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The Journey to the Inn

4/1/2016

by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

As we focus on building the domestic church, now is the time to prepare our parishes to welcome the Holy Family

Carl A. Anderson

Carl A. Anderson

For many centuries, one of the most effective means of evangelization was the dramatization of events recounted in the New Testament.

During the Middle Ages these reenactments became known as “mystery” or “passion” plays. The most famous of these has been performed every 10 years since 1634 in the Bavarian town of Oberammergau. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Franciscan missionaries used similar performances to great effect in transmitting the faith to the native peoples of New Spain. One of the most popular became known as Las Posadas — meaning “the Inns” or “the Shelters.”

Today, thousands of parishes throughout Mexico continue this tradition and celebrate the Posada during Advent. Each year, millions of Mexican children together with their parents retrace the steps of Mary and Joseph in search of a room at the inn. In many parishes the Posada is celebrated with hymns, a rosary, piñatas and a meal.

Several years ago, as part of our effort to reach out to Hispanic communities, we began promoting Posada celebrations through our councils. The program became so popular that last year we adapted it for use by all parishes and published a booklet titled Journey to the Inn: An Advent Celebration.

In my Columbia column this past January, I wrote that our youth need a stronger relationship with their parish and that parishes need more effective youth programs. I also asked that as part of our Building the Domestic Church While Strengthening Our Parish initiative, grand knights meet with pastors to discuss how their council can support parish-based youth activities.

For decades, one of our most successful programs has been “Keep Christ in Christmas.” The challenge seems to grow each year as social and commercial pressures make it more difficult to keep the reason for the season foremost in our minds. And no one is more vulnerable to these pressures than our children and our grandchildren.

So this year, as part of our Building the Domestic Church While Strengthening Our Parish initiative, I ask our councils to bring our parish families together with Mary and Joseph on the journey to the inn.

Where this tradition does not already exist in a parish I ask that our grand knights discuss with their pastors the possibility of the local council sponsoring such a program during Advent and getting it scheduled on the parish calendar now.

Where the parish already celebrates such an event, the council can offer its assistance to involve more families or to combine it with a council-sponsored meal or charitable event for the children.

Why has the Posadabeen so popular? I think it is because it teaches each new generation that the Holy Family is not some abstraction or ideal, but an actual family that daily faced the difficulties of real life. In accompanying Mary and Joseph as they search for shelter, the Posada teaches the fundamental lesson that the Holy Family truly accompanies us.

Moreover, in accompanying the Holy Family to the inn and in offering Mary and Joseph a helping hand, we discover that we have been gathered together and called as a community to help each other.

These are lessons that the Knights of Columbus is providentially positioned to transmit to the next generation of Catholics. When we observe Advent later this year, let’s make sure that millions of children in thousands of parishes learn them.

This is one of the best ways we can Keep Christ in Christmas in our parishes and our families. The time to begin planning is now.

Vivat Jesus!