator Valerian Peres, along with Stanley Fernandes, Henry Martis, Clita Crasta, Dilip Correa, Helen Lobo, Henry D'Souza, Jessie Pereira, Lancy Lobo, Mariete Fernandes, Michael Pasanna, Monica Dantis, Naveen Mascarenhas, Peter Misquith, Philomena Saldanha, Stany Suares and Sunil Furtado, Paul D'Souza, for promoting culture and traditions and playing an important role in strengthening the filial bonds among the Mangalorean Catholic expatriates in the Sultanate of Oman.

Keeping up the tradition of the harvest festival, authentic Mangalorean vegetarian dinner was served. The preparation of the home prepared ‘Noven Jevan’ for the first time, was initiated by Helen Lobo, well supported by her brother George Andrade and many other enthusiastic dedicated team of 35 people, was indeed praiseworthy. Stany Fernandes volunteered his house for cooking the ‘Jevan’ with all the facilities required. More than 50 volunteers gathered at the church compound led by Helen Lobo to serve the ‘Noven Jevan’. The tireless efforts of Helen Lobo, and her team and the volunteers paid off and the delicious home-cooked food was appreciated by one and all.

The entire Mangalorean community of Ruwi parish along with other community faithful and also from neighboring parishes, flocked together as one family of the mother church to celebrate the Nativity of our Mother, which proved to be a 30th year, magnificent Monthi Fest 2017 celebration.

The evening came to an end with the recitation of ‘Laudate Domino' by Fr Marian Miranda, Stany ‘Dattu’, and Nativity Feast Committee team.

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Title : Oman: Monthi Fest celebrated at Sts Peter and Paul Church, Ruwi


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