Monti Fest Celebrated in London
London: This year’s Monti Fest was celebrated with greater enthusiasm than before at the Lobo family home in London. This was the 20th anniversary of Monti fest celebrations at their home. Most Catholic associations in the UK participated in this celebration creating one British Konkani Catholic family of Mangalore and Udupi Diocese. Added to this, the weather was fantastically best to suit the occasion with bright sunshine & clear skies.
MC Melwyn Vaz welcomed the Bishop of Mangalore Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Father Wilson, Father Angelo, all presidents of various associations and guests.
Bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza and Father Wilson ex-director of education in Mangalore flew in specially to celebrate the 20th Monti Fest mass. They had also attended the 10th Monti fest anniversary at the Lobo Home in 2006.
The function began with a procession of drummers and little angels holding flower baskets were followed by the Lobo family with candles, new corn and the statue of Mother Mary. They were followed by the holy faculty, presidents of all attending organisations and some 450 attendees.
The offering of flowers was done in traditional form to the tune of Sakkad Sangatha Melya orchestrated by the prayer group and Konkani Kutam choir.
The Bishop them blessed the new crop. Everyone then proceeded to the main venue for mass.
The feast mass was celebrated with grandeur. The choir was excellent. Prayer of the faithful was conducted by Violet and Matilda. The offering ceremony was conducted by Sandya D’Souza. The Bishop in his homily talked about the importance of unity with families and the community.
Bishop was then honoured by Dr Cheryl Taylor. In her speech, she outlined his extensive achievements on how he had changed the face of Mangalore diocese which is hailed as the Rome of the East. He then cut his birthday cake surround by children eagerly awaiting a slice.
Then followed the new corn distribution.
Richard and Christine Lobo thanked one and all for their continued support over the last 20 years. Richard thanked Christine for initiating the Monti fest institution in 1996 by organising an open invitation event for the whole British Konkani Catholic Community.
In their thanksgiving speech, Richard confirmed that he and Christine would be retiring and Richard jokingly said he was saying goodbye to tension and hello to pension. They will now be handing over this institution created and nurtured by them to all the Catholic associations and requested them to continue this project in unity as one group. They have allocated a permanent fund from their pension pot for this institution that will continue even after their death and also prizes for high ranking Konkani community children, funds to celebrate the new year and additional financial support for the associations that strive so hard to keep the community alive.
Distribution of certificate and prizes were given to high-ranking A level students, Sharon and Ostyn, and to Elroy for secured amazing results in his GCSE exams.
Dr. Cheryl Lobo Taylor, (BSC (Hons), MBBS, MSC, MRCS, FRCS), a consultant at University College London Hospital (UCL)was honoured by the Bishop for her achievements in the medical field at a very young age.
To keep up with tradition, caterers were on hand to provide a delicious vegetarian meal. Fresh Puris were cooked in front of the guests along with a serving of seven vegetable dishes. Mangalorean delicacies sannawada and the yummy vorn were cooked by Christine and Bridget using the secret family recipe. This was devoured very quickly. Sheera puri was on offer for the Bombay Mangaloreans and ice cream for children who haven’t yet developed a taste for the traditional deserts.
Lobo family as a gratitude to the Konkani Catholics community honoured those who had attended for the past 20, 18, 11-17, 5-10 years of celebrations with memorable medals with the infant Mother Mary’s photograph. MC and presidents of all associations were also honoured.
Children who offered flowers were rewarded with big boxes of chocolates to fill their baskets.
A photographer was organised especially for the ceremony who captured the memorable event. He also provided a photography session for all guests to have treasured photographs to be taken with the bishop, a framed copy of which was given to each family.
It was announced that next year’s Nativity celebrations will take place on 10th September, the venue for which will be announced in due course.
Programme was ended with Lavdate.