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Dec 12, 2018 | Carol E. Barnwell

Posada Tradition Shines Light on St. Joseph’s, Salado

For more than a decade, members of St. Joseph’s, Salado have gathered to reprise the search for shelter that Joseph and Mary made more than 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. This year, more than 50 youth and adults made their way down Salado’s main street.

Tyler Fletcher, a member of the congregation and good-natured pied piper, tried to make sure that all the angel wings were in place and that the group stayed together. When one of the smallest angels fell a little behind, she hiked up her red robe, set the torchier she was carrying under her arm like a lance ready for battle, and barreled back to her place in the Posada procession, halo bobbing all the way.

The bundled-up crowd of 50 or so, led by Mary and Joseph (Victoria Lewis and Adan Giral), stopped along Main Street in Salado several times to ask for shelter. At each, they were turned away yet stayed long enough to sing their lament, before ending up at the doors of St. Joseph’s where they were welcomed into the warmth out of the overcast and near freezing night.

The small stone church is tucked between an antique shop and a lawyer’s office just off I-35 50 miles north of Austin. The normally formal interior of stained glass and carved stations of the cross was festooned with bright garlands and tinsel, and dozens of roses to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe. As the pews filled with processors, the Rev. Bob Bliss welcomed the congregation and Bishop Hector Monterosso for a service of Holy Communion followed by a festive dinner of tamales and enchiladas in the parish hall.

“We draw attention along the way,” Bliss said, “so it gives us visibility. This is our church and this is our village. We want to bring prosperity and we want people to know we are here.”

The church of about 60 members has a strong Daughters of the King group of almost a third of the congregation and also have started a worship service in nearby Jarrell on Sunday mornings.

The congregation hopes doing things like the Posada will help attract more Hispanic members from their community. About a quarter of the congregation is of Hispanic heritage, Bliss said. “We wanted to extend the invitation and thought it was better if it was something familiar to our Hispanic neighbors,” Bliss said. “We have great youth participation as well.”