Mangaluru: A Family Reunion Bash of ‘Makhale Castelinos’ so Unique, Guests were all Amazed

Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain. The purpose of family is to preserve life-We treat family members the way we’re supposed to treat everyone on the planet. In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. One wants to be together with one’s family. That’s what families are about. A family reunion is an effective form of birth control. Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!

Mangaluru: Whether you get together with your extended family every year, or once a decade, or decades- it’s important to cherish the time you get to spend with with family. In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. One wants to be together with one’s family. That’s what families are about. Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! Generations pass like leaves fall from our family tree. Each season new life blossoms and grows benefiting from the strength and experience of those who went before.

One of the things that binds us as a family is a shared sense of humor. I think the family is the place where the most ridiculous and least respectable things in the world go on. The family is a haven in a heartless world. Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family. Family is essential because we all yearn to feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves. The secret is to make sure your family comes before anything else, because no matter what you you’ve got to come home. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.

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Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain. The purpose of family is to preserve life-We treat family members the way we’re supposed to treat everyone on the planet. In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. One wants to be together with one’s family. That’s what families are about. A family reunion is an effective form of birth control. Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!

Narrating the proceedings of the family reunion to mangalorean.com, Shubha Rodrigues nee Castelino, one of the Castelino family members said, “A group photograph of cousins in Farla, Bantwal at the first holy communion of a child in the family, during May 2015 inspired three cousins, to hold a get together or reunion of the entire family of their grandfather the Late Camil Santhan Castelino (1886-1981) who moved from Makale, Cordel and lived in Jakribettu that previously was part of Agrar Parish in Bantwal.”

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“At one point of time, the execution of the idea that was taking shape seemed to be next to impossible because of the numerous hurdles that were encountered that included ailments among the organizers and a sad unexpected demise in the family. But the determination was so strong that discussions were continued by the organizers from the hospital bed and then there was no turning back. Phone numbers, photographs, data, and dates that were collected by contacting the present members were appended to the genealogy of ‘Makhale Castelinos’ that was provided by Dr. Michael Lobo, Genealogist who is probing roots of the Mangalorean Catholics for more than a decade”.

“On 24th October 2015, the Get Together of the descendants of the late Camil Santhan Castelino was held in Shanti Kiran, Bajjodi. Very Rev. Dr. John Baptist Saldanha, Professor and Head of Chair in Christianity, Mangalore University and Parish Priest of St. Sebastian Church, Permannur blessed the gathering and celebrated the Holy Mass. Roy Castelino, President of the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy and a Makale Castelino himself (grandson of the brother of Camil Santhan Castelino) presided over the function. Dr. Michael Lobo, Genealogist was the chief guest.”

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“There are 155 members in this branch of the Makale Castelino family and of them, 22 have gone to eternal rest. The roots have been traced up to their ancestor Salvador Castelino born in 1770 who returned from captivity in Srirangapatna and married Maria Silva of Cordel during 1799. The get-together was attended by the members of the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th generations. Tradition and customs of the Mangalorean Catholic community were the highlights of the day… After a breakfast consisting of all time favourite ‘panpole-chutney’ and ‘maani’, the guests were welcomed with Jaggery and coconut. There was a display of ancient items that were used in a farmers’ household and by the Castelino’s in Bantwal in their “Pady House”.

“Pady House set up at the venue was opened by the daughter-in-law of Camil Castelino, Mrs.Theresa Castelino.The lighting of lamp by the dignitaries was followed by a short memorial service, where the name(s) of the deceased member was recalled, as an immediate family member walked in prayerful silence with a lit candle in their memory. In his message, Rev. Dr. J. B. Saldanha said, “To be successful in life, it is important to stay connected to our roots, however high we fly”. He explained his experience during his long stay abroad and that he would miss the smell of earth in his motherland. The settings and the ambiance reminded him of his childhood in Bantwal. He appreciated the unity in the family and the efforts put in to bring together one branch of the ‘Makhale Castelinos’, who are recognized in society for their contributions in whichever field they have worked.”

“A 10 minute power point presentation depicting the history of Mangalorean Catholics was viewed by the guests which gave a clear picture of how the migration took place from the year 1560 onwards, highlighting the rule of Portuguese in Goa and the reign of Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the British in Mangaluru. Dr. Michael Lobo in his speech said that the ‘Makhale Castelinos’ were one of the famous families in Mangaluru in the 19th century and he has tried to include as many details as possible in the book on Genealogy of Mangalorean Catholics that is about 9000 pages now and waiting to be published. He also released the Souvenir that contained the genealogy of this branch of ‘Makhale Castelinos’, family-wise photographs and other personal data”.

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“This was followed by another 15 minute power point presentation to introduce the families of the children of Camil Castelino and the old traditions and customs that prevailed in the 20th century. The three daughter-in- laws of Camil Castelino were honoured together with a Religious Sister from the family. While delivering the presidential address, Roy Castelino,expressed immense pleasure on receiving the most valuable gift in the form of the Souvenir which he said he would preserve and connect it to the other branches of the ‘Makhale Castelinos’ that he is planning to explore and include. He appreciated the thought, planning and the efforts put in to organize the perfect program and applauded the organizers Maxim Castelino, Edwin Castelino and Mrs. Shubha Rodrigues nee Castelino (grandchildren of Camil Castelino)”.

“Talking about the power point presentation on ancient customs and articles, Roy said that the Altar and the green and brown family tree cake that was set inside ‘Pady House’ reminded him of the surroundings in his ancestral house in Makhale. He also said that there should be more families coming up like this to establish contact with the branches and connect to their roots. The gathering then joined together for the Holy Eucharistic Celebration.In his Homily, Fr. J. B.Saldanha, referred to names of 4 women in the genealogy of Jesus, who were not so important in the eyes of the world but God had plans for them. He said that Castelino family consists of members with different capacities and talents and God has a plan for each one however great or small we are and we should stay united and connected to our roots. The Holy Mass was con-celebrated by Rev. Fr. Rohan Lobo, Asst. Director of the Pastoral Institute at Bajjodi.”

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“The lunch was served on plantain leaves with traditional items that were relished by all present and concluded with ‘Lau da te’ being sung. Afternoon session was more relaxing with memories being shared, expressing feelings of joy and gratitude to the organizers for a first time experience of such an event and some entertainment and games. Each family member generation wise or relationship wise was given a color badge as they arrived at the venue. This facilitated quick group photographs sessions of 1st, 2nd, 3rd cousins and their spouses. The family members were given copies of the Souvenir and memento and left with a lot of memories after signing and leaving messages on the sign board kept for the purpose” added Shubha. .

The unique program said to be a first time experience for many was aptly compered Anil Monteiro, with beautiful stage set by Maxim Rodrigues, and Stanly Bantwal capturing the memorable moments.The sumptuous meal served by M. D’Souza & Sons Caterers tickled the taste buds and brought back pleasant memories of the traditional delicacies. Highlights of the day were : Display of ancient household items; Traditional coconut-jaggery welcome & traditional panpole chutney and maani for breakfast; Badges with different Color codes for different generation to save time and facilitate quick photo session; Inauguration of House setting named after our Ancestral House “Pady House” Memorial service for the 22 deceased members with a power-point presentation displaying name & photographs.

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A family representative holding a lit candle in their memory; Family members taking their cup cake from the family tree cake placed beneath the Altar in the Pady House; 10 min.PPT show depicting the history of Mangalorean Catholics from the year 1560 onwards. Release of Souvenir placed in a basket of flowers; Souvenir contains genealogy of the ancestors from 1770 till date, photographs of all families, personal data etc.; 15 min PPT show to introduce all families with photographs and a glimpse into the past life and things used; Holy Eucharistic Celebration; Traditional Menu consisting of bun-bafat, puluv-rice, chicken sukka, guliya kheer & thendli-moi and pickle-salad served for lunch on banana leaf; Singing of Lau da te after lunch; Sharing of thoughts by families, feedback, games and entertainment etc; Distribution of souvenirs, memento & we dispersed after tea and snacks and took home lots of memories…

A brief message from Shubha Rodrigues states, “Many among the invitees did not expect this kind of a function… and perfect planning and even now we are getting messages and calls as to what a unique and perfect event it was. Thanks to two of my cousins, Maxim and Edwin Castelino, who put all theie efforts and planning in organizing this unique reunion. If you are part our family and were not present, we really missed you and if you are a friend or relative we hope you too will try to probe your roots…Best wishes.”.

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In conclusion, I would like to compliment Maxim Castelino, Edwin Castelino and Shubha Rodrigues nee Castelino for arranging this unique family reunion, which will surely send a message to others to host such kind of reunions where they can bring back old memories of the families and also interact with each other.You never know what you might find when you come to the Reunion of Family-You can consider it as part education, part celebration and part, well, family reunion. Many who attend may end up with a bigger family when they leave than when they walked in?? The Reunion is all about connections- this is one way of connecting and letting people know -You start following that path and you just have to finish it. It’s just exciting.

Somebody in the family has to plan a Reunion, just like the Castelino siblings did. Family Reunion may allow viewers the chance to see where their family might have actually lived in today’s terms. If you don’t have an interest in all this, it may eventually be lost. And at some point in time, maybe your kids or someone else will say, where were we from? If you have no way to trace it back, you have no record. And this is where Family Reunion could help solve the purpose. That’s what Castelino’s did! Long live the ‘Makhale Castelinos’ dynasty!

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