SAN DIEGO — Young adults are invited to enter into the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter on that first Christmas.
The diocesan Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry is partnering with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Barrio Logan to present its annual La Posada Navideña.
The bilingual event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.
It will begin inside the church with a recitation of the rosary, accompanied by prayer and song. After that, participants will venture outside for an explanation of the posada tradition and a reflection that will connect it to the modern world.
Then, they will walk in procession through the parish grounds, led by a statue of Mary and Joseph depicted as the “Santos Peregrinos” (Holy Pilgrims) on their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
The procession will stop at the doors of various buildings on the parish property. Through the lyrics of the traditional posada song, “Joseph” will request lodging and will be rebuffed. After being turned away at several doors, Joseph and Mary will be welcomed into the parish hall.
“Then, we all go in, and that’s where the party’s waiting for us,” said Maricruz Flores, director of the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
Young adults will enjoy a celebration with Mexican food and desserts, such as tamales, pan dulce and champurrado, and take part in some “dinámicas,” or games. There also will be a piñata.
A beloved Mexican Advent tradition, the posada also serves as a mini-catechism lesson.
Brilema Perez, associate director of the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry, explained that posada traditions can be traced back more than 400 years to Spanish missionaries’ efforts to teach the faith to the native population of Mexico.
She notes that the piñata traditionally has seven spikes, representing the “seven deadly sins” of envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath. She said breaking the piñata and releasing the candy inside is a reminder of the “goodness” that emerges when we break our attachments to sin.
Even the blindfold that is worn and the stick that is swung when hitting the piñata have symbolic meaning. Flores said the former represents the trust we must have that God will guide us in the right direction, while the latter symbolizes the courage that God gives us to renounce our sins.
Both the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish have experience hosting posadas. This is their second consecutive year collaborating on this event.
In previous years, the Youth and Young Adult Office held its own posadas at the diocesan Pastoral Center.
At Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, the posada is also an annual tradition – one that is held over nine successive nights. Posadas will be held at the parish every night from Dec. 16 through Dec. 24, with each installment led by a different ministry.
Jesuit Father Brad Mills, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, said that the posada on Dec. 17 is geared toward young adults, but will be open to everyone. He anticipates that many of his parishioners will be taking part.
Father Mills said that the posada may be a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey 2,000 years ago, but it is relevant to our own spiritual journeys.
“The posada, to me, speaks of that welcome that we all seek … and that invitation to welcome the outsider,” he said, “but also the joy that comes with that, the joy that comes with being a welcoming Church and promoting welcoming families and welcoming communities.”
For more information, contact Brilema Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858) 490-8260.