LAS POSADAS IN BAKERSFIELD
St. Paul's hosts event bringing together many faith communities including many congregations from the Diocese of San Joaquin.
On Monday, December 16th, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Bakersfield, in partnership with other local faith communities and the Episcopal Diocese San Joaquin, hosted a "Las Posadas" during this season of Advent.
Las Posadas, Spanish for “the inns,” is an Advent celebration of hospitality in Mexico and some parts of Central and South America. The Posadas symbolize Mary and Joseph’s long, frustrating search for a place to stay where Jesus could be born.
Traditionally, different neighborhood families take turns scheduling a night to host the Posada, beginning December 16th and ending on the 24th. The host family acts as the innkeepers, while the other neighbors act as pilgrims, or “peregrinos,” going from house to house singing about Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay. The pilgrims are turned away at every house until, reaching the hosts’ home, they are welcomed for the night.
The Posadas began at St. Paul's and traveled eastward through the streets of Bakersfield stopping at various points as Mary and Joseph attempted to seek refuge. Per tradition of the Posada, Mary and Joseph were repeated turned away. The group of about 40 people were led by the Cross and Mariachi band.
The profound moment of the evening occurred when the Posadas arrived as the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center. With barbed wire fences in the background, the Posadas paused at the Mesa Verde Center to pray for our immigrant brothers and sisters, especially those who are detained and separated from their families.
"Continuing the tradition of the Pilgrimage of Hope, 'we walk because they walk,'" said Dean Ryan. "Tonight, we trace the steps of Mary and Joseph. We also continue to walk in the footsteps of our sisters and brothers who yearn for a better life, freedom, safety, and opportunity. That is their story and it is also the story of our faith--the holy parents and the Christ child."
The Posadas concluded at the First Christian Church of Bakersfield with food, music, and festivities.