Monti Fest celebrated with Fervour at Athma Jyothi Ashram Prior to Novem Jevan & Vorn
Mangaluru : Before going further into the report of Monti Fest, let me give a brief description of Athma Jyothi Ashram- Once a ancestral home of the Machado Sisters residing for decades on the stretch of Souza Lane, Kadri Road-Mangaluru, has now been christened as the “Athma Jyothi Ashram”, where two Capuchin Friars/Capuchin Fathers namely Fr Dolphy Devdas Serrao and Fr Peter Cyprian D’Souza residing there, perform counselling and spiritual healing to anyone, irrespective of caste or creed. The Ashram was inaugurated by Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza- Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese on 22 July 2016. The Capuchin Friars undertaking the Counselling and Spiritual healing of the people at the “Athma Jyothi Ashram” are part of St. Anne’s Friary a house of prayer of the Franciscan Capuchin Friars, and the Spring of Spiritual Life in the Heart of the City near Jail Road, touching the lives of the people.
The Friary is an attraction to all the people of different walks of life all to fulfill their soul’s desires; and now blessed with a New Chapel from traditional outlook to the Merger of the new and old, it is a place you must visit for the Spiritual enlightenment. These Catholic Capuchin priests play a number of roles. They expect to live a life similar to that of Jesus by setting an example as a leader, a helper, and a healer. Part of their job as a helper is to provide pastoral counseling services to the catholic faithful and members of the public. Within this context, the Capuchin Friars employ their knowledge of the Bible and spirituality to help individuals overcome such problems as depression, anxiety, marriage and family conflicts, and drug and alcohol abuse. Clearly, Capuchin Father’s’ use of spirituality within therapy is a welcome treatment plan for many and can lead to a more holistic course of treatment for the counseled person. These Capuchin Fathers are a religious community of friars inspired by St Francis of Assisi.
And today on Monti Fest, Athma Jyothi Ashram being next to my house, I woke up early this morning, for the blessing of the new crop (Novem) at 6.30 am, which was done by Fr Peter Cyprian D’souza and Fr Dolphy Devdas Serrao, of the Ashram, where the regular devotees who attend mass here turned up for the Fest with their children. After a short prayer, flowers were showered on Baby Mary by the adults and children, singing the hymn ” ‘Sakkad Sangatha Melyam- Moriyek Hogolsyam’ , followed by the Holy Sacrifice offered at the Ashram Chapel.
In His Homily, Fr Dolphy Serrao reflected saying, “ ‘Monthi fest’ – a feast that is close to the heart of all Christians of Kanara (Mangaluru) which has a special role to play in every Christian’s life. Every feast we celebrate is not just for fun, or merrymaking, rather it has a message hidden in it, an incident to recall or a specific purpose to remember; so also Monthi fest. On this day we commemorate the immaculate birth of Mary, and along with this celebration, this feast also encourages family bonding. On this day let’s reflect on, firstly, Never ever sacrifice ‘your family’ for anyone or for anything. Secondly, prepare your children for the next world – this was the message of Mary revealed at one of her apparitions”.
Fr Dolphy and Dr Cyprian thanked the devotees for their support and wished them a blessed Monti Fest. Now regarding the Fest, it is a tradition in Mangaluru for the families to gather together and share a vegetarian meal consisting of at least 5-7 vegetarian dishes. The grains taken form blessed paddy stalk or corn is added to the milk or ” Vorn” (Payasam) and offered to the members of the family in a symbolic gesture of thanksgiving for our Lady’s blessings. The festival has special relevance in the modern world as it keeps the community together not just in South Canara (DK) and Mangaluru city but in all different continents where Mangalorean Catholics have settled. They continue to celebrate Monthi fest in whatever way they can in their countries and enjoy the nostalgia connected with their own families and parishes back home.
No doubt, Monti Fest is gaining popularity all over the globe these days, as it is celebrated in every town where the population of Konkani-speaking people is sizeable. Singing of hymns, ‘Sakkad Sangatha Melyam- Moriyek Hogolsyam’ has been an inherent part of Monti Fest. The people feel blessed and blissful by paying obeisance to Mother Mary on her birth anniversary. One of the earliest Monti Fests was celebrated at Milagres Church in the city in 1906. Even the busiest of people take time off to be a part of the procession, to hail Monti’s kindness and get divine blessings, on ‘Monti Fest’. Happy Monti Fest to every Kodiyal Catholics who reads this article, on behalf of Team Mangalorean. May Mother shower her blessings on all of you and us.