Mangaluru, Sep 07, 2018: In keeping with age old tradition and historicity, all catholic churches in Mangaluru, Udupi, and along the west coast and many places where Konkani Catholics live, even overseas; are in an advanced mode of preparing for the "Monthi Fest" the Birthday of Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ. The feast here is also referred to as "Maria Jayanthi".
The red letter day id September 8, Saturday. The ceremony at Rosario Cathedral will be integral,this church is considered as the first parish and mother church in the region, this year it marks 450 years of the arrival of Catholicism on the shores of Mangaluru, 1568-2018.
The now Bishop of Mangalore, Rev Dr. Aloysius P.D’souza, who has served his people for 22 years is all set to pass on the baton in a very solemn celebration next Saturday September 15, forenoon; will preside over the liturgy at the Rosario Cathedral at 8 am.
The new Bishop to be Rev.Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha, who hails from Kirem near Kinnigoli, will celebrate the Mass and family celebrations at Kirem church at 8 am. The preparations all over the city are progressing in a very high profile manner with all leaders and communities co-operating. Today the focus is on ’Monthi Festh’
The back ground of this tradition:
The Preparation: The Novena , a nine day preparation for the feast, particularly children gather flowers from the surroundings of their homes (or now from the market but this year a novelty in keeping with developing business sense youth association sold flowers out side the church ) and carry them to the church in pretty little baskets or trays. Then after mass, they gather around the decorated statuette of Infant Mary and shower it with flowers singing a special hymn in Konkani ’Sekked Sangatha Melian’ (Let us all gather together). Toddlers to elders take part actively with joy. It is a thrilling sight to behold, the aged folks too enjoy the sight with nostalgic childhood memories!
The Maria Jayanthi : The infant Mary image first appeared in the 18th century according to a legend; About 1730, a Franciscan Nun, presented it to the Bishop of Como in Italy. On his death it was handed over to the Franciscan Nuns who developed great devotion among people to the ‘Infant Mary’. Due to Napoleon’s revolution when the monasteries were closed down, one of the nuns carefully saved it and handed it over to the Parish of St.Mark in Milan. History indicates that in 1842 it was given to the ‘Sisters of Charity’ and installed in the Mother House and was exposed for devotions only on September 8, each year. In 1884 extraordinary happenings and miracles spread wide the devotion to Infant Mary. The first Italian nuns of this order came to assist Fr.Muller in Kankanady Hospital in 1898. A replica of the image was first brought to Mangalore by the ‘Sisters of Charity’ soon after and can still be seen at the Infant Mary Convent Chapel beside the Jeppu Seminary. Most Konkani Catholics will use the blessed corn and farm produce to join in for a traditional vegitarian meal on plantain leaves as did their ancestors of ’Saraswat’ roots more than 5 centuries ago. The ’Monthi Festh’ is a family harvest celebration giving thanks to God, nature and agriculturist for the produce of food for life and the goodness of the earth.
Read other news