By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
The Hispanic tradition of las posadas begins tonight (Dec. 16) and continues through Dec. 24. People participate at parishes or in parishioners’ homes. Las posadas is the re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter. Each evening typically begins with recitation of the rosary. Participants with roles in the re-enactment sing and journey from one place to another, such as a parish hall, home or neighborhood, asking for a place to stay until someone welcomes them. The songs turn joyous at that point. Following las posadas, participants gather for treats, snacks or a meal of traditional Hispanic foods, sponsored by families.
Here is a list of las posadas taking place in the Diocese of Davenport, as provided to The Catholic Messenger:
• Columbus Junction — St. Joseph Parish will host las posadas at 6:30 p.m. from Dec. 16-23.
• Davenport — St. Anthony will host las posadas in Spanish nightly at 6 p.m. in the parish center with a reception afterwards. Children will be dressed to represent Joseph, Mary, angels and animals. Participants will recite the rosary, singing a song between each mystery. On Dec. 18, las posadas will be bilingual. On Dec. 24, following the 7 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass, the gathering will sing songs.
• Iowa City — St. Patrick Parish will host las posadas Dec. 16-23 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the social hall.
• Muscatine — Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish will host las posadas Dec. 16-20, 22 and 23 at 6 p.m. in Gannon Hall, with a reception afterwards. Posadas on Dec. 21 and 24 will be held in parishioners’ homes. Contact the parish for the locations. No receptions will be held those two days.
• Ottumwa — Las posadas will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 16-23 with Scripture readings and songs at St. Mary of the Visitation Parish. Participants will receive drinks, cookies and candy to take home.
• Washington — St. James Parish will host las posadas Dec. 16-23 at 7 p.m. in the church, followed by a meal. The Dec. 23 event will be the biggest celebration followed by a meal and piñantas.
• West Liberty — Las posadas will be held Dec. 16-24 at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish.