Herbert & Frieda D’Souza being Good Samaritans during ‘Monthi Fest’
Got Novem! Herbert and his wife Frieda D’Souza act as a Good Samaritans during Mangalorean Catholic Feast “Monthi Fest’ donating “Novem”
Mangaluru: ‘Monthi Fest’, also known as Nativity of Our Mother Mary is a feast celebrated by the Mangalurean Catholic community. There is religious symbolism in Monthi Fest. Anna, mother of Mary, was barren till she was very old. So, her first child is considered to be a journey from barrenness to first fruit. That is the rationale of celebrating Nativity also as harvest or new corn festival. It is notable that Onam, harvest festival of Malayalees, and Chowthi are celebrated around this time. On Monthi Fest day, the matured bunches of paddy corn on stalk are brought to the church, blessed and offered to the congregation.
A special prayer recited at the blessing reads: “Bless these new fruits in your blessed name… Grant health of body and soul to those who receive these new fruits in your blessed name”. The blessed stalks of new corn are taken to every home and is partaken with prayers and devotion. The de-husked corn is powdered and mixed with milk or a special dish made out of coconut milk and rice batter – a sort of kheer or payasam. Traditionally at least nine vegetables are cooked.
And for the last 14 years, one Catholic person by the name Herbert D’Souza, aged 57, hailing from Jeppinamogaru, in the outskirts of Mangaluru has been a Good Samaritan by donating new paddy stalks to various churches during Monti fest, and to various temples during Ganesh Chaturthi also- and absolutely free of charge. Even if people offer him money, he refuses to accept it. That’s has been the nature of Herbert for the last two decades. Living with his wife Freida, he is a proud father of two children- and for that matter they are all Good Samaritans when the Catholic and Hindu feats come around.
Herbert who has been doing cultivation on the two acres of ancestral property, has allotted 20 cents of it exclusively to grow paddy which he supplies free of cost during Monti Fest and Ganesh Chaturthi. He offers the free paddy stalks to churches like Milagres church-Mangaluru, Cascia Church, Bajjal, Permannur, Fajir, Fr Muller Hospital Chapel, Infant Mary-Bikkarnakatte, Jeppu Seminary, Rosario, Fatima Retreat House, Fajir, Olavinna Halli, among many other churches. Even parishioners from a Shivamogga church, Kunigal and Sagar also come to him for the paddy stalks. Other than that, people take his paddy stalks abroad, like gulf countries, UK and USA. On behalf of Fr Muller Church Chapel and Fatima Retreat House- Mangaluru, Sr Janet, the Chief Nursing Officer, and Fr Maxim Misquith-the Administrator respectively accepted the “Novem” from Herbert.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Herbert said, “Many years my family used to grow sugar-cane, cucumber, chillies, other vegetables-but since it was quite hectic I concentrated more on sand mining business. But I still do some cultivation on our land here and there. But I never miss to grow paddy on the 20 cents land exclusively to be supplied to churches and temples, thereby continuing my good old tradition. I exclusively grow paddy (Kharif Crop) which I supply free of cost during these two fests-Ganeshotsava and Monthi Fest. People come to my house as far as Vittal, Puttur, Uppinangady and other far off places like Kunigal and Sagar to collect the paddy stalks. Even though I have spent nearly Rs 10-12 thousand on raising this Kharif crop, I don’t charge a paisa for it. I never accept any money for the paddy stalks I supply. Many temples and churches offer me rewards, but I am very reluctant in accepting them. I only ask the priests/nuns/temple deities to pray for me and my family. Prayers keep me strong and going. I don’t want anything else.”
Apart from being a Good Samaritan, Herbert is a active in Congress Party, being a former board member in Congress South Block party. He is also a former Vice President of Youth Congress. He has also served as a Gurkar at Cascia Church. Herbert also gives Ayurvedic medicine for Jaundice, a remedy which was invented by his father – and he says, that the Ayurvedic medicine has shown very good results in patients suffering from jaundice. He also owns a few fishing boats, which he lends them out for immersing idols of Lord Ganesha in the Nethravathi river during Ganesha Chaturthi.
” But since I come from a family with farming background working in the farm is just a piece of cake. I love what I am doing, and will continue doing it.. I am happy that many church members help me in sowing seeds and in the cultivation work in the field. I will not give up this work aimed at a good cause, and will continue as far as my health permits me,” Herbert said. May Mother Mary bless Herbert D’souza and his family for their good work they are doing for the Catholic and Hindu community. Happy Monthi Festh to all our Kodiyal Catholics living locally and abroad.