Monthi Fest Grand Celebration held in Washington DC

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By Malin Mendonca
Pics By Roshan D’Souza & Peter Dalbhanjan

Washington DC, 16 Sep 2017: The Feast of the Nativity of our Lady was celebrated on September 10th by The DC Mangalorean Association in collaboration with the Indian American Catholic Association (IACA). This spectacular celebration took place at the All Saints Catholic Church, Manassas, Virginia on a bright and beautiful Sunday morning. The church was filled with people from different parts of South Asia including India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well as many Americans, all coming together to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


As per tradition, the service began with the Veneration of Infant Mary. The children followed Infant Mary, which was carried by Gracy D’Souza into the church and showered her with flowers while the choir played and sang “Sakkad Sangatha Melyan” and “Moriyek Hogolsiyan”.


It was an honor and blessing to have 3 celebrants travel all the way from India who were visiting the DC area to attend the 20th Annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni conducted at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on September 9th. His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, our main celebrant began the service stating how proud he was that all the Indians and South Asians were working so hard to keep traditions alive even though we were so far from India. An inspiring homily was delivered by Most Rev. Leo Cornelio, SVD, Archbishop of Bhopal, India. He ended the homily with God bless America and everyone who resides in this country, which drew a loud applause from the entire congregation. We also had with us Most Rev. P. Thomas Paulsamy, Bishop of Dindigul, Tamil Nadu as the co-celebrant, Rev. Fr. Lee Ross, Pastor of the All Saints Church and Rev. Fr. Anil Gonsalves. At the end of the service, the IACA President, Mr. Harold Dsouza spoke a few words thanking everyone.



After mass, the crowd proceeded to the Church Hall where the aromas of the sumptuous ‘Novein Jowaan’ filled the air. Our Master of Ceremony, Shalini Nazareth- Kapur, (IACA Executive Committee) kicked off the afternoon by calling on the President of the DC Mangalorean Association, Mrs. Carol D’Souza to welcome the gathering. Carol Dsouza welcomed the priests to the gathering by having the children of the Mangalorean Association offer flower bouquets to our honorable guests. Bishop Thomas Paulsamy said a meaningful prayer and blessed the fresh paddy along with the food. This blessed paddy was crushed and then added to Vorn and the crowd broke for lunch.


A crowd of over 300 attendees were treated to an authentic traditional ’Novein Jowaan’, prepared by the families of the Mangalorean Association residing in Maryland, Viriginia, DC areas. As tradition has it, the lunch included odd number of vegetables, a total of 7 in number. The menu included Sambar, Moong curry, Sono Sukkha (Black Channa), Tendli & Kaju Moi (Gherkin with cashews), Sango (Beans), Okra Sukka (Ladyfinger), Karamb (cucumber & coconut mix). After lunch, delicious vorn, carrot halwa and ice cream was served and relished by everyone. There was enough food to feed everyone with left overs to share - a sign of divine intercession from Mother Mary who was always known to depict abundance.


After lunch, the much anticipated cultural program began with the heavenly voice of Anjalika Silva (Sri Lanka) playing on the piano and singing ‘Amazing Grace’. It was very well conducted with much enthusiasm by the Emcee, Shalini Nazareth-Kapur. There were amazing performances from different communities which included a Trumpet performance and a dance performance from the Bangla community, a piano performance, multiple songs, a play titled GPS from the Goan community, a Bharatnatyam performance from the Tamil community, a hymn, fashion show and a play titled - Sairik Sodchen” from the Mangalorean community. The Goan troupe played a collection of classic numbers at the end and entertained the crowd. The crowd had a wonderful afternoon cheering the talents of the various communities that came together so beautifully.


Jefreena Packinathan (Vice- President, IACA) thanked the gathering and delivered the vote of thanks. Mr. Harold Dsouza (President, IACA) handed each of the esteemed guests a Plaque commemorating 20 years of the Pilgrimage for our Lady of Vailankanni conducted at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and felicitated them.


The event concluded with Most Rev. Leo Cornelio, SVD, (Archbishop of Bhopal, India), saying a few words. Being a native of Mangalore, he also spoke in Konkani which touched us. He was very happy to be part of this event. He said he was proud that we were carrying forward our Mangalorean traditions in another country and requested us to continue doing so.


By the Grace of Infant Mary and blessings of all the elders, Monthi Fest 2017 turned into a one of a kind memorable event. Thank you to all the wonderful people who attended this event, shared food, performed, organized the show, volunteered to setup and clean up and to every single one present who made it a successful event. God bless us all.


To stay updated on activities, events and information on the joining the DC Mangalorean Association - and the Indian American Catholic Association –


Monti Fest 2017 celebrations around the World



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