Fr. James Farfaglia, Catholic Online's "Happy Priest," is the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in the heart of Corpus Christi, Texas. After a 30 year absence, this year the parish re-established the celebration of a major Mexican celebration for Christmas - Las Posadas.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - For several years, Catholic Online readers have been able to feast on the homilies and feature articles from Fr. James Farfaglia, our "Happy Priest." He does much more, however, than write for us. He is, first and foremost, a pastor.
Fr. Farfaglia is a priest in the Diocese of Corpus Christi and pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, located in the heart of this Texas port city. With a largely Hispanic population, the parish recently re-instituted the celebration of "Las Posadas" or "the Nine Christmas Posadas" after a 30 year absence.
The Corpus Christi Caller Times found out about the event and write a great story on Fr. Farfaglia and the people at OLOG parish. You can read the story here.
Las Posadas, means "the inns" or "the lodgings" is a wonderful celebration lasting nine days. Each year, this Novena features a nightly reenactment of the search for a place to stay by St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In anticipation of Las Posadas, each home puts up a nativity scene and the families act as innkeepers.
The procession, walking with lit candles, is normally headed by children with a little girl playing the part of Virgen Maria (Virgin Mary) and a boy as San Jose (St. Joseph). The two are "Los Peregrinos," or pilgrims, in search of a place to stay. Other children dressed as angels and shepherds and then the adults follow them. In some areas, statues of Los Peregrinos are carried instead. A small doll, representing the Christ child is also carried.
They walk through a neighborhood, stopping at homes where they knock on doors and ask for lodging by singing a traditional litany. The pilgrims sing, "In the name of heaven, I ask you for shelter because my beloved wife can continue no longer."
Then the innkeepers sing, "This is no inn, continue on your way. I am not about to open. You may be a scoundrel."
Normally three houses are chosen and the pilgrims are turned away from the first two.
They finally stop at a home that has been pre-selected for that evening's celebration, where they are welcomed in as the innkeepers sing, "Let us sing with joy, all bearing in mind that Jesus, Joseph and Mary honor us by having come.'
Upon entering, the celebration begins with the recitation of the Rosary around the home's nativity scene followed by the singing of Christmas Carols. After that, a huge party is held with music, fireworks, lots of food, and a pińata for the children filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges, tangerines, candy canes, and wrapped hard candy.
The children may be enjoying their pińata, the adults also have a treat in store - "Ponche con Piquete," or party punch, made from seasonal fruits and cinnamon sticks with a shot of alcoholic spirits.
The Christ-child doll is left at the house overnight and then recovered the next day when the pilgrims again take up their procession for the next of eight successive nights, ending on Christmas Eve.
Las Posadas has its roots in a sixteenth century practice by St. Igantius of Loyola who had used an Aztec festival to teach the people about Christ. He replaced a nine-day celebration to an Aztec Sun God with a Novena, which later grew into the Las Posadas celebration, which anticipates La Navidad, the Nativity, on Christmas Day.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Each year, millions of people across the United States rush to grocery stores and prepare to visit their families in celebration of Thanksgiving. Visiting loved ones and enjoying a specially prepared meal are both wonderful parts of celebrating, but don't forget to ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading
By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News
Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading