We in Goa are devoted to mother Mary. We invoke her with several names. These names do not name several Marys but enable us to come to one and only mother Mary by focusing on one of her virtues or characteristics at a time. To us, she brings hope as our Lady of Hope as well as brings endurance in suffering as our Lady of Sorrow. Different names of mother Mary enable us to bring our life into the life of God. Our life in Goa thus gets several entry points into divine life while we celebrate the feasts of mother Mary in our Parishes. Mother Mary opens the door to us to the life of her son, Jesus Christ and brings new joy and renewed enthusiasm to our spirit to live as his disciples. Mother Mary in the popular devotions of the people in Goa transcends the strictures of systematic study of her role in the history of salvation that we call Mariology. In the popular devotion, one can see that her role in the day to day lives and struggles of the people. Thus, her feasts in Goa have become occasions that intertwine the lives of our people with Mother Mary. There are instances, where Mother Mary doubles up as one of the six Sisters invoked by our Hindu brothers and sisters with deep admiration, affection and faith. Mother Mary to us Goans of all walks of life has become indeed a sign of unity and Goan-ness.
The feast of Mother of the Poor in Nuvem Parish is one such event in the festive calendar of Goa that signifies unity and Goan-ness. Mary, the mother of the poor is invoked as Mae dos Pobres in Nuvem. Her feast is celebrated with great pomp and devotion on the first Sunday in Nuvem. Like every other feast in Goa, the feast of Mae dos Pobres has a tradition that unites the generations of parishioners who lived in the village adjacent to Margao that we know as Nuvem. Beginning from the days of hard work and poverty, Mother Mary enabled her children in Nuvem to feel that they are cared for, loved and accepted by God even in their poverty and helplessness. Down the years, this sense of being cared for and accompanied by mother Mary has indeed brought self-belief and deep faith in the simple folks of Nuvem. Mother Mary has certainly energized their hard work and they have been happily enjoying the blessed fruits of their labour and toil and along with other blessings of God.
It is said that the ancestors of the hard-working people of Nuvem were working in mining and road-building projects and often were away from home for months. It is narrated with a great love of our hard-working simple folks of yester years that they would always make it a point to come back home to honour their dead ancestors on every 2nd November of the year. It was also an occasion that gave rest to their much needing bodies as well as united them to their kith and kin. As most of the villagers, were in the village at the beginning of the month of November, the feast of Mae dos Pobres was celebrated on the first Sunday of November every year. It said that it is because of this that we have this tradition of celebrating the feast in Nuvem on the first Sunday of November. Mother Mary as the mother of the poor seamlessly entered the life of the then poor folks of Nuvem. Now, this tradition has thickened and life has changed. The humble beginnings of the feast of Our Lady of the Poor have profoundly metamorphosed embracing tradition and change with time. All people of Nuvem continue to resonate and enter a stupefying enthusiasm in anticipation of the feast of Mother Mary in their village.
Like the good old days, the feast of Mae dos Pobres unites all the people of Nuvem around her. Everyone in Nuvem structures and organizes his/ her life around the pivotal event of her feast. Families, relatives and friends come together and the entire village rises to an atmosphere of festive joy. The fact that covid-19 infection seems to have been on the receding end, the people of Nuvem find new enthusiasm and joyfully await to continue their tradition of celebration of their feast. As the day finally arrives, the people of Nuvem with deep faith and devotion to Mother Mary celebrated the feast of Mae dos Pobres with much love and faith. It becomes a festive day of tremendous joy that brings together, tradition, life, culture and the divine. The centre of the feast is Mother Mary. She is joyfully celebrated in the Church, the traditional fair and the homes of the people. All people in Nuvem enter the life of God as they celebrate their feast. May the mother of the poor bless all people of Nuvem. Happy feast Nuvekars!