Chicago: As 2.3 billion Christians, almost a third of the world’s population, around the world are poised to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association, celebrated its 14th Christmas program focussing on sharing and giving. It was sunny but one of the coldest days of this year’s winter season. As the temperature was below the freezing point, the Christmas spirit was in full swing with both young and old celebrating Nathal Fest (in Konkani language) in its true spirit.
The program began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Fr Richard Vaz SVD at the historical and beautiful Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Techny Towers. During the Holy Eucharist, the MKCA choir sung Konkani and English hymns under the leadership of Concy Misquita, accompanied by Piano and Flute played by Suraj Misquita, which gave a special touch to the hymns. In his homily, Fr Richie Vaz SVD told the story of how Mary and Joseph accepted the great sacrifice of raising infant Jesus. By narrating a story of a beggar and a Capuchin brother, he said that everyone should accept any small offers made by others since one cannot know the true spirit of a giver. “We are excited to open the packages, the gifts we receive at Christmas. But remember, there is one gift that we continue to unwrap and that is Jesus. Jesus is the only gift that we can keep unwrapping – not just today, but throughout our lifetimes. Jesus understands our human weakness – for he became one of us, one with us,” he said.
At the end of the Holy Eucharist, past president, Queenie Mendonca called the Executive Committee elect for the year 2016-2017 to the altar and presented them to the attendees. In her acceptance speech, president elect, Vissia D’Souza while thanking the outgoing Executive Committee for their successful tenure also introduced the new executive committee members – vice president Roshini Carvalho, secretary Queenie Mendonca, joint secretary Mercy Concesso and treasurer Dorothy Rego – Vissia D’Souza. She further thanked all the members for their confidence in women and promised to keep up to everyone’s expectations and asked for support and guidance going forward. She invited the members present to take an active role in its future programs.
The social program was held at the Indonesian Hall of Techny Towers. The president of the association, Steven D’Souza welcomed all the guests, well-wishers and members present. He invited all the participants to share the Christmas spirit and enjoy the wonderful activities arranged by the organizers. He thanked them for their gracious presence in making the program a success.
The compere of the program, Ashok Monteiro, invited the audience to savor typical Indian appetizers and the open bar. All the couples present enjoyed the ‘couple dance’ to the smooth musical tunes provided by DJ Joey Mendonca.
This was followed by a sumptuous dinner with “Dukramaas” (Pork dish) & Sanna along with other mouthwatering menu items. The program culminated with the singing of “Loudate Dominum” by all the attendees present.
The program was followed with the singing of Christmas Carols by the members present, under the leadership of Concy Misquita. As they sang “Jingle Bells”, Santa Claus made a grand entry. The arrival of Santa sent electric waves to the children present. They were all mesmerized and happy to receive gifts from Santa Claus. Santa Claus (Austin Prabhu) entertained everyone present with a special photo shootout and with his humorous comments.
Queenie Mendonca thanked all the audience present for their gracious presence and all those who prepared the “Kuswar” items. The Christmas Kuswar is a typical Mangalorean Konkan Christian culture, whereby families prepare Christmas goodies and share them with their relatives and neighbors during Christmas time – a mark of sharing joy. While going home, all the participants received a packet of Kuswar from the organizers of the program.