Monday, December 20, 2010

Santo Tomas celebrates Feast Day!

Friends and Family,
Before one plans Christmas celebration here in our community, one first enjoys the festivities of the Patron Saint of our town and parish, St Thomas, Apostle. Tomorrow is the actual feast day but nine days before there is a novena with prayers daily in the church. Today and tomorrow there is celebration of Mass and tonight the candle light Procession of the image of St Thomas, carried on a decorated platform, by about twelve men, through the streets of town. The streets are crowded with people late into the night just visiting, roaming the booths, eating some food, and enjoying other small purchases. The statue is carried to the center of activities near the Market and the sky lights up with a firework display. All towns and communities of Guatemala celebrate their Patron Saint; protestants enjoy the festivities although they do not celebrate the spiritual traditions. When we came forty years ago Guatemala was more than 90% Catholic but times have changed.

Simultaneously the youth of the parish and the faithful are accompanying the Posada; these are candlelight processions with the images of the Nativity being carried to a different house each night for the nine days before Christmas. There are christmas carols, and music and prayer on the arrival to the host home. After prayer, bread and hot chocalate or tamales are shared with all those in attendance. It is seen as an honor to host the Posada. The youth of the parish put up the Nativity scene in the church. Church elders white wash the outer stone structure and parishioners assist in painting the walls and providing flowers for the interior of the church.

Christmas day, as a Mission team, we will enjoy christmas dinner together.Midnite mass is at 9PM. No snow but a chill in the air in the evening. From all of us a BLESSED CHRISTMAS FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS!