By Naveen Frank
Daijiworld Media Metwork
The feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated on September 8, belongs on the list of the Twelve Major Feasts of the Catholic Church. We usually do not celebrate the birthday of the Saints, but rather their "birthday to heaven." But there are two exceptions, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, since we commemorate not only their birthday to heaven, but also their nativity.
The Holy Gospel records very few incidents from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Much of what we follow comes to us from the early tradition of the Church. Tradition says that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joachim and said, "Joachim, rejoice! God has heard your prayer and your wife Anna shall conceive and give birth to a daughter, whose nativity will become joy for the entire world." Consequently, the feast is celebrated in the spirit of general rejoicing and exaltation
The celebration of Mary's nativity was established on September 8, since on that day the basilica in honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was dedicated in Jerusalem.
The parishioners of St Michael’s Church, Sharjah opted to celebrate the feast 2 days in advance.
The merciless desert heat and the soaring humidity did not deter the faithful from flocking in large numbers along with their children to celebrate the birthday of Mother Mary.
A myriad of angelic faces carrying salvers of fresh flowers came along in procession with the statue of the infant Blessed Virgin Mary. Following the singing of the hymn SAKKAD SANGATA MELIAM ( Let us gather together), little children showered flowers . The programme was organized by the Konkani speaking community of St Michael’s Church.
Fr Dinesh Mendonsa, the parish spiritual director, welcomed the gathering and blessed the new corn after which the statute of Infant mother Mary was taken in a solemn procession into the church. The Holy mass was concelebrated by Fr Ani Xavier, Fr Michael and a guest priest Fr Michael Lobo.
The choir did it again. Ably conducted by Lancy Carlo, a confident group of young men and women sang to the music the music of Ramiro Mascarenhas and team that elevated the solemnity of the Holy Eucharist. The non Konkani speaking parish priest made a humble attempt to wish the gathering in Konkani that sent the whole crowd clapping and cheering.
Immediately after the Holy Mass, the spirit of the Lord was invoked in the form of a beautiful prayer song. Soon after , Lancy Carlo welcomed the gathering and invited all the priests and main sponsors on the dais and felicitated them with a bouquet of flowers and a shawl each. While thanking the priests for their spiritual support and the sponsors for the financial help, Lancy Carlo also informed that the surplus collection of last year was sent to India for the education of deserving religious brothers.
An in- between sensation came by way of a brass band played by a group of friends from Goa. They played popular tunes that kept the audience captivated.
The variety entertainment stole the show. It was a perfect blend of Goan and Mangalorean culture so beautifully pictured. The audience was kept entertained with continuous dance , skits, comic gags , brass band performance and more. Tiny tots joined adults alike to give their best on stage.
The whole programme was choreographed by Matty Furtado, Roshan Fernandes, Varsha Gomes and Stevan
A sumptuous vegetarian dinner ( novem) was savored by one and all.