Campus Ministry hosts Las Posadas
Megan Valley | Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The Catholic liturgical season of Advent, which began Sunday, marks a time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas, and Campus Ministry is hosting a corresponding celebration of Las Posadas, a traditional procession that celebrates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem before Christ was born. Las Posadas, which means “lodgings” in Spanish, will be celebrated Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at the Grotto. Participants will then continue to Fisher Hall, Farley Hall and the Coleman-Morse Center, all of which are co-sponsors for the celebration.
Campus Ministry intern and senior Steven Fisher, who focuses on Latino ministry, said in an email that the event will be a condensed version of the traditional celebration.
“If you were to grow up in Mexico, Central America or the Southwest United States, the celebration of Las Posadas would be a hallmark for nine days of your Advent season,” he said. “Each day you and your family would join a procession led by two individuals dressed as Mary and Joseph, and together, everyone reenacts their journey to the inn in Bethlehem. You’d arrive at certain designated homes in the neighborhood and in song ask for lodging until the homeowner finally recognizes Mary and Joseph. Once inside everyone joins together for prayer and good tamales, piñatas, punch and, if you’re my grandmother, a hidden bottle of tequila.”
Fisher said the Notre Dame version will start with a short gathering at the Grotto before two students, in the role of Mary and Joseph, lead a musical procession to each building, where there will be a short prayer service and Gospel reading before refreshments are served. Coro Primavera, a Spanish choir, and MariachiND will lead the songs.
“The song we sing goes back and forth between the procession and the hosts playing the role of the innkeepers,” Fisher said. “It’s one that illuminates my own childhood memories in Mexico of days leading to Christmas and allows my heart to swell with love for my own faith and heritage. To ask for lodging not only from the cold, but also from our own loneliness and longing to be loved and love others invites everyone to open their hearts. Together as a community, we serve as each other’s shelter.”
Offering different Catholic traditions at Notre Dame is important because it exposes students to different “modes of expression that the Catholic faith offers for everyone’s spiritual growth,” Fisher said.
“For Latino students and all who participate, Las Posadas presents an opportunity to forge culture and identity in creative alliance for an understanding of faith that collaborates with tradition, local experience and scripture, and as a result, reclaims the diversity of Catholicism as a source of vitality,” he said.
Elaine DeBassige, rector of Farley Hall and the woman who brought Las Posadas to campus, said in an email that including cultural Catholic traditions is important because it embodies the Catholic faith.
“Christ invites everyone to the table, and by including other cultural celebrations, it gives light to the many ways people from around the world come together to honor and praise God.”