I thought if the Posadas procession would begin on December 16th with a few pilgrims, Mary and Joseph would not be alone and we could begin with a reflection about “hospitality.” I should never have worried. Already by the starting time at 6 PM, 150 people had gathered. In fact, by the end of the hour long walk around a few blocks of our Back of the Yards neighborhood, 350 people joined in singing the traditional Posadas song.
We entered into the hall, where the kids were greeted by a Santa Claus, a record number of piñatas to break, and offered food and drink. I was amazed as the mothers of the Children’s Choir had enough tostadas, hot dogs, and posole to serve everyone. A special raffle was held of 36 turkeys and 12 hams. Turkeys were donated by Maple Pointe Apartments, the company of Ranferi Hernandez, which came from Secretary of State Jesse White, and additional turkeys and hams were donated by State Senator Maddie Hunter. Parents were very appreciative and the gifts were timely. As the kids broke the piñatas, Fr. Hector played Christmas songs over a stereo system. The atmosphere was festive and families sat and talked with one another. At the end of the whole celebration, children were given bags of peanuts and candy as they departed the hall.
The Posadas was a wonderful gathering of people, having fun, celebrating and remembering the tradition of Mary and Joseph looking for a place where the light of the world might be given birth. So many people made donations and helped prepare each evening. Indeed, the light is born amongst us with their giving! I imagined all the children who participated in Posadas returning home each evening, exhausted perhaps, but filled with a positive safe memory of being cared for by our adults. I think this is what gives kids hope when confronted with the darkness of night. Memory is a powerful medicine when in need.
Even amidst the economic poverty, and the lack of jobs, the stress of overcrowding, the light of Christ is among our people, as we value the friendship and service to our children and families.
May the New Year be filled with many more such memories. Thank you to all who made our Posadas memorable and wonderful. Thank you for your giving and love. A happy and blessed new year!
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF