by Clarence Pinto
Pics: Dilip Correa
Daijiworld Media Network - Muscat
Muscat, Sep 9: They have walked a long way since the humble beginning in the year 1988. Few Konkani Speaking activists living and working in Muscat came together to plan the celebrations of Monthi Fest at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Ruwi. Today, Konkani community is completing glorious twenty years’ of Monthi Fest Celebrations in this vibrant parish spreading the joy of brotherhood and sprinkling the traditional values in the community.
The grandeur of celebrations and magnitude of spiritual devotions expressed in the very traditional extravaganza are impossible to explain but can be said – “Yes, they were simply superb.” The feelings of each and every one involved the organizing committee was truly great and joyful. “We had commenced the celebrations twenty years ago without having slightest thought that this day we will have such a huge crowd in this parish.” says one of the oldest organizing committee members without wishing to state his name showing complete joy and satisfaction on his face. “In these years, we had great Mangalorean leaders being part of this committee inspiring the team and community to have great celebrations. Many of these members have gone from Muscat for better prospects and some of them left this world also. But, it is wonderful experience to witness the other members of the community are able to keep the gaiety Mangalorean tradition and devotion to our Heavenly Mother”
When the preparations were on in the morning of 8th September, sad news of sudden demise of Johncy Pinto, one of the founder members of the Monthi Fest committee, brought sorrows into the minds of the members. He was an active community member and an ardent Konkani activist. It is indeed worthwhile to mention the feelings expressed by Gerry D Mello, one of the stalwarts of Mangalorean Community and presently settled in Canada – “Sad to inform you that Johncy Pinto... one of the pioneers who promoted Konkani in Muscat is no more! Johncy was also one of the leaders inspired the community to promote Konkani art and culture in Oman including the feast of Nativity celebration in the year 1988. I feel really sad that when Konkani community in Ruwi Parish celebrating its 20th feast of Nativity... Johncy is passed away for his heavenly reward.”
Sts Peter & Paul Church compound and grotto were beautifully decorated with glittering lights. Dolphy Frank, Henry D’ Souza and Peter Misquith and their team built a special altar at the grotto for the blessing of the bambino ceremony.
Just before 7.30 pm, children gathered in the main hall with baskets of flowers. For those children who could not bring flowers, there were plenty of flowers made available by the organizers. Each and every child was excited with joy and eagerly looking forward to adore and glorify their beloved Heavenly mother with colorful flowers.
The procession to the grotto was led by one of the prominent Mangalorean leaders of the Ruwi Parish and member of the parish council, Donald Pinto along with Michael and Helen Pinto, Raphael and Florine D’ Souza and Brinston and Shalet Noronha carrying corn, holy pictures and mementos for the ceremony.
The ceremony commenced at the decorated altar at 8.15 pm with the blessings of Bambino (Statue of Infant Mary), holy pictures, corn and mementos by Fr. Roshan Cyril Menezes, former editor of Sevak and well-known Konkani writer. Fr. Raul Ramos, parish priest of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Fr. Albert D Silva, Mangalorean priest of the parish, Fr. George Vadakutt were also present. When choir filled the atmosphere with one of the finest hymns of Monthi Fest “Sokkad songatha mell’eam”, children showered flowers with complete reverence to their Heavenly mother. Nelson D’ Silva, well–known community member, controlled this ceremony.
After the showering of the flowers, Holy Mass commenced in the church. Fr. Roshan Cyril Menezes, visiting Capuchin priest from Bangalore was the main celebrant along with Fr. Raul Ramos, Fr. Albert D Silva and Fr. George Vadakkut.
Holy Mass commenced with an introduction and welcome address by Stanley T. H. Fernandes (“Dattu” of Mangalorean community). The holy readings were presented by Monica Dantis and Calacio Fernandes. Vinita D’ Souza presented the prayers of the faithful and Victor Baptist Pais proposed the vote of thanks on behalf of the organizing committee. Apolinaris D’ Souza presented responsorial psalms with his golden voice showering thrills into the minds and hearts of the faithful.
The choir was just perfect for the devotional extravaganza presenting glorious traditional hymns. Prominent Musician of the parish and music leader of the Mangaloean community Herald Rasquinha along with renowned composer Apolinaris D’ Souza conducted the choir. Musicians for the choir were Meval Dantis and Noel Rasquinha on keyboard, Melroy on Violin, Thomas on Tabla, Benson on guitar and Bernard on Tambourine. Choir was consisting of Dolphy Vaz, Ronald Lobo, Victoria Soares, Nirmala Goveas, Ivan Moras, Joachim D Souza, Valerian Peres, Amanda Lobo, Anita Lobo, Julie Moras, Severine, Philomena Saldhana, Clita Crasta, Flavia D Souza, Jessy Castelino, Jacintha Serrao, Lancy Lobo, Stany Soares, Naveen Mascarenhas and Jovita Sequeira.
After the holy mass holy pictures, corn and mementos were distributed to all the faithful and treat packets were given to all the children. Snacks and soft drinks were also distributed to the faithful.
Konkani speaking community members were in a joyful mood, wishing each other - Bhagi Monthi Fest Tumkam. It was a grand celebration touching the traditions of our motherland in our own mother tongue and expressions of devotion to our Heavenly mother.
Assissi Church - Jebel Ali
St Mary's Catholic Church Dubai
St Michael’s Church Sharjah
St. Joseph’s Cathedral - Abu Dhabi
Holy Spirit Church, Ghala
St. Anne Kutam Thottam - Dubai