Abu Dhabi: The Konkani Community of St. Paul’s Church, Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, celebrated St. Francis Xavier Feast 2017 on December 2 with great fervour. The celebration began at 5.30 PM with the recitation of the rosary near the Grotto of Mother Mary, where Rev. Fr. Valerian Fernandes, OFM Cap, Chancellor, AVOSA and Rev. Fr. Dinesh Mendonca, OFM Cap were present. The statue of St. Francis Xavier was taken inside the church with a glorious procession by the congregation and soon the festive mass began.
The main celebrant of the mass as Rev. Fr. Dinesh Mendonca, OFM Cap and the co-celebrant was Rev. Fr. Valerian Fernandes, OFM Cap. Over 600 devotees attended the festive mass.
Soon after the holy mass, the cultural programme was kicked off in the St. Francis of Assisi Hall, where John D’Lima, Treasurer of Konkani Community Apex team welcomed the guests and introduced the emcees – Jennifer Gomes and John D’Costa – to the audience. The cultural programme began with a prayer dance which was performed by Sienna, Natasha and Serra.
The main coordinator of the Konkani Community, Robert Pinto, welcomed the priests Rev. Fr. Valerian Fernandes, OFM Cap, Chancellor AVOSA, Rev. Fr. Paul Koenig OFM Cap Custos AVOSA, Rev. Fr. Annie Xavier OFM Cap, Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Eugene Mattioli, OFM Cap Asst. Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Jesumonica and guests of honour, Gordon D’Souza and Robert D’Souza, to dais for felicitation where flower bouquets were exchanged as a token of love and gratitude for their continued support to the Konkani community.
After the prayer, the traditional lighting of lamp was done by all the priests, guests of honour and members of the Konkani Community Apex Team. A huge special cake was cut in commemoration of the occasion of St. Francis Xavier’s feast by all present on the dais. During this time, the emcee invited all the people who celebrate their birthdays during the month of December, to dais. Refreshments like cake and juice was distributed to the gathering.
Rev. Fr. Annie Xavier, praised the Konkani community for their active participation not only in community activities but also in church activities. He praised Rev. Fr. Ashok Gonsalves for his service to the Konkani community and mentioned that everyone missed him since he was transferred to his diocese in Mumbai at the end of his tenure as assistant. Parish Priest. Rev. Fr. Valerian Fernandes spoke about the St. Xavier and how powerful his faith in God was. Rev. Fr. Paul also spoke on the occasion and praised the community and for their unity.
In order to start the cultural programme, the emcee requested the chief coordinator, Robert Pinto, to escort the priests and the other distinguished guests of honour to their respective seats.
St. Francis Xavier’s hymn was sung by Zarina, Maria, Nicole, Rene, Anitha, Serra, Suzan, Franskin, Joshua and Dominic to kick off the cultural celebrations. Noel D’Costa provided the music for the hymn.
The highlight of the day’s activities was the small kids’ dance which was performed by Riona, Bellisha, Stacy, Giana, Keith, Steev, Dhillon, and Nathan. The children of Mussafah won the hearts of all the people gathered and there was a roaring applause and requests for an encore.
The main attraction of the cultural programme was the enactment St. Francis Xavier’s life which was written and directed by Blessila Vas. The play received a standing ovation from the audience who appreciated the effort put into the play by the artistes as well as the support staff.
The witty comedy presented by Jossie and Simpson made the gathering laugh heartily.
The teens’ dance was performed by Diona, Siena, Rishona, Riona, Serra, Ethan, Ian, Cleon, Roydon and Justin, which made people tap their feet along and was an eye catching performance. The evening’s final programme was a dance performance by the adults. The dancers were Marlin, Simpson, Bentis, Daisy, Cardin, Cia, Praveen and Maria. The audience enjoyed each and every moment of the programme. During the programme, lots of spot prizes were also distributed.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Robert Cardin, who thanked each person for their co-operation in making the programme a great success. He also thanked their sponsors, donors, ushers and especially the community people who support each and every event of the Konkani community and sought their support for future events.
Cultural Secretary Lawrence D’Souza appreciated the efforts put in by all the artistes and requested the community members to send their children to take active part in their future programmes.
Rev. Fr. Eugene Mattioli said grace and blessed the food. The traditional pork dish was the special item on the menu and was a delicacy enjoyed by all along with the other dishes.
The “baila” dance for all prompted the people to come on to the floor and dance. The programme was concluded by singing the Laudate Domino. It was a memorable festive evening that enjoyed and cherished by all.