On Saturday, December 17, 2016 from 5:30 – 6:30 P.M. the Deacon Candidates of the Diocese of Austin, Mobile Loaves & Fishes and Regina Mater Educational Community will host a “live” Posada for the residents of Community First! Village located on 9301 Hog Eye Rd, Austin, TX 78724. Community First! Village is a community for the homeless and disabled with the purpose of restoring dignity to the human person, and it is a development of Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
The Significance of a Posada
The Spanish word “Posada” means “lodging.” A Posada reenacts the journey Joseph and Mary took 2,000 year ago, “Joseph went up from Nazareth, to the city of Bethlehem to be enrolled with Mary because he was of the house of David.” (Lk. 2:4) Incidentally, it was an arduous 80-mile journey for a 14-15 year old, nine month pregnant teenager.
After the journey Joseph asks for “posada” or “lodging” since his spouse is about to give birth but finds none after searching all the inns, “They laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Lk. 2:7) A manger is a feeding trough where animals eat; thus, fulfilling the prophet Isaiah’s words, “The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib.” (1:3)
The History of the Posada
The origins of the Posada come through the nativity scene or crèche which has been depicted in art since the fourth century. It was St. Francis of Assisi who made the scene famous when Pope Honorius III gave permission to exhibit a “live” nativity. St. Francis was a deacon, and he organized a simple nativity scene in 1223 in Greccio, Italy, in an attempt to encourage worship of Christ. He filled a crib with hay, tied a live ox and ass near it and held Mass in front of the display where healing miracles occurred, and the infant Jesus was actually seen in the manger.
The idea of commemorating the holy family’s journey to Bethlehem can be traced back to St. Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits when they would do a Christmas nativity novena for nine successive days. In 1580, the Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross made a religious pageant out of the nativity proceedings, and seven years later the nine-day procession was introduced to the Aztecs in Mexico by Spanish missionaries.
Celebrating the Posada
In the Posada at Community First! Village, the children will dress in costumes and act in various parts traveling from home to home as Mary rides upon a live pony while Joseph asks for “posada” (lodging). Joseph and Mary will travel around the property as everyone follows along praying, reading scripture, and singing Christmas carols. The journey will begin and end at the amphitheater with a “live” stable full of real animals including cows, goats, lambs, donkeys, etc. from a local petting zoo. A potluck celebration will occur after the Posada from 6:30 – 7:30 P.M. Everyone is invited to come and experience Christmas with Joseph and Mary who were the poorest of the poor (Matt.25:40)!
Children and adults are encouraged to dress as shepherds, angels, and wise men. To RSVP that you are coming and sign up online for the potluck. See volunteers for where to park and be mindful of the young and old when doing so. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with any questions.