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Children of many different cultural backgrounds participated in the Hispanic tradition of Las Posadas at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption on Monday, Dec. 21. Las Posadas is a tradition brought to Mexico from Spain in the 1500s by missionaries and is celebrated in Mexico and parts of Central and South America. Posadas means ‘inns’ in Spanish, and Las Posadas commemorates Mary and Joseph’s struggle to find an inn in Bethlehem for the Child Jesus to be born. Many Posadas are nine nights long, symbolizing the nine months of pregnancy, ending on Christmas Eve.
“Welcoming the stranger is what Posadas is all about,” said Mary E. Cortez in her welcoming speech. “Mary and Joseph, seeking a place to sleep and continually be rejected as strangers. Our participation in posadas this evening is a sign of unity and love.”
Typically, different families will play the part of the innkeepers as they host each night’s Posada. Neighborhood children and adults play the part of the pilgrims— peregrinos— traveling from house to house looking for a place to stay while singing about Mary and Joseph searching for lodging. They beg for shelter at different homes, being turned away twice, before being welcomed in the third inn. The Posadas teach us that by welcoming the poor and the needy, we are welcoming Jesus in our midst. In the Cathedral Posadas, which is only one night, children portray the story dressed as angels and shepherds leading the way for Mary and Joseph. The event began with the Rev. Andy Booms leading the congregation in a bilingual Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The children then processed around the Cathedral as those gathered sang about their search for shelter. When they were welcomed into the third inn, the children and adults listened to a reading from the Book of Jeremiah and Luke’s Gospel account of the Nativity of the Lord.
The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has many opportunities to celebrate Hispanic heritage. To learn more, click here.