Washington, Sep 23: This year’s feast of the Nativity of Our Lady was celebrated on Saturday, September 16 by the members of the Mangalorean Catholic Association (MCA) of Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The celebration took place at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, VA with an approximate crowd of 120 people. The service began with the veneration of Infant Mary at the church’s indoor vestibule in front of Mother Mary’s statue.
The children and adults all dressed in traditional Indian attire walked in a procession, gathered around Mother Mary’s statue and showered her with flowers while the choir was singing traditional Konkani hymns - ‘Sokkod Sangatha Meliyaan' and 'Moriyek Hogolsiyan'.
After the flower showers, the Mass was celebrated in Konkani and English by Fr Brian Coelho, pastor of St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Indian Head. The Konkani and English choir was led by Malin Mendonca. The MCA Committee members - Clint Almeida was the lead guitarist while Prema Dsouza-Crasta, Reynel Castelino, and Prashwini Sequeira were the lead vocalists along with the MCA families children and adults. The older children did the readings and the younger ones were a part of the offertory procession.
Nathan Dsouza was the altar server and there were volunteers to help with the collection. The Mass brochure, outlining the programme and hymns, was designed, and printed by MCA treasurer Brian D’Souza with the help of Wilma Tauro. Before the conclusion of the Mass, the MCA secretary Renita Nazareth, thanked the various coordinators, choir members and volunteers involved in successfully organizing the mass.
After mass, the attendees gathered in front of the altar to take a group picture. They then proceeded to the school hall for the traditional Monthi fest luncheon which involved traditional home cooked vegetarian dishes by each of the MCA families. The hall was already decorated by the MCA committee and food tables were decorated with banana leaves and other traditional display items.
Before lunch, the MCA vice president Julia Dante gave a speech welcoming everyone to the event, she also introduced and thanked each of the committee members for their hard work and contribution in making this event successful. She also thanked all the volunteers, especially those involved in successfully organizing the mass, choir and handling the school kitchen/cafeteria to serve the food. She then invited Fr Brian to bless the Novem(new harvest crop from India). Fr Brian prayed for all the families gathered at the hall and for a bountiful harvest this year. It was crushed and added to milk and distributed to everyone before lunch. All the members present enjoyed the traditional Monthi fest meal which was followed by Mangalurean dessert - Vorn. They were reminiscing about the good old childhood days in India while enjoying their meal and catching up with fellow members.
There was a talent show soon after lunch that involved a myriad of acts including singing, dancing, poetry recital, skipping, hoola hoops, playing the piano and violin. The kids gave their best to entertain the crowd and it was the highlight of the day. On behalf of the committee Herald Moras and Irene Pinto, guests from India, gave all the participants a special treat for their performances. The talent show was followed by tea, samosas and sweets.
The advisory committee members, V James Dante were thanked for coordinating the logistics of booking the venue and arranging the Konkani priest for the Mass, Esmie Wright for acknowledging the hard work of the committee and the participation for the event, and Juliet Vaz sharing the Infant Mother Mary’s statue for the event. All the committee members, their families, volunteers, the entire MCA members at large were thanked for their help and support to make this event a grand success and a memorable one.
The next event of MCA is the Christmas party that will be held on December 9, 2023. One can stay updated on activities, events, and information on Mangalorean Catholic Association of Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia by visiting https://www.mangaloreanassociation.org/