The month of September – next to December - is the most anxiously awaited month in the calendar year. More than the adults, in this coastal region of Konkan, it is the children who become quite vibrant, excited, enthusiastic and filled with full of life and spirit to participate in the morning Mass and the Novena of the Infant Mary by bringing variety of flowers for nine days to honour Her in order to celebrate befittingly the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has been all along an electrifying experience both for children and their respective parents and many others who come around the Maria Bambina (Baby Mary) statue to pour out their love, devotion and jubilation because this is ONE Feast which brings members of all families together from far and near for a celebration of family meal prepared out of the first fruits: vegetables and new rice corn - signs of God’s abundant blessings after the copious rain which results in variety of flowers, vegetables and rice – all nature’s gifts of the rainy season commensurate with the September 08 solemnity of the Birthday of our Heavenly Mother Mary.
But unfortunately this September is also going to be a month of isolation devoid of any celebrations of worship, devotion, prayer and novenas because of the corona virus pandemic which still takes sway and continues to attack humans day after day taking away their joys, happiness and jubilation and even depriving them of their most sought after traditional festivities and celebrations. ‘What cannot be cured, must be endured’ is an age old saying. While I request all of you to accept the present situation of this pandemic prevailing all over the world, I invite you to keep your spirits still very high and to come together for nine days before 08th in your respective homes with your family members, singing hymns and honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary with flowers as you would do before the Grotto of your parish and then after viewing the Eucharistic celebration of the solemnity of the Nativity of Mother Mary on the TV, gather together to partake in the festive meal as you would do every year on September 08.
The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross will follow on 14th, St Matthew Apostle and Evangelist on 21st and of Archangels: Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael on 29th of this month. Let us all place ourselves in the hands of Our Heavenly Mother whom we will venerate as Baby Mary on 08th September for Her protection and powerful intercession, rejoice because Christ’s death on the Cross has brought us salvation, read the word of God, reflect on it, try to live as lived and proclaimed by St Matthew and surrender ourselves to the care and protection of these Archangels to be freed from the evil one and all evils.
May God’s abundant blessings be upon you all and may our heavenly Mother continue to protect us and intercede for us always.
XGerald Isaac Lobo
Bishop of Udupi