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Parish Celebration of the Las Posadas Gains Media Attention

By Randy Sly
December 24th, 2011
Catholic Online (

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 piņata for the children filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges, tangerines, candy canes, and wrapped hard candy.

The children may be enjoying their piņata, 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 ( 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.

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