New Jersey: ‘Sakkad Sangata Melyan, Sakkad Laggi Saryan. Amche Thale ek karyan moryek hogolsia’.
September 5th, 2015 marked the day when over 230 people from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and India gathered together at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Piscataway, NJ,USA for the Mangalorean Catholic Association of the East Coast’s (MCA-EC) Monti Festh 2015 celebration. The guests were greeted at the registration desk starting 9.00 am after which they were led to the breakfast table for a delectable sheera and poha feast prepared by our very own member Diana Menezes followed by coffee and lemonade.
The event was kicked off by a traditional Konkani mass with main celebrant being Fr Augustine D’Souza, MCA-EC’s spiritual director along with Fr Alphonse Britto and Fr Wencelaus Rodrigues. Fr Augustine gave a very touching homily where he shared his Monthi Festh experience as a youth and how celebrating the festival here in a traditional way brought back memories. He emphasized the importance of Mother Mary saying ‘Yes’ to the call of God and explained her role in our religion and encouraged the members to emulate her. At the mass, the choir was led by Vijay Furtado, with both adults and children participating in a number of traditional Konkani hymns to a beautifully choreographed music.
After the mass the children and adults were led in a procession to the front yard of the churchfor showering of flowers. The volunteers led everyone in singing, offering flowers to baby Mary and it culminated with the everyone showering flowers as the choir sang ‘Sakkadd Sangatha Mellyam and Moriek Hogolsia’.
Members were welcomed back into the hall with ‘Novem’ which is a traditional drink made by mixing together the blessed “new paddy” with milk. Rodney Quadros, VP- Finance & Secretary, thanked and felicitated the priests for their dedication to the association, their help and support that they have been providing. Mark Mendonca, President,then spoke briefly on how this festival brings back the childhood memories where the whole community came together for the nine days. Giving that analogy, he touched upon how the MCA-EC Association is working to keep our traditions, culture and working hard to bring everyonetogether as one big Family. At this time, he briefly laid out the vision and plan for a multiyear transformation journey for the organization.
After the speech, the President with the Board members and Fr Augustine lighted a candle with a prayer to mark the beginning of the multi-year transformation journey. The rest of those gathered raised their right hand committing their prayerful support to the leaders who carry this candle of light. This was followed by the cultural and entertainment program for which the master of ceremony was Kenneth Monteiro who is also a member and proved it time and again of his capability to run a great show. Gladson Cardoza and Vijay Furtado, our DJ’s for the day kept the wonderful music playing throughout the day.
The cultural program comprised of different programs put together by various vados coordinated by the various gurkars. The participants and their coordinators had put in long hoursof practice over several weeks to put up a fabulous show. It was very encouraging to see the variety of talent within the organization and the willingness of members to devote the time and energy towards this event. The cultural program was highly appreciated by the audience with loud cheers and applause.
The following were the activities within the cultural program:
Moriye Vado –Kids and teens Singing “Ave Maria”,accompanied with playing of musical instruments.
Fatima Vado – Teen dance
Khursa Vado – Dance
Moriye Vado – Tween Dance
Fatima Vado – Kids Dance
Khursa Vado – Musical Play
Moriye Vado – Kids Dance
Comedy Skits – By Harry and Anita Pinto.
Arine Aranha, VP-Programs who orchestrated the entire event then thanked all the volunteers, adults and kids who took part in the program, volunteered their precious time and made this eventa grand success.
This year marked the first time when we were fortunate to havea couple of special guests at the event, who had come from Mangalore and Bangalore. Ivan D’Souza, MLC Karnataka State Government, KPCC (also Parishioner of Mudarangadi church) came all the way from India to be present at the event. He was introduced to the MCA-EC members by Dylon D’Souza VP- PR & Membership.
Mark Mendonca, felicitated Ivan for his contribution and services towards the Mangalorean community. Ivan D’Souza spoke to the members on the issues facing the community and the work he has been doing in Mangalore to address the various social and economic needs of our community. He briefly touched on his accomplishments and the areas where the ex-pat community can partner with the organizations back in Mangalore and with his offices in order to better the community. He also offered his services for any help and assistance required and informed members that his doors are open any time at both his Mangalore and Bangalore offices.
Also introduced and welcomed at the function was Philomena Peris, Ex chairperson of Karnataka Women’s Commission, VP of Karnataka Catholic Association. She has instituted scholarships for deserving children and is an active member of the catholic community in Bangalore and Mangalore. She spoke on the various issues and challenges the women face in India and the work being done by her organization to empower women and fight for justice.
Authentic south Indian vegetarian lunch was provided by Hoysala, NJ and was served on a banana leaf. The scrumptious lunch was followed by the traditional sweet dessert ‘Vorn’.
The momentum of the day was kept up withteam building games and Biblical Scavenger Hunt which were coordinated and conducted by Arine Aranha, Paul Quadras, VP- Regions Coordinator and Dylon D’Souza.Everyone enjoyed the challenges and it helped in building the bond with one another.The day ended with a housie game conducted by Christopher Monis and members were then served with delicious snacks of mixed bhajias and goli bhaje with tea. The event concluded with vote of thanks being given by Rodney Quadros.
The MCA-EC encourages members to keep in touch with each other via Facebook Link. The website www.mca-ec.org gives more information on the association.
Following are somepictures displaying chronological order of the events. More pictures are available in our MCA-EC Facebook page.
Dylon D’Souza – VP Public Relations & Membership – MCA-EC Board