Friday, February 5, 2016

Monte Mariano Visitation concludes.......




In 1510, the Portuguese conquered Goa and founded their empire I India.  In 1526, some Franciscan priests entered canara and founded three churches around Mangalore.  Lady of Rosary at Bolar, Lady of Mercy at Ullal and St. Francis of Assisi at Farangipet.  The last name means foreigners town {Farangi +pet} land of foreigners. Because it was a Portuguese trade outpost.


Hyder Ali conquered the Bednore kingdom in 1763 when Fr. Joachim Miranda was the parish priest at Farangipet.  Hyder Ali sought his favour and asked for his prayers for the success of his military campaigns and also made votive offerings in Monte Mariano church. His soldiers use to light candles at the foot of mother Mary so that they may win the wars.

However, for his Tippu sultan, Fr. Joachim Miranda was a problem.  He was aware that the priest and Hyder Ali were good friends.  Tippu began showing respect for the priest but was determined to capture Catholics and hold them captive in Srirangapatnam.  Tippu sought from FR. Miranda information about the British General, Mathew.  He refused it give information. Incidentally, while Tippu destroyed all churches in canara, when Tippu’s horsemen arrived to plunder the Monte Mariano monastery, it is known that Fr. Miranda showed the copper plate given by Hyder Ali, authorizing the rights of land for worship.  Hence, the soldier’s spared the monastery from plundering. And also his father’s friendship with Fr. Joachim Miranda.

The Novices are ten...7 from Karnataka Province an d 3 from KristJyoti province.







The nativity of our Lady or the birthday of our beloved mother Mary also called as monthi fest by Mangalorean catholic community is also celebrated as a harvest festival like onam of Kerala, pongal of Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.  As per the local history Monthi fest has its origin in Farangipet in the outskirts of Mangalore.  Here Fr. Miranda a Goan priest who lived around 300 years ago, started this practice on top of a hill, on the northern bank of the Nethravathi River where lies an ancient place called Monte Mariano.

It is also known as Mount of Mary.  Oral history goes to state that the nativity festival of our Lady was first celebrated at Monte Mariano to coincide with the annual feast of the church.  The term monthi has been derived from the word Monte and over the years has been modified to be known as monthi fest.

The sources including the other religion neighbours say that the Monthi fest took birth in Farangipet.  It is one of the three designated major feasts of Mangalore Diocese.  The others being the feasts of St. Lawrence at karkala and lady of Pompei at Urva.  Until a few decades ago, monthi fest was celebrated on a grand scale at Monte Mariano, with surrounding parishes too participating.  A large number of devotees from Mangalore, including tile manufacturers and coffee planters, footed it out to Farangipet for the feast.  

Catholics in Tulu Nadu, set to celebrate Monthi Fest on September 8, know it is the day of the Nativity feast the birth of Mary, mother of Jesus.  But, hardly anyone stops to think why it is called monthi fest.  Some research and inquires with people who should know leads to the conclusion that Monthi fest originated at Farangipet about 300 years ago.

 It was started in the month of September because in that month the other religion brethren celebrated their Ganapathi Habba-feast.  It uses to last for 9 days.  All these 9 days they were not eating meat or fish, but only vegetarian.  So Fr. Joachim Miranda strictly followed 9 days novena to be held in honour of Nativity feast. This was followed even lately in our houses.  After blessing the new corn when it is brought to the house our parents were not keeping any kind of non-veg. 

Farangipet is home to an ancient catholic outpost who, at various times, has been, and still is, a church, friary, monastery and seminary.  The official name of the place is Monte mariano- Mount of Mary.  The monthi fest derives its name, from Monte.  It was here that a Goan priest, Fr. Joachim Miranda, started this annual new corn feast.  But, Catholics generally are unfamiliar with the Monte Mariano name and call the place Coventh (convent).  They cannot be faulted because even the RTC, based on ancient land records, notes the owner of the plot as Montu Mary Coventu Devaru.  One thing is all the ancient lands which are under the church or temple the owner is God, Devaru.
Fr. Joachim Miranda built a St. Joseph’s seminary at Farangipet which was later shifted to St. Antony’s Ashram Jeppu and then the present place where the Seminary exits.

The mother Mary’s statue which is now erected at the entrance of the main gate was somewhere on the hill near the church.  In 1945 it was shifted near the main gate.
This Monte Mariano also known as the second cradle of capuchins in India since it housed the only Novitiate of whole of India till 1967.
The monastery is located on the bank of the River Nethravathi high on a cliff.  The breath-taking view of mighty river at the background with lush greenery on the hillock close to monastery transpires one to leap into spiritual mode.  The monastery being thronged by devotees as far away from neighbouring taluks of Bantwal, Putur, Vittal,  Bellore, Sullia and Mangalore to offer prayers. 

This Friary is nearly 10kms away from Mangalore on national highway 48 is also known for its famous Sant mari-Coventheche Vodlen Fest.  It is actually the feast of the patron saint- Francis of Assisi.  There is a wooden carved statue of St. Francis of Assisi which was brought by the Portuguese. 480 years old. No where can we see a statue of St. Francis of Assisi holding a cross and a Bible in his hand indicating a missionary and proclaiming Christ.  It is a miracle statue.  Many faithful including other religion brothers and sisters pay their homage and ask for favours. 
When the capuchins began their Novitiate in 1930 they began the practice of celebrating the feast on the first Thursday after the October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. THEY CELEBRATE IT ON THURSDAY, SINCE THE MONASTERY’S RULE RESTRICTED THEM FROM EATING MEAT ON WEDNESDAYS. OTHER THAN THIS THERE WAS NO OTHER REASON WHY IT WAS CELEBRATED ON A THURSDAY.  Hence, the feast which gives a start to the Voddelm fest season in the entire Mangalore diocese is known as ‘Coventhachem Fest-feast of the Friary.  One of the special features of this feast is that beggars from all over who come to the friary on the festal day were fed in the afternoon.

With the passing of years the devotees for the ‘’Coventhachem Fest’’ became less and less.  It was traditionally celebrated on Thursday.  But Thursday was not a holiday.  The other reason could be there are fewer children in families and the elders go for work.  So there was no opportunity to participate in the feast. Hence, when all people take part, the young, the old and the children there is much joy and celebration.   
Taking into consideration all these reasons of common people’s life, the present superior         {who spent 16 years among the poorest of the poor in Raichur District of Bellary Diocese} and the community took the bold decision with the consultation of deanery priests of shifting this historical feast from Thursday to the first Sunday of October.
 The reason is that today there are classes on Thursday and the elders go for work.  Thus they are unable to attend mass on the feast day.  As a result the present as well as the future generation will not know the history about the celebration of the feast of ‘’Farangipet Coventh’’.  To make it more convenient to all the elders as well as children the celebration of the feat is shifted to Sunday.  Meals are served to all who take part in the festal celebration. 

On Sunday’s people from Omzoor, Merlapadav, Bantwal, Bellore, Fajir, Padil, Mogarnad and Loreto participate in the Holy Eucharist in our chapel.  There is a deep love and veneration for our friary which has come down from our forefathers.
The celebration of the ‘’Montifest’’ started in our Friary in the month of September because the feast of Ganapathi was celebrated by our Hindu brethren in that month.  It lasted for 9 days.  On all these 9 days they ate neither meat nor fish but only vegetable.  Fr. Joachim Miranda began 9 days of Novena in honour of the Nativity of Mary.  This was followed lately in our houses.  The blessed new corn that is brought to houses is consumed by the family members.  There were no non-veg dishes on that day.
The statue of Infant Mary which is preserved in our chapel has an interesting history.  It is from Italy.  It was brought by a family in Nelyadi.  They wanted to donate it to a Church.  Meanwhile they were told by some Mangalorean family that the feast of the Nativity took birth in Monte Mariano Farangipet.  And one fine day with the whole family they visited here donated the statue to us. 


Sunrise at Netravathi River....flowing down.....our Noviciate is on the bank of the river,,,,,
There is a wooden carved statue of St. Francis of Assisi brought by the Portuguese and it is 480 years old.  Nowhere one can see a statue of St. Francis holding a cross and the Bible in his hand.  This shows the missionary life of Francis proclaiming Christ.  It is a miracle statue.  Many people including people of other religions pay their homage to St. Francis and ask for favours.

There is a Commerce School which caters to the need of poor dropout girls in tailoring and Provide computer education too. We have begun a play home too.
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