Melbourne Konkan Community celebrate Monti Fest

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By Ambrose Cornelio
Bellevision Media Network

Melbourne, 14 Sep 2017: It was Saturday, September 9, the dark clouds hovered the blue skies of Melbourne and the sun sheepishly hiding behind these clouds. The meteorological bureau had predicted rains on this day, and I thought the forecast would be true. I looked up at the sky and prayed fervently to Mother Mary. In a couple of hours the prayers were answered.  I knew that Mother Mary with her gracious eyes of mercy smiled, and moved the clouds to hinterland. The sun came out shining bright to herald the feast of Nativity in Melbourne hosted by the young and dynamic Melbourne Konkan Community (MKC).


Come 4.00pm, a huge crowd of around 500 had gathered at Santa Maria College, Northcote for the veneration of Mother Mary traditionally called as Monthi fest.  Santa Maria College established in 1904 by the sisters of the Good Samaritan was an ideal place to celebrate this event. Mangalorean families from all walks of life that have spread out all over Melbourne had come in as a single family to mark this occasion, commemorating as a family festival of love, peace and emotions. Children had brought beautiful flowers from their garden in numerous platters and baskets to venerate the statue of Mother Mary which was in the main open ground of the precinct. And what a beautiful sight it was, everyone looked resplendent in their festive attire, men in their Royal Kurta or dark tailored suits, ladies in glittering salwar kameez or embroidered saris, and bubbly children dressed in their finery all gathered in the Royal Garden of Eden to honor our divine Mother.


The Holy Mass began with the welcoming of the priests and introduction of the feast by Lolita Pinto. The Holy Mass was celebrated by four priests with the Main celebrant being Fr. Anil Mascarenhas who was ordained that morning at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. He was ably assisted by Fr Boniface Pinto (St Joseph Seminary, Mangalore), Fr Albert Crasta (Gangolli parish, Udupi diocese) who also happens to be the maternal uncle of the newly-ordained priest Fr Anil Mascarenhas, and our evergreen and always a helping hand Fr Prakash Cutinha. A grand choir led by Valerian Menezes and his group added luster to the Holy Mass, in particular the beautifully sung hymns by the Group to our Mother Mary praising her divinity. The collection made during the Offertory was donated to the Saint Theresa Foundation.


The homily was beautifully said by Fr Boniface Pinto. Fr Boniface was very happy to see such a huge Mangalorean crowd outside of Mangaluru, who had gathered collectively from all over Melbourne as a single family, which reminded him of the nativity celebrations back home in Mangaluru. In his homily he also stressed on strong family values drawing inspiration from Mother Mary as our Divine Mother.









After the Holy Mass, felicitations were arranged for the newly ordained priest Fr Anil Mascarenhas. And what a proud moment it was for Fr Anil as the felicitation was witnessed by his parents who came all the way from Mangaluru to witness this auspicious occasion.


The stage was then rearranged for the cultural programs, which was tailored by Jane D’Souza (MKC cultural secretary). The entertainment program which included dance performances based on Bollywood themes and folk dances from the local west coast of India, in addition to a ‘Jokes’ program by the ‘Ek chur Hasoya’ team. MKC would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the participants for providing eye catching and sound entertainment to the crowd. In between, companies such as, Nikee Business group, FiltaFry Northern, Sweet India, Delivery Centric and SMS Accounting Partners, who as Platinum and Gold sponsors were felicitated for their sponsorship. Silver sponsors were also felicitated.  Dolly Cutinho (MKC president) on behalf of the Melbourne  Konkan Community thanked all the sponsors and appreciated their generosity. A vote of thanks was then read out by Stevin Carvalho (MKC secretary).


Soon after this, dinner was served. Fr Prakash Cutinha prayed the grace over the meals. The dinner menu cooked by the Vindaloo Caterers and served by the MKC members with support from few volunteers included several delicious vegetarian meals and the red chilli fried fish. It also included the traditional vorn and bundhi laddu. A meal with a variety of vegetable preparations is an important part of the celebration of Monti fest. The guests commended the quality and taste of the authentic traditional meal.


Soon after the dinner meal when people were having their siesta, Housie Housie hosted by Manoj D’Silva was well played, and the top prize winner took home a TV with others winning Movie family vouchers.  The collection made by the sale of the Housie Tickets after deducting the prize money was donated to the Mangalore Africa Mission in Tanzania run by Fr Alwyn D’Souza and his team.


And it is anybody’s guess what followed next, to close the event. It was the Baila. All old and young came on to the dance floor in front of the stage and moved their hips to the Baila tunes.


Overall the Nativity feast celebration hosted by the MKC was a resounding success and we sincerely thank all the MKC members and their friends and families for their attendance. We also thank the bright and young Roshan Alphonso and his lovely wife Rowina Alphonso for compering the show which was well appreciated by the crowd. Also finally, we all personally thank all the MKC core committee members for their tireless efforts investing their time and energy to make this Monthi fest a great success. Without their guidance and influence generated within the community and their sincere dedication and commitment to the committee, we would not be able to stage such a tremendous success to go down the Memory lane and an evening to be cherished for many many days to come.



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