Report by SWAK Correspondent
Photography Allen Cardoza
Salmiya, Sep 20: Mangalorean Catholics around the world celebrate the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary as MonthiFesth (Feast) with religious fervor and gaiety.
“Monthi” is the Konkani name for Mother Mary. The Catholic church assigns a birth date for feasts only for Jesus Christ, St John the Baptist, and Mother Mary. Whereas for others, it’s usually based either on the date of a saint’s death, or if the date has a special significance in the saint’s life, or some other meaningful event for a particular saint. In the case of the Nativity feast, it is celebrated on 8th of September, nine months after 8th of December, which is when the church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
The feast of the new harvest coincides with the birthday of Our Lady on September 8. In gratitude for a bountiful yield, the new crop is blessed and prayed over and celebrated with entire family as a mark of unity.
The members of Shirva Welfare Association Kuwait (SWAK) along with family members met at the basement of TRV Restaurant Building, Salmiya on Friday, September 15 to celebrate Monthi Festh, the birthday of Mother Mary.
The celebration of the day commenced with introductory note by the Emcee of the event Clifford D'Souza who highlighted the details of triduum celebrations and importance of this harvest festival, feast of the family in accordance with the feast of Nativity of Mother Mary.
Thanksgiving prayer and a recitation of Rosary was led by committee member Doris Lobo. Novena hymn "Sakkad Sangatha Melyan ani Morriyek Hogalsiyan" sung in unison by one and all among the present. Simultaneously, floral offering was done to Maria Bambina by kids & adults.
Further, there was a wonderful welcome speech by President Alban DSouza who welcomed all the guests and family members of the Association and with the help of SWAK secretary Lona DSouza he offered floral bouquets to distinguish guests.
Blessed Novem in Milk was served to the gathering. SWAK's spiritual director Fr Noel Vinay Almeida delivered the festive message by highlighting the importance of Mother Mary’s role in Jesus Christ’s life. He also reminded Shirvaiates that they have a special bonding with Mother Mary because she is the Patron of the Shirva Church.
Just after the Novem distribution, Clifford DSouza announced the news of tenure completion and transfer of Fr Noel Vinay Almeida to his native place after successfully completing almost 12 years of commendable service to the Roman Catholic community in Kuwait. He was honored by SWAK with a shawl & a basket of fruits along with a praiseworthy citation and a memorable gift to treasure fond memories of our community. He expressed his love & gratitude to our association through his farewell address stating that he initially came to Kuwait as an ordinary missionary but subsequently he continued with his divine service to the Church with the wholehearted love & support from our community. He promised to continue in the service of the Lord with the same passion wherever he is posted. He revealed that he had the interest of being a priest since his childhood & had particularly been attracted to the Capuchin Friars due to the simplicity in their lifestyle. He also asked us to keep him in our daily prayers and promised to recite once decade of rosary for us all.
During the celebration, the host conducted various spot prizes and entertained the gathering through various games. Towards the close, HousieHousie was conducted by Clifford DSouza & Vice President Robert Mathias.
Grace before meal was recited by SWAK’s Spiritual Director. The pinnacle of this celebration was the appetizing Vegetarian Meal prepared by Flavors Confectionary which was served in a traditional style on banana leaves. The community dining symbolizing the harvest meal in unison as one family was indeed the essence of this celebration.
SWAK managing committee have put in their best efforts to make this event a fruitful and memorable one which shall be remembered by all the family members.
Roshan Rodrigues who was in charge of the sound managed the show while playing divine hymns & soulful music which lent a soothing atmosphere.
At the close, vice president Robert Mathias gave vote of thanks by praising Almighty God for gracing a wonderful day with complete success and thanked the event organizers as well as all the family members for putting in their individual efforts to stage this memorable day out with great success and joy.
The entire proceedings of the feast day celebration was compered impressively by SWAK’s media representative Clifford D'Souza.