So for the first time in its 116-year old history, the Kanara Catholic Association (KCA), Mumbai celebrated the Monti Fest on September 25, 2016, at its Yuvakalaya premises in Bandra. The plan was to give its members, many of whom are born & bred in Mumbai, a true feeling of being in Kodial on a feast day!
Members were greeted with Banana & coconut leaf decorations at the entrance & the ladies were presented with Mogra flowers to adorn their hair! Managing Council member, Mr Eric D’sa, who, as convenor of Monti Fest, planned the entire celebration with his team, welcomed the members & their families at the entrance.
The celebration kicked off with a solemn Mass in Konkani celebrated by Bishop Percival Fernandez assisted by Fr Valerian D’souza, with a melodious Konkani choir led by Mr Wilfred Fernandes. It was heartening to see the active participation of many of our English speaking members who sang & joined in the Konkani hymns & prayers from the booklet specially prepared for the occasion!
The blessing of the new rice/paddy and sugar-cane followed (freshly flown in from the fields of the Konkan the previous day!) and the same was distributed to KCA members. Then came the adoration of Mother Mary with flowers, first by the children & then the adults.
The 2nd Issue of ‘Amchi Khobor’, the newly launched news magazine of the KCA Mumbai, was then released by Bishop Percy in the presence of Ms Angeline Pereira, the daughter of eminent Mangalorean, Mr Allen Pereira, who was featured in the issue. A floral tribute was also paid to the portrait of Dr Stanny Patrao, community stalwart & past President of the KCA, by Dr Kranti Farias, whose literary tribute to him was featured in the Amchi Khobor magazine.
After some light refreshments, members & their families proceeded for the cultural program, put together by the organising team, and led by the effervescent Ms Rolin Furtado, the MC for the day. Mr Wilfred Fernandes and his group provided lively music in Konkani & English, and an entertaining time was had by all – with singing, dancing & games.
Then followed the highlight of the program – the Grand Monti Fest lunch – ‘Novem Jovean’! The traditional menu of nine different vegetable dishes, served on a banana leaf (with Mumbai-style pomfret curry thrown in for variety!), was thoroughly relished by all!
For most KCA members, it was their first experience of a Monti Fest celebration and there were many calls to make this an annual event in the KCA Mumbai calendar! The contribution of Mr Eric D’sa, Mr Albert Machado and Ms Clara Menezes (Vice-President of the Association), ably assisted by the KCA staff, was much appreciated by all.
Among the many Aims & Objectives of the KCA, the first one reads: “To foster a spirit of union & friendship among members and others“. As the gathering slowly left the venue, after a thoroughly enjoyable morning, many of the members expressed that the Monti Fest celebration had achieved just that!!