Michigan: Monti Fest or the feast of Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary is an important celebration to many Catholics all over the world. This feast marks the veneration and devotion the Church gives to Mary and it is celebrated in a special way amongst Konkani Catholics, as a thanksgiving festival, seeking blessings of the harvest of the new crops. Blessing the grain of new harvest, followed by a big procession and children offering flowers to Mother Mary is a norm of the celebration rites by the Konkani Catholics of coastal India. As people migrate to different parts of the world, they take a piece of their culture with them. Likewise, Fr Theodore D’Cunha, a Pallottine congregation priest, hailing from Belthangady, Mangalore who is now the parish priest of St Priscilla’s Church in Michigan, initiated the celebration of this feast in the metro Detroit area seven years ago, beginning at St John Neumann church in Livonia. As many devout Catholics from his local parish and also the members of Indian origin join him in this endeavor, this feast is now a most coveted catholic celebration to look forward to each year. This year, it was a grand celebration at St Priscilla’s parish in Livonia, Michigan, celebrated with much aplomb on Sunday, September 6th.
The celebrations began with a beautiful procession, leading the statue of Mother Mary into the church. The procession was led by nine children walking with the Ave Maria sign followed by few members carrying decorated floral arches and others with flowers in their hands. The decorated statue of Mother Mary was carried in a palanquin to the church. Children and elders entered the church with offering of flowers to the decorated statue of Mother Mary. The church was beautifully decorated and the walls of the church resonated with the mellifluous singing of the choir and the bell choir. The homily by Fr Theo D’Cunha, speaking about the importance of treating everyone equally was very enlightening and thought provoking. Fr Theo also briefed the congregation about the history of Monti Fest in Coastal India and mentioned the importance of mother Mary in our lives. He urged the attendees to spread its significance to other members so this feast could draw larger numbers each year.
After the Mass there was a reception in the parish hall. Fr Theo welcomed everyone and blessed the food, brought by all the attendees. A cake was then cut by those attendees who shared their birthday with our blessed Mother. Fr Theo expressed his sincere gratitude to all the attendees, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, sacristans, ushers, lectors, choir members and sponsors who helped in celebrating the feast with devotion and grandeur.