To keep parishioners safe, Fr Philip Shyrane from Huntingdon decided this year to re-route the Posada journey via Zoom. He describes below how it worked out.
The virus has changed most of parish life, driving most parishes to online Masses and Zoom meetings for many other events.
In St Michael’s Parish in Huntingdon, the journey of the Posada is a regular part of our preparation for Christmas, the statue doing its journey around the families of our parish.
However, in 2020 that was not possible because of the restriction of going to one another’s homes and the danger of passing on infection.
We did not wish to lose this devotion in our parish and so we turned to Zoom meetings for the prayer. The statue remained in the presbytery and is the centre of our prayer via Zoom every weekday evening at 7pm. Our numbers have varied from only one screen joining Fr Philip for the prayer to six screens joining.
Many people have attended several times and have enjoyed meeting each other briefly and then praying the Posada prayers together. As people are attending more than once, I chose different readings each evening, using the theme of journeys in the Bible: the journeys of Abraham, of Moses through the Red Sea, the people of Israel crossing into the Promised Land, Samuel’s journey to Bethlehem to anoint David as King, the journeys to exile in Babylon and the return to Jerusalem. These readings help us to keep focused on the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. This is a time of family prayer much appreciated as we get ready for Christmas.
Rebecca Bretherton, from March in Cambridgeshire, was one of the parishioners who took part, and her involvement with the online Posada adoration took her on a different journey.
“In previous Advents, March parish followed the usual Posada tradition, passing the beautiful statue of Joseph, Mary and the donkey from person to person, family to family. This gave a ready-made opportunity to pray together, offer hospitality and share faith.
“We knew that this year it was going to be a bit different, but our changed plans saw the Posada making a journey across the window of the church hall. We know that visitors have come to see the Posada and there are some prayers and reflections on the window so people can stop and pray.
We also sent a Posada postcard to all our parishioners, and hope the card gave a message of Advent hope for those who are not able to come to Mass. Three hundred cards have gone to homes in March, Chatteris and the surrounding villages, many delivered on foot or bicycle.
Picture: The Posada at an online adoration.