Campus Ministry, dorms celebrate Las Posadas
Alexandra Muck | Tuesday, December 5, 2017
For the past five years, the Notre Dame community has marked the coming of the Christmas season with an annual tradition of Las Posadas. During this year’s celebration, students and others in attendance will meet at the Grotto at 9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights for a walk, prayer, singing and food.
Las Posadas, which is Spanish for “the inns,” reenacts a passage from the Gospel of Luke where Mary and Joseph search for shelter before Jesus is born, Becky Ruvalcaba, assistant director of multicultural ministry in Campus Ministry, said in an email.
“[It] is an advent celebration revolving around the concept of hospitality,” she said. “ … We learn from the Posadas that by welcoming the poor and the needy, we are welcoming Jesus in our midst.”
The walk will end at Stanford Hall on Monday night, the Coleman-Morse Center on Tuesday night and Farley Hall on Wednesday night.
Junior Audrey Immonen, the spirituality commissioner for Farley Hall, said in an email that the event will feature one leader, three readers and two people to play Mary and Joseph.
Ruvalcaba said the tradition is typical in Latin American countries and is usually held the nine days before Christmas.
Besides Campus Ministry, Ruvalcaba said Farley and Stanford Halls play large roles in the event, but people from across campus participate.
Campus Ministry plans the date at least two months in advance and then coordinates with Farley to set the locations each night, Immonen said.. She plans for the night when Farley hosts.
“I recruit Farley’s Finest to read Bible passages and play Mary and Joseph,” she said. “We also order delicious Venezuelan food from the Mango Cafe here in South Bend — the night is full of empanadas, arepas and hot chocolate.”
Elaine DeBassige, the rector of Farley, helped bring the tradition to campus several years ago.
“I come from a state and culture that celebrates their faith through pilgrimage at Advent and Lent,” she said in an email. “Pilgrimage helps us to think about the journey we all make in our faith life.”
DeBassige said her family always welcomed strangers.
“When we open Farley’s door to let the pilgrims in for a prayer and food, it reminds me of home and the way this cultural tradition shaped my faith,” she said.
Immonen said her favorite part of the event is when people remember that Mary and Joseph were refugees.
“Nowadays, refugees are vilified and marginalized, and people forget that God was once one,” she said.
Ruvalcaba and Immonen both said the community is one of their favorite parts of the event as well.
“This event reminds students that we are called to walk with each other on the journey,” Immonen said.
DeBassige ultimately sees the celebration as a time for the campus to come together.
“One of the greatest gifts of a college education is the exchange of ideas, culture and life,” she said. “These things expand who we are when we dare to share. … The table that Christ sets then becomes more accessible to more people because it is another way to access the Catholic faith.”
She said that making these traditions accessible helps make strangers seem less intimidating and more like friends or family.
“Isn’t that what Notre Dame is all about?” she said.