Mother Mary occupies a special – and prominent – place in Catholic faith. The epitome of love, affection, compassion, empathy and sacrifice, she is the role model for every Faithful. Therefore, the celebration of Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary, which falls on September 8, is a special occasion.
For us Mangaloreans it is an occasion of family reunion and fellowship meal with the new harvest. On that day, family members from far and wide gather at their ancestral home and savour the meal prepared from the new produce.
In order to prepare ourselves spiritually for this grand celebration, a nine-day prayer service known as “Novena” is observed in front of the Grotto. Children gather flowers from their gardens – and from that of their neighbours – and offer them to Infant Mary. The colourful flowers gathered by children, and the creative arrangement of those flowers in the flower basket is a sight to behold. The enthusiasm of children and the excitement evident on their face is a fitting tribute to Mother Mary.
The Novena at Guardian Angel church commenced on 30th August 2023, held after the evening mass. For nine days, the church overflowed with children and their parents. After the Eucharistic Celebration children and elders gathered in front of the Grotto. A brief prayer service ensued followed by children offering flowers to the idol of Infant Mary singing the season’s tailor-made hymn “ಸಕ್ಕಡ್ ಸಾಂಗಾತಾ ಮೆಳ್ಯಾಂ, ಸಕ್ಕಡ್ ಲಾಗಿಂ ಸರ್ಯಾಂ”.
Angelore is a parish of large-hearted Faithful and they are always there to lend a helping hand in times of need, especially to bring smile on children’s face. Thanks to generous donors of the parish, sweets/snacks were distributed after the ceremony on all the days. The members of various organisations of the parish volunteered to distribute them.
(With inputs from Mr. Peter Fernandes, Lourdes Ward II; courtesy: “ಮೊಂತಿ ಫೆಸ್ತ್”, Udayavani dated September 8, 2010)