Report by: Stany D'Souza
Photographs by: Anil D'Souza, Mark Rodrigues, and Terry D'Souza
Chicago, Aug 4: The members of Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association (MKCA,USA) along with their families and friends gathered at the Century Park, Vernon Hills, Illinois for their annual picnic and to celebrate India's 61st Independence Day. The weather was perfect for the picnic with full of sunshine and low humidity. The picnic organizers never could have selected a better day than this day for the picnic especially in the month of August.
The program began with the welcome speech by the MKCA President Lawrence Mascarenhas. In his speech Mascarenhas stated that the Association is poised to celebrate its 5th Anniversary on September 6, 2008 during its annual celebration of "Monthi Fest-2008" He specially welcomed the chief guest Jos Anthony Puthenveetil – a well known community activist and the Vice President of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organization of North America (FIACONA). Mascarenhas also thanked everyone for their continued support for the Association.
Founder President Dr. Austin Prabhu introduced the chief guest Jos Anthony Puthenveetil. In his introduction speech Austin praised Jos Anthony Puthenveetil for his tireless efforts in preserving the minority rights and religious freedom back in India. Austin commended his coordinated efforts and brilliant leadership in blocking the non-secular and evil elements entering into the United States by creating awareness among the American Lawmakers. Austin also mentioned how instrumental Jos Anthony Puthenveetil and his team was in a collective effort of non-resident Indians in convincing Washington leadership to deny visa to Modi for his crime against the humanity.
Jos Anthony Puthenveetil., in his speech stated that although India is celebrating its 61st Independence Day, there are efforts by some anti-civic elements existing in political parties and associations, like BJP, VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal etc. to suppress minority religions and make India a Hindu nation. He specifically mentioned the Modi's government in Gujarath, which created genocide by systematically slaughtering minority Muslims in the state. He stated that a case has been filed in London World Court against Narendra Modi for the crime against the humanity and similar efforts are being taken to book him in the United States. He further stated that we need to send clear signals to religious fundamentalists and oppressors like Modi to curtail their encouragement to terrorist outfits in the name of some political parties and organized associations. He reminded that with the unified efforts of all the people of Indian origin in the United States, we can effectively restrain people like Modi in promoting religious terrorism in secular India. He also stated that in spite of efforts by these ill-fated communal outfits to derail the progress made in India, it is great to see the most populous democracy in the world progress and develop under the marvelous leadership of its current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He praised the efforts of MKCA and its leaders for their great contribution in furthering the communal harmony back in India. In a final note, he stated that although our Independence Day is on August 15th, it is great to see enthusiasm in honoring India's Independence Day by this Association.
In recognition of India's 61st Independence Day, Jos Anthony Puthenveetil hoisted the flag and all the members present sang India's national anthem "Jana Gana Mana".
With the hearts beaming with respect to their motherland, the members did not waste the prime time of the day engaging in games like Cricket, Volleyball, Throw ball and Shuttle Badminton. After playing all kinds of games to their heart's content, members joined to savor various home-made snacks and meal provided by the members of MKCA.
The organizing committee under the leadership of Dorothy Rego and Queenie Mendonca arranged variety of sports and games for the children and adults.
The members present enjoyed the day so much that they were not planning to depart the playground even after dusk! The winners of various games were presented with prizes by Ref. Fr. Henry Sequeira.
The Chairperson of the Independence Day and Annual Picnic celebration committee Mrs. Dorothy Rego thanked all the members, well-wishers and guests for their great participation and support for the success of this program. Dorothy specially thanked Eric & Claudette Fernandes for arranging the venue.
The winners are: Musical Chairs: 1st place: Shawn D'Souza; 2nd place: Nayan Menezes
Run, pick and come back: 1st place: Nayan Menezes; 2nd place: Shawn D'Souza
Kids 6 to 12:
Lemon and Spoon: 1st place: Jason Mendonca; 2nd place: Darryl Dias
Freeze Dance: 1st place: Samantha Dias; 2nd place: Jason Mendonca
Apple and oranges: 1st place: Darryl Mascarenhas; 2nd place: Atina D'Souza
Potato sack race: 1st place: Jason D'Souza; 2nd place: Joey Mendonca
Sack Race - Ladies: 1st place: Dr. Merlyn D'Souza; 2nd place: Vissia D'Souza
Sack Race - Men: 1st place: Godwin D'Souza; 2nd place: Fabian Pereira
Water balloon Toss: Godwin D'Souza and Vissia D'Souza
Water balloon Toss – Kids: Angel D'Souza and Shawn D'Souza
Limbo - How low can you go – open to all: 1st place: Sera Joseph; 2nd place: Melanie Quadros