ANDERSON—For the first time in our history, the parishes of St. Mary of the Angels and St. Joseph joined together to celebrate “Las Posadas,” the ancient Hispanic tradition of commemorating the Holy Family’s pilgrimage from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and their search for lodging before the birth of the Divine Child, Jesus.
Father Bob Higgins of St. Mary of the Angels and Father Philip Gillespie of St. Joseph thought this interparish event would be an inspiring way to share the tradition. The Knights of Columbus Council 8295 formed and led the inter-parish team that coordinated the event.
The Posadas traditionally take place on each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas Eve, signifying the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. For these inaugural interparish Posadas, however, the event was held on two nights: Dec. 18 at St. Mary of the Angels and Dec. 19 at St. Joseph. Sheets were handed out with the words to prayers and songs in Spanish, with English translations. On both nights, the Holy Family’s experience was reenacted using the Posada Song.
The reenactment and prayers were followed by a festive celebration of traditional food and music.
To further enrich this festival, the Friday evening event was preceded by Father Higgins celebrating a Misa de Gallo, or “Mass of the Rooster”, a traditional Filipino Christmas Mass. The order of the Mass, said in the Tagalog language, was led by members of the Filipino communities from both parishes, who then joined in the Posadas celebration.
On both nights, the highlight for the children was the breaking of the colorful Posadas piñata. The traditional seven pointed piñata symbolizes the seven deadly sins that separate us from God. Destroying the piñata while blindfolded signifies triumph over sin through blind faith, which is then rewarded with sweet blessings from God.
The first “Annual Interparish Las Posadas” was a very successful effort. The event celebrated the diversity of the parishes in prayer, music and food from our rich Hispanic, Filipino and English speaking traditions. Everyone appreciated the opportunity that Fathers Higgins and Gillespie provided to learn more about multi-cultural expressions of our Catholic faith.
Submitted by M.E. Massey, from St. Mary of the Angels and Knights of Columbus Council 8295