A new tradition at Holy Family

HILTON HEAD — Traditionally during the holiday season, local teens can be found volunteering at food banks, singing and visiting at nursing homes, collecting Toys for Tots or helping at a myriad of other community outreach programs.

Holy Family Church has created another worthy tradition for its younger members. This year, instead of the usual Christmas pageant, Hispanic teenagers in the seventh- and eighth-grade confirmation classes will stage a reenactment of the appearance of Our Lady of Guada lupe to Juan Diego, under the direction of catechist Fernando Gonzales.

The 14 students have been practicing lines, and making costumes and sets since early November. They have worked several days a week, including weekends,  and will present this labor of love as a gift to the parish on Dec. 12.

Following the performance, a bigger task for the youth will be to lead a traditional observation of the Nativity called posadas.

Posadas are a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s journey as they  looked for lodging before the birth of Christ.

Families from the parish are scheduled to host the posada at their home. People playing los peregrinos, or pilgrims, go to three homes and request lodging from the innkeepers, or the homeowners. They carry candles and statues of St. Joseph leading a donkey on which the Virgin Mary sits. Los peregrinos are denied at the first two houses, but finally are given entry at the third after singing a song.

The evening will end with a dinner and the recitation of the rosary around a Nativity scene.

Nightly celebrations will be held starting Dec. 16, and a novena will be prayed leading up to Dec. 24, which is called Noche Buena, or the Holy Night.

“This is a wonderful way for our teenagers to get involved in parish life,” said Nora Bess, director of the Hispanic ministry at Holy Family.  “We are all very proud of their hard work and their desire to help share some of their treasured Christmas traditions with the parish comm­unity.”