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Las Posadas

posted Dec 27, 2016, 11:00 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Dec 27, 2016, 11:01 AM ]
The tradition of Las Posadas was brought to Mexico in the 1500's by Catholic Missionaries from Spain. Meaning "The Inns", the tradition re-enacts—with a twist, and a happy ending—the story of the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus. As you know, when they were unable to find lodging, they were forced to seek shelter in a stable. But we learn from Las Posadas that by welcoming the poor and the needy, we are welcoming Jesus in our midst.


Each evening for nine nights leading up to Christmas, a candle-lit procession carrying statues of Mary and Joseph visit designated homes singing the first half of a song asking for shelter. The people inside respond singing the second part, that of the innkeeper, saying there is no room. This repeats back and forth a few times at a few different houses until finally reaching the local church, where the inside "innkeepers" decide to let them in. Then the doors open and everyone comes inside for Mass, followed by a party.

Here in the U.S., a growing number of parishes (like ours) are adapting this tradition into a one-time procession which starts outside the church just before Midnight Mass, and the whole congregation participates. Some, (the pilgrims) gather outside or in the front lobby while others (the innkeepers) wait inside. The song is sung in both English and Spanish, and ends with the pilgrims entering the “inn” to a joyous welcome, processing with the figures of Mary and Joseph to place them in the crèche...

Entren santos peregrinos, reciban este rincón.
Aunque_es pobre la morada, os la doy de corazón. 

Enter, holy pilgrims. Welcome to my humble home.
Though ‘tis little I can offer, all I have please call your own.