Konkani goes for a toss at Konkani Speaking Community function Special

Posted Dec 4, 2009 by Armstrong Vaz
Ekvott (unity) is the title of the magazine published by the Konkani Speaking Community of the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Qatar. I
In the spirit of unity—Eka kalzan, eka Tallean Ekvott zaun devak dinvassum-ia (in one heart, one voice, united,we praise the lord) says the editor of the magazine, Eddie Sequeira.
So far so good regarding the magazine, but, what hit the bull's eye during the celebrations of the feat of St Francis Xavier was speakers after speakers from the Konkani Speaking Community spoke in English, after the mass had ended.
The long list of speakers started with vote of thanks, with the lady perhaps having forgotten to bring her Konkani speech to church , scripted her speech in English and having the courtesy of only saying Dev Borem Korun (thank you) twice in her vote of thanks, the only Konkani words, she uttered in her ten-minute speech.
And, if Goans were eagerly awaiting Father Gasper Fernandes to speak in Konkani, he too disappointed the gathering by speaking in English.
But, then they all took shelter under a different umbrella. Yes, the traditional winter rains may have not hit Doha Qatar this year, but then the Konkani speaking church leaders had justification in saying some of the guests who attended the high feast mass did not know Konkani and so it was in the fittest of things that they, Goan priest spoke in English.
Further they justified that it was not just the feast celebrations which were conducted after the mass but a farewell for Father Andrew. Father Andrew, the Mlaylee priest along with Father Gasper Fernandes have been transferred to the Kuwaiti vicariate.
For the unknowns, Konkani Speaking Community is a group is a unification of the Goan and Mangalorean groups coming under banner, thanks to the sterling role played by Gasper Fernandes.
But in Father Gasper’s own words: “The group is in a fragile state now, but it is left to every person of the Konkani speaking Community to contribute towards making it a strong and consolidated one.”
In that regards the incumbent Father Anand George Castelino from Mangalore has an uphill task of continuing from where Gasper left. The rumbling are quite open, it is bound to happen in two diverse groups coming together. The absence of Mangaloreans in the choir group for the feast day novenas and feast day mass was such clear sign.
But Anand’s deep understanding of music as a music instructor should be the right balm or the glue which the Konkani speaking community should be looking forward to.
Music has transcended boundaries and is the unifying factor for many communities and father Anand’s love for it should certainly stir up a new generations of Goans and Mangaloreans children going hand in hand, with music as the most inspiring and uniting factor.
Music and church connection is very old.
Church run schools back in Goa had a tradition of producing some of the best know musicians of the times; sadly the practice has taken a back seat. Today, we hardly see Goan young musicians playing the wind instruments or we rarely find a youngster playing the violin. The feast day choir was another predominant guitar based group.
Hopefully Anand will assert himself in the coming days and pass on another musical legacy to the aspiring musicians and also over the use of more Konkani at church functions.
The use of English continued at the farewell function of father Gasper Fernandes held in an adjoining hall, right from the first speaker one to the last speaker. Indeed, it reminded me of my Gaun-bhau Antonio Pideade Moraes, who always instilled in us the beautiful and enriching words that our mai-bhas has been blessed with, certainly the speakers of the Konkani Speaking Community of Qatar has made us poorer on the great feast day by speaking in English.
Father Gasper replying to his farewell function said: “You helped me to grow spiritually, nourished me with your love, inspired me with your prayers and devotion, touched my heart with your gentleness and hospitality and over all accepted me as I am nothing less and nothing more. Please forgive me- for sometimes being rash and rude in my behavior I might have hurt by my words, deeds or action knowingly or unknowingly.”
Father Andrew said: “I thank you for been a priest loving community. Kuwait is an extension of Qatar for us, as both I and Gasper will be there and with us, will be all your prayers and blessings.”
The function has had its moments of Konkani glory when Father Jesus Nazareth Rodrigues, sang a few Konkani numbers including one dedicated to Gaspar – Adeus Korcha Vellar.
Designer Tailors proprietor Filipe and Rosita Fernandes was the Pirgintt and ten odd people were Murdoms of the feast (according to Ekvott magazine).
If you intent to get the copy of the magazine through email then write to
But, one thing is for sure Roman Catholics (going to church in Qatar) will miss out on the powerful, soul-searching, meaningful, purposeful and enriching sermon’s of Gasper. In that way, Qatar Church will be poorer while Kuwait parishioners will be the winners. But you have to end somewhere to make a new beginning.