Sharjah: St Michael’s Mangalorean Konkani Community (SMMKC) Sharjah celebrated Monthi Fest on September 9, under the guidance of spiritual director Fr Stephen Lewis. The celebration was joyfully observed with social distancing and Covid protocols as per local regulations and guidelines of Sharjah Government Authorities.
The Celebration was initiated with nine days’ novenas lead by the Konkani Prayer Group of St Michaels Church, Sharjah. The novenas included devotional hymns, Gospel readings, flower showering to infant Mother Mary by Fr Stephen, and the Holy Eucharistic Celebration. The novenas concluded with spiritual nourishing talks the last 3 days, by Fr Clifford Fernandes from Mangalore.
In order to encourage enthusiastic and joyful participation, 3 competitions were held during novena days for children and families. For the kids, Konkani Marian hymn singing contest, Monthi Fest traditions speech contest, and a family Mother Mary’s altar decoration (showering flowers at home) competition. Over 50 children and 14 families participated actively in these competitions. Their devotion and passion to observe Mother Mary’s nativity were unmatched.
The festal celebration was held on September 9 at 7.45 pm. Twelve children above 12 years of age offered flowers to Mother Mary at the church grotto and a sizeable gathering of Konkani Christians participated in the Solemn High Eucharistic Celebration. Fr Stephen, Fr Savarimuthu (Parish priest of St Michaels Church), and Fr Arun led the Prayer service. The service began with the traditional hymn “SakkadSangathaMelyan” and flowers were showered to infant Mother Mary with the singing of “MoriyekHogollsiyan”. The new “Khanshi” (rice corn) was blessed at the grotto and then brought into the church in a procession. The statue of Infant Mary was carried ceremoniously and placed before the altar during the Eucharistic celebration.
The Solemn High Mass was presided over by Fr Stephen Lewis and con-celebrated by Fr. Savari Muthu and Fr Arun.The Mangalorean Choir led by Godwin D’Souza and team in solemn singing during the holy masswasmuch appreciated and applauded by the entire gathering. After the mass, competition winners were given trophies. Tokens of appreciation were also given to various groups and individuals who provided stellar service to the Konkani community in 2021. Fr Stephen Lewis and Mr. Ronald Dsouza, the head of SMMKC addressed the gathering and congratulated the Committee for organizing such a wonderful and memorable celebration. They also thanked the local authorities, congregation, community members, various individuals & sponsors for offering their help and support during such difficult times. After the high mass, khanshi and novenjewan food packets were distributed to the gathering as they dispersed.
Monthi Fest 2021 was a memorable one for SMMKC members. Despite the difficult times of the Covid19 pandemic, the community still managed to experience beautifully and devotionally one of Mangalore’s most revered tradition. Everyone returned home joyfully and with a firm belief that Monthi Fest 2022 will be a normal, solemn and wonderful celebration as it used to be all these past years.