The Asian Indian Catholic Community celebrated the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 28, 2013 at St. Agnes Church in Elyria. Fully aware that the actual date of the feast is September 8th, the congregation gathered to celebrate this very holy day.
Procession into Mass
Moriak Hogolsiyan and Michael Sreshta
Fr. Albert Veigas
Fr. Albert Veigas, Pastor, is himself from India and gave a very interesting homily on the Feast. He said that in India the Feast is one of the most celebrated and revered days of the Church calendar. It coincides with the Harvest Festival and the two are combined to make Mary's birthday even more special.
Fr. Albert Veigas
The Feast is a birthday party complete with gifts of flowers and festive foods. It is also considered a day of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for our redemption, as well as all of the gifts and graces received as a result of Mary's intercession with her Son, Jesus.
In this video clip, children bring flowers to the statue of Mary.
It is a day when the family gets together and often those who live away from home - even very far away- return to be with their families.
Family from Chicago and Cleveland
The actual day is preceded by nine days of preparation - a Novena of Prayers and Preparation. There is friendly, but intense, competition among family and friends to see who prepares the best (and most) dishes. For a reason best described as tradition, all of the dishes are in odd numbers. People will make 7, 9 or 11 dishes, but never 6 or eight. It is the only day of the year that only vegetarian dishes are served. This is done in homage to the harvest and the bountiful crops.
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary - before flowers
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary - after flowers
In this video clip, a family visiting from Chicago explained the meaning and traditions of the Feast which is almost like Thanksgiving with the sharing of crops with the family through the preparation of an odd number of vegetarian dishes.
The Feast is a major celebration in Mangalore, where it is known as Monthi Fest (or Monti Fest) and in Bandra, Mumbai (Bandra Feast). In Bandra, the focal point of the Festival is The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount or Mount Mary Church. Many afflicted with disabilities or illness make a pilgrimage to the Basilica during the weeklong festival hoping that The Blessed Mother will intercede on their behalf.
Some participants at the Virgin Mary Nativity celebration
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