Nairobi: For the third successive year, the Kanara Konkani Catholics of Nairobi (KKCN) celebrated the Monti Fest with the local faithfuls at Consolata Shrine, Westlands Naiorbi here, on September 12.
Prior to the year 2013, the very few Kanara Catholic families residing in Nairobi used to meet in any one of the member’s house, celebrate the Eucharist and share a traditional vegetarian meal to remind themselves of their roots, and also to assist the next generation to learn, appreciate and continue the culture.
Since the year 2013, they started encouraging the local faithful to join them, especially after the installation of the 2.8 metre tall statue of Our Lady Consolata at the Grotto in Consolata Shrine, which was manufactured in Mangaluru and donated to the shrine by the KKCN members.
It has been a practice since 2013 to hold the Novena in preparation for the feast for nine consecutive Saturdays (to allow more faithful to participate), by way of reciting Rosary in candle lit procession, Novena prayer, showering of the flowers, followed by short reflection on chosen theme on Mother Mary. For this year, it was on the various apparitions of our Mother and were given by priests from the Divine Word Missionaries congregation in Nairobi.
On Saturday, September 12, the Eucharistic celebration at the Altar near the Grotto was presided over by Fr Leo Fernando SVD, along with Fr Daniel Bertea IMC, parish priest of Consolata Shrine and Fr Francis Viotto, Asst parish priest.
More than 120 faithful gathered for the celebration, the majority of whom were locals. This is a three fold increase since 2013 signifying an increase in popularity and participation from the locals in this cultural festival.
Fresh corns, which is staple food and used commonly in Kenya, was blessed during the Eucharistic celebration instead of the paddy stalks and were distributed to the heads of each family/institution. The origin of this festivity, blessing of the harvest, its Liturgist symbolism and sharing it with the family was explained to the faithful and was much appreciated, with many of them wanting to carry forward this practice, especially blessing of the harvest.
After the Eucharist, all the faithful participated in singing the Konkani hymns (Sokkod Sngatha and Moriyek Hogolsiyan) while honoring our Mother with showers of flowers.
Michael Sequeira (Gurkaraam of KKCN) along with Wilson D’Souza and their team had made all the arrangements for the celebration. Everyone was served with refreshments after the celebration.
On the following day, Sunday, September 13, KKCN members met at the residence of Basil Serrao along with their friends to celebrate the festival in a traditional way.