It was a historic day for the Konkani speaking people of Mangalorean origin in UAE, as for the first time in history; Grand Konkan Day was organized on Friday May 26 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church Mussafah, Abu Dhabi premises.
The much anticipated Konkan day brought together people from all the Catholic Churches of UAE which included, Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Jebel Ali, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
The celebration started at 9 a.m. after which breakfast which was served followed by various traditional programs starting from the Vojem(procession of articles required to prepare the food) in the St Francis Assissi hall.
Vojen was led by Apex Committee Main Coordinator Robert Pinto. It was followed by flag procession ceremony where the UAE flag was carried first and followed by the Indian flag and then the flags of all other churches of UAE. This was followed by the welcome address from Robert Pinto.
Rev. Fr. Paul Koenig OFM Cap, Custos of Southern Arabia invocated God's blessings, followed by lighting the lamp. A huge cake was cut in commemoration of the event.
Rev. Fr. Ani Xavier OFM Cap, Parish Priest of St. Paul’s church Mussafah, addressed the gathered and praised the Konkani community of Mussafah for their contribution not only to the church but also to the community and rendered his wishes for their success.
The cultural program began with a song from M Ashwin and team. This was followed by the performances from parishioners of St. Mary’s Church Al Ain along with a comedy skit they performed a group dance and Baila dance.
Next performance was given by the Community of St. Francis of Assisi Church Jebel Ali. They started with a Konkani medley followed by a skit and dance performance.
St. Paul’s church, Mussafah and Abu Dhabi Konkans (Konkani motea) also entertained the gathered with their performances.
Soon after lunch, Konkani Eucharistic service was celebrated around 3 p.m. The main celebrant was Rev. Fr. Valerian Fernandes OFM Cap and Chancellor along with Rev. Fr. Ashok Gonsalves OFM. Cap; Rev. Fr. Maxim Cardoza OFM Cap; and Rev. Fr. Robert Lasrado OFM Cap.
Immediately after the mass, the vote of thanks was given by Rev. Fr. Ashok Gonsalves thanking everyone for the success of the program. In his final speech, he requested the Konkani community to come forward and arrange such events once a year for the growth of the Konkani language, for the benefit of the community.
Apex team Secretary. Veeda D’Lima and Treasurer John D’Lima welcomed the invities by offering paan pod udak and goud ani udak (traditional beetle leaves with arrack nut and jaggrey with water).
Cultural Secretary Lawrence Rudolf D’Souza carried out the final feliciation ceremony.