253 Yr old ‘Monti Fest’ Tradition Still Continues at Farangipete Church
‘Monti Fest’ which originated at ‘Monte Mariano Church/Monastery’-Farangipet on 8 September 1763, is still continued by the Catholic faithful with great devotion and fervour- hailing from Omzoor, Farangipet, Merlapadav, Bantwal, Bellore, Fajir, Padil, Mogarnad and Loreto, gathered in large numbers at the Church on 8 September 2016, for 8 am festive Mass. Monte Mariano/St Francis of Assisi Church-Farangipete was built here in 1526.
Mangaluru: The ‘Monte Mariano Church/Monastery-Farangipete has a glorious history that dates back to 1763, where Fr Joachim Miranda, a Goan priest who served as first parish priest cared for the spiritual needs of all the Catholics living across the coast till the foot of Western Ghats. Fr Miranda built a seminary at Farangipet, and owing to his exceptional holiness, Fr Miranda won the friendship of Hyder Ali, the then king of Mysore Kingdom. ‘Monthi Fest’ (feast of Nativity of Mary) was first introduced by him here, followed by all over Karnataka, India and Abroad. The first ‘Monti Fest” originated at this Church, and the first Monti Fest celebration was held here on 8 September 1763. And the tradition still continues with great devotion and fervour as of today, ( 8 September 2016), 253 years later where the catholic faithful assembled in large gathering to honor Baby Mother Mary with flowers and “Sakaad Sangatha Meliyam…Moriyek Hogolsiya” hymn.
‘Monte Mariano Church’ in Farangipet is an ancient Catholic denomination built by the Portuguese which include church, friary, monastery and institution, situated on top of the picturesque hillock on the North bank of Netravathi River, which is run by the Capuchin fathers. And the famous festival known as “Monthi Fest” coinciding with native festival of Mary is celebrated every year, which is an annual feast of the church coming during harvest season which coincides with Sankranti in Karnataka and Andhra, Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Onam in Kerala.
The Catholic faithful, including adults and children hailing from Omzoor, Farangipet, Merlapadav, Bantwal, Bellore, Fajir, Padil, Mogarnad and Loreto gathered at the entrance of Monte Mariano Church, where Fr Gerald Lobo OFM Cap. – the Guardian at St Fidelis Friary (Monte Mariano Church/ St Francis Assisi Church-Farangipete), along with a visiting Diocese priest, Fr Deepak Tauro-Rector of St Albert Seminary-Ranchi, the capital of the Indian state of Jharkhand, blessed the new Paddy stalks (Novem), followed by showering of flowers by the children at the statue of Mother Mary. Later all the devotees marched in procession along with the clergy and altar boys (carrying the blessed Novem) to the Church for the festal mass.
Fr Gerald Lobo in his homily said, ” We should all be proud that ‘Monti Fest’ originated here on 8 September 1763, and 253 years later, we are all happy to celebrate it in grandeur and fervour. Although the history of our Church was not known to the outside world for long long years, but three years back media from Mangaluru and around gave some wide publicity to our Church. And just recently the popular website, Mangalorean.com gave a elaborate coverage of our Church with photographs, thereby spreading the word of our Church near and far. I am very thankful to Alfie D’souza and Mangalorean.com for their support and encouragement to Monte Mariano Church”
Fr Lobo furthers said, “”The nativity of our Lady or the birthday of our beloved mother Mary also called as “Monthi Fest” which is celebrated by Mangalorean Catholic community had its origin in Farangipete. It was started in the month of September because in that month the other religion brethren celebrated their Ganapathi Habba-feast. It uses to last for nine days, and during these nine days they were not eating meat or fish, but only vegetarian. So to inculcate the same kind of tradition among the Catholics, Fr. Joachim Miranda strictly followed nine days novena to be held in honour of Nativity feast, which followed by everyone in their houses. And after blessing the new corn at the church, it was taken home and shared by all family members, along with sumptuous vegetarian meal”
“We should all know that Monti Fest brings families together, it is the process of sharing responsibility among the family and that is where the fun lies in this festival, this is also a way for relatives to know other members and friends of the family that seem to be vanished or are “too busy to call” and for the younger generation to know how tight a family bond is.“Monti festival is the festival of worshiping Mother Nature. Life will become holy while realizing mother’s love. Creating this valuable love in each and every family is the aim and the message behind this “Monti Fest” celebration. This celebration is also a reward given to the farmers for their efforts. We feel proud to celebrate this festival as farm festival in an agricultural country like ours.”
” Monti fest is a boon of prosperity to the mankind. Family with love and affection will be happy forever. Family unity is disappearing nowadays. There is a need to form this unity again and let us secure our family life by practicing this. The role of women is primary in attaining holiness in the family life of Indians who treat women with great honor. But lately respect towards women has been decreasing, and many parents are looking forward for the birth of a boy rather than a girl. This kind of attitude needs to be stopped, because we should know that it was our Mother who gave us birth. Due to this attitude, the population of women in India is decreasing, and men are finding a tough time to find their suitable life partner. While celebrating this feast of Mother Mary, let us honor our Mother and respect the women. Hence it’s our duty to honour this mother” added Fr Gerald Lobo.
Following the festal mass, Fr Gerald Lobo and Fr Deepak Tauro went around the Church and did the blessing of the vehicles parked in the Church premises. Adults and children were then offered free sugar-cane. Through Mangalorean.com, Fr Lobo has conveyed his message by inviting the Catholic faithful and the non-Christians for the “Coventhachem Fest’’ to be held on 9 October, where the Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese, Rev Dr Aloysius P D’Souza will celebrate the feast mass at 10.30 am.
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