By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON – This year two parishes had a special inn or Posada, with the presence of Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri of Guatemala, who became a pilgrim asking for an inn for the birth of the Savior. In the parishes of St. Anne Carthage and St. Michael Forest, cardinal Ramazzini was accompanied by the priests of the parishes, Odel Medina, ST and Roberto Mena, ST, respectively, and was followed by dozens of pilgrims, including numerous children dressed as Mary and Joseph.
As is tradition, during the walking tour, several songs were sung, the Holy Rosary was prayed and the pilgrims carried candles. At the end of the road, a few blocks walking, the pilgrims reach the house of one of the parishioners who open the door, after the well-known Christmas carol, where the pilgrims, headed by Joseph, explain to the owner of the house, that Mary being pregnant of the Word made flesh, Jesus, needs a place to rest.
In Carthage and Forest, the cardinal accompanied the pilgrims asking for Posada, a tradition before Christmas that represents the Holy Family in search of refuge. History tells that they looked for an inn until, at the end, they found a place in a stable.
In the parish of St. Anne Carthage, cardinal Ramazzini sang “Silent Night” with parishioners, a song that reminds that Christmas Eve is a night of peace and an announcement of the gift that Jesus gives – peace and love.
Cardinal Ramazzini blessed the house and everyone present. At the end of the Inn, as is common, there was music, prayers and Guatemalan food, accompanied by a hot punch to remedy the cold outside.
At St Michael Forest, after the Posada, a Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz, Cardinal Ramazzini was the homilist and Father Roberto Mena, St the concelebrant. In the end, the parishioners enjoyed traditional Guatemalan dances and food in the spirit of Christmas.
Cardinal Ramazzini arrived to Mississippi to give words of encouragement to families affected by immigration raids, coinciding with the time of Advent. The cardinal explained, in his visits in both parishes, that the tribulation of the Holy Family seeking refuge and the humility of the place of Jesus’ birth demonstrates Jesus gave himself to serve humanity. The Holy Family only found a place where shepherds kept animals and tools, in a very humble place “… and it was there that the son of God was born, the one who has power over humanity,” said Cardinal Ramazzini. He came “to teach us that giving ourselves to others makes us happy.”
He added that “to be Christian is to be consistent with your faith and help each other, … if [you] believe that God is love, that is the way forward.”