Sharjah: The spirit of joy blossomed once again in St Michael’s Church, Sharjah, as the Konkani Catholics came together to celebrate Monthi Fest, the Feast of the Nativity of Mother Mary. This grand celebration was organized by the St Michael’s Mangalorean Konkani Community (SMMKC), under the guidance of the community’s spiritual director, Fr Denis Saldanha, the community coordinator, Alwyn Coutinho, and the dedicated core team members of SMMKC.
The celebration commenced with Triduum Retreat and Novena prayers. Throughout the Novena days people gathered in big numbers for Holy Rosary, Eucharistic adoration and Holy Eucharistic celebration. After Holy Mass all faithful proceeded towards the cradle of Infant Mother Mary with flowers singing the cherished traditional song “Sakkad Sangatha Melyan and showed honor to infant Mother Mary with the hymn “Moriyek Hogollsiyan. Rev. Fr Prashanth Noronha, the Vice Rector and Director of Studies at the Institute of “Philosophy and Religions” Kripalaya, Mysore was the Triduum preacher. His inspiring talks and spirit filled prayers made the Novena days a joyful spiritual journey for the happy celebration.
On Sep 9 the festive celebration began at 9:45 am with blessing of newly harvested “Khanshi” (rice corn) by our Spiritual Director Rev. Fr Dennis Saldanha. A large number of Konkani speaking faithful gathered to offer flowers to Mother Mary at the church quadrangle. A meaningful procession with new corns and the Infant Mary statue preceded the Solemn Eucharistic celebration. The Solemn Mass was presided by Rev. Fr Prashanth Noronha. The priests of the St Michael who concelebrated added much to the solemnity of the day. Approximately 3000 Konkani Catholics took part in the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration. The choir filled the hearts of the participants with their joyful and melodious singing. The liturgy and the choir were appreciated by all.
Various competitions were organized for children as well as families. It was heartwarming to witness a large number of children and adults showcasing their remarkable talents in singing, elocution and family skits. The zeal and enthusiasm of the participants were truly inspirational and encouraging for all.
After Solemn Mass, a cultural program unfolded in the parish hall, where approximately 100 adults and children captivated the audience with their graceful dancing and compelling acting. The congregation swayed to the prayer dance by tiny tots, mashup songs and entertaining skits by the community youth, all expertly orchestrated by the Master of Ceremonies, Roshan Dsilva, who kept the crowd engaged until the end. Winners and participants of competitions were awarded prizes.
The blessed Khanshi and Noven Jewan food packets were distributed to the attendees, along with goody bags for children. The congregation dispersed to the foot-tapping Baila music played by the community band ‘Beyond C8’.
Monthi Fest 2023 was an unforgettable experience for the members of Sharjah’s Konkani Catholic community. The solemn celebrations were possible due to the generous support of various members of the community as well as the parish such as Lay Ministers, Volunteers, members of the Konkani Prayer Group (KPG), altar servers, choreographers and supporters who proactively embraced various big and small responsibilities.
The entire community felt a spirit of spirituality and joyful elation in line with the Magnificat antiphon “My Soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46).
Monthi Fest 2023 celebrated at St Micheals Church in Sharjah