Konkani Catholics of Brampton Celebrate a Decade of Monti Fest in Grand Style
Brampton, Canada: The Mangalorean community in Toronto recently came together for an extravagant celebration of the Monti fest, hosted by the Konkani Catholics of Brampton (KCOB). This remarkable event marked a decade of unwavering commitment to making this traditional religious celebration not only grand but also deeply meaningful.
On the evening of Saturday, September 2nd, 2023, the Queen of Peace Church in Norval, Brampton, Canada, echoed the harmonious melodies of Konkani hymns and the heartfelt prayers of the congregation. The festivities commenced with a majestic Konkani Eucharistic mass, led by Reverend Fathers: Andrew Lewis, Henry Alva, and Ranjan D’Sa. The church choir, led by Priya Fernandez, Brian & Joanne D’Souza, Clara D’Souza, Ingrid Pereira, Nancy & Max Mendes, Nancy & Walter Lobo, and Veena D’Costa, accompanied by Johnny D’Souza & Bosco DeSouza on the guitar, added a profound spiritual dimension to the evening.
Max Mendes warmly welcomed the attendees, while Anita Bantwal expressed heartfelt gratitude to the priests, ushers, choir members, altar servers, volunteers, and all those present. The congregation, including children bearing flower offerings, then gathered on the sprawling lawns to pay homage to Mother Mary (Fula Udonche) with Traditional songs like Sakkad Sangatha Melyan and Moriyek Hogolsiya. The young ones received goodie bags, generously sponsored by Ingrid and Mavy Pereira, as tokens of appreciation for their heartfelt offerings to Mama Mary.
Following this, Priya Fernandez welcomed guests at the church hall. Nancy Mendes invited sponsors, committee members, donors, and priests to gather on stage, where Reverend Fathers Henry Alva & Ranjan D’Sa blessed the traditional Novemn drink, a delightful concoction of coconut milk and jaggery, prepared by Ingrid Pereira. The sponsors were also gifted with the blessed modham candles by the priests.
The event was expertly orchestrated by Emcees Nancy Mendes and Patricia Lewis, who ensured that the guests were entertained throughout the evening. On the 10th anniversary celebration, KCOB expressed its appreciation by presenting a memento of the Blessed Mother Mary’s statue to each family in attendance.
The highlight of the night came with the presentation to Wilson D’Souza, who was honoured with the Community Champion Award, a well-deserved recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Canadian community. One of Wilson's remarkable achievements has been his leadership in fostering youth activities through the sport of cricket, particularly through the Mango Friendship Series initiative (MFSI). His dedication to nurturing talent and providing young Individuals with opportunities for growth have been instrumental in the development of our community’s youth.
Additionally, Wilson has played a pivotal role in the promotion of the Konkani language. He was a radio host with Radio Mango and during his tenure there, he had worked to ensure that our rich linguistic heritage thrived in Canada. His unwavering commitment to supporting Konkani talents in Canada has helped preserve our cultural identity here in Canada.
During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, Wilson’s efforts shone brightly as he facilitated the broadcasting of Konkani Mass, providing spiritual solace and connection to the community when it was needed most.
Currently, Wilson is actively involved in promoting the Mangalorean community in Canada through a dynamic WhatsApp group with over 700 members.
Mavy Pereira highlighted Wilson D’Souza’s remarkable contributions in his address speech, and Walter Lobo presented the Community Champion Award, while Sunil Bantwal, bestowed upon him the traditional shawl. The Community Champion Award acknowledges his unwavering commitment to the betterment of our community. Congratulations, Wilson, on this well-deserved recognition. All committee members were present on stage during this esteemed ceremony.
The evening’s cultural activities were a delightful blend of dances, hilarious skits, and melodious singing. It began with a captivating welcome dance by Celina Newton, followed by a side-splitting comedy skit featuring famous personalities from the community: Flavian Pinto, Nancy Mendes, Max Mendes & Marshal Fernandes. The entertainment continued with Chris Rodrigues, a newcomer to Canada, delivering a superb break dance performance. An energetic and vibrant youth group, led by Glen Saldanha and including Fabina D’Souza, Melissa Fernandes, Melinda Fernandes, Wesley Mendonca, Sharen D’Souza, Mita Saldanha, Brendon Pesso & Maria Pereira, wowed the audience with a fusion of Bollywood and Konkani dance performances. The evening was further enriched by the soulful voice of Romeo Jack Barbosa, a new face on stage, who sang a melodious Goan Konkani song. Clara D’Souza, Priya Fernandez, Joanne & Brian D’Souza & Johnny D’Souza delivered a superb singing performance that enthralled the guests with their melodious voices.
The celebration continued with the cutting of a cake to mark the Decennial, with committee members and priests joining in. KCOB further demonstrated its unwavering commitment to supporting community members by providing a platform for Mr. Jerald (Jerry) Moraes to sell authentic Mangalorean products, sourced directly from Mangalore, despite his physical challenges.
As always, there were numerous gifts, spot prizes, door prizes, and a 50/50 draw, adding an element of excitement to the festivities. The traditional Novemn Dinner, expertly catered by Konkan Delite, offered a taste of Mangalorean cuisine that evoked fond memories of home.
DJ Glen Saldanha’s music enticed guests to the dance floor, witnessing spirited moves from all in attendance.
This grand event would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors and donors. KCOB extends its heartfelt gratitude to them, including Max & Nancy Mendes, Arun & Jennifer Mendes, Flavian Pinto, Albert & Josephine Soosay, Romeo Jack & Ophelia Barbosa, Rushik Patel, Nelson & Veena D’Costa, Felix Serrao, Mavy & Ingrid Pereira, and Rachna Borges. Special thanks also go to the dedicated KCOB families who have organized the Monti Fest for the past 10 years, consistently raising the bar.
The organizing committee of Konkani Catholics of Brampton (KCOB) extends warm wishes to you and your family for a Happy Monti Fest. This celebration epitomizes the strong sense of community and cultural heritage that the Mangalorean community in Toronto cherishes and continues to uphold.
News: Nancy Mendes
Pix courtesy: Sunil Bantwal