A number of Goans who trace their roots to Assolna celebrated their village feast of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, with a Mass and social gathering organised by the Assolna Goans UK in Hounslow-London on November 19.
Fr Adrian Fernandes, a member of the Society of Pilar who hails from Assolna and is presently based in Rome, celebrated the Mass at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church in Heston, one of the London Boroughs of Hounslow.
The Mass was celebrated in Konkani and in his homily, Fr Adrian focused on faith, family and renewal. The choir was led by Edwin Rodrigues and two angels and Confraria members were present during the Mass. Members participated in the offertory procession. The vote of thanks in the church was delivered by Dolly Crasto who also handled the distribution of the Liturgy.
The statue of Our Lady was also kept in the church throughout the Mass and was later taken into the Hall.
A social gathering followed after the Mass and one of the UKs leading Goan band 'Treble Makers' enthralled the crowd and people on the dancing floor. DJ Allyzandro also brought in the younger generation on the floor. The event was compered and hosted by Jhofild D'Costa, one of the organising members and a noted Tiatrist and singer.
Traditional Goan food was prepared by some of the villagers at home. Traditional Kadio-Bodio were also served to all guests.
A beauty queen contest was organised on the occasion and Minoshka Noronha was crowned the queen. A round of housie was conducted, while there were many spot prizes.
Franky D'Silva, Sharlet D'Silva, Silvano Crasto, Miltonio and family, Flida, Mivon, Olinda, Roy Rodrigues and Edwin Rodrigues coordinated with the overall arrangements, while Betty Rodrigues took charge of the accounts and the entry desk. Antonio and Rosefern took the responsibility of the food counter.
“This year, the turnout was more compared to last year, since many of our villagers, their relatives and friends turned up in large numbers,” said Jhofild D'Costa.
Fr Adrian Fernandes was pleased to witness the spirit and unity among his villagers in the UK and also volunteered in helping them in spirituality if anyone needed his guidance.
Fr Fernandes is presently pursuing his doctorate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with specialisation in Catholic Social Teachings. He served as the Assistant Parish Priest at the Natività di Maria Santissima parish, Aprilia, Italy
ASSOLNA UNION UK
According to Jhofild D'Costa, the Assolna Union UK was formed last year 2022, when many moved to the UK a year before Brexit.
“Basically 90% of us were working on the ship or came from the Gulf countries,” said Jhofild.
He said the Assolna Union UK aims to reach out to each and every villager here in the UK and bring everyone together.
“We have just started with our village feast, but in the future we may as well do the Goa Day in UK. Apart from the feast celebrations, we want to organise more events so we are in the process of networking with more and more people.
Asked if the Assolna Union UK has organised other activities, Jhofild replied: “Since we are new to this part of the world, and started our activities only from 2022, we did not get an opportunity to conduct or organise other events. But this year, we had our Assolna UK picnic at Shoreham by Sea which was an instant hit.”
To another query on whether the Assolna Union UK supported any initiative or project in Assolna, Jhofild said they are trying to help the needy in Assolna in whatever way they can.
“For that, we need to build our funds. Within two years, an organisation here in the UK cannot be financially strong. But we have supported our church in Assolna by donating cash prizes during Christmas events in our village and we tend to do more in the future,” he said.