By I J Saldanha Shet
Mangaluru, Sep 8, 2015: An important historic festival of the year celebrated by the Konkani Catholics of Kanara, to mark the birth of Mother Mary widely known in India as ’Maria Jayanthi’ was marked this morning at Rosario Cathedral the seat of the Mangalore diocese bishop here this morning in spite of the rain that gave it a profile of blessings. This day is also marked by the Church in India as the ’Girl child’s day’ to honour the women and girls. The farmer and harvest is in a special way remembered and honoured today the September 8.
The congregation assembled at the near by St.Ann’s convent with a band in attendance. The New Corn was blessed and all moved to the Cathedral in an orderly manner holding umbrellas to shelter from the rain. The ’Gurkars’ carried the blessed corn to the church. Inside the beautiful and traditional cathedral the Bishop of Mangaluru Rt.Rev.Aloysius Paul D’Souza celebrated the mass joined by the four incumbent priests of the cathedral - Vicar Rev J B Crasta, and the clergy.
The Bishop exhorted the congregation to honour nature and the farmer and labour who work hard to provide the needs of the people. He said that the day that marks the birth of the Mary the mother of Christ is a special one for the Catholic Church and it points to honour and respect the role of women and the value of the girl child in a very special way. The family is the most vital component of the family and the family is a very important part of life at every level. The elders must be cared and respected in families. Mangalore Christians have a deep rooted love for the land and have a special attachment to the nature and always give a high place for all natural things as they come from God. Christianity at such special days reminds one and all on the importance of Charity and concern for the marginalised and needy. At all times the poor and down trodden must be uplifted and cared for in all circumstances.
The mass was well attended by members of the parish and a solemn mass was held which lasted for about two hours. At the end of the mass, the blessed corn was distributed to the families which will ceremoniously mix it in a traditional vegetarian meal and the families will give thanks and pray for the well being of all. Similar celebrations can be found in many parts of this area specaill Udupi diocese and Coastal Karnataka as well as other parts of India and the world over where Konkani Catholics have settled for ages.
There is no doubt that ’Monthi festh’ ( Feast of the mount) has it’s origin from the Portuguese and early settlers and the Konkani Catholics who are Sarasvats originally thought it very appropriate to include their agrarian customs along with the catholic ethos in celebrating this day which falls in line with the harvest and other festivals celebrated in Kanara.
Today, families will gather together and partake in a special noon meal that recalls the contribution of the farmers, the elders who have passed on to eternity and there will generally be a sense of remembrance and wishing well for the future of the young and all members of the family.