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Churches celebrate posada

December 23, 2000

Jennifer Kho

COSTA MESA -- With candlelight, bilingual prayers and traditional

Spanish melodies, churchgoers on Friday commemorated the journey of Mary

and Joseph into Bethlehem.

Two churches, St. Joachim Catholic Church and St. John the Baptist

Catholic Church, had posadas that included a procession reenacting Mary

and Joseph's struggle to find lodging before Jesus was born.

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"Because of the birth of baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary was looking for a

place to stay and nobody helped her until the end," said Emilia

Belmontes, a member of St. Joachim Church. "That's why we celebrate, sing

and light candles. It's a tradition to remember what they went through."

Both churches will end their nine-day posadas at 7 p.m. Saturday with

special ceremonies that are open to the public. St. John the Baptist

Catholic Church will have its Saturday posada at a church member's house

at 716 Shalimar Drive, Apartment A. St. Joachim Church will begin its

last posada of the year at 2159 State Ave.

Gricelda Becerra, the family life coordinator for the Spanish-speaking

members of the church, said the Latin American tradition has become

multicultural in Costa Mesa.

"It is part of our tradition and religion, and we want to pass it on

to our daughters and sons, as well as to share it with others," she said.

"It's a chance for us to remember how Mary and Joseph suffered and to

live that time. In the past, some of us have invited people of other

cultures who came because they were curious and then came again the next

year. There is a sense of friendship, of celebrating with friends and

family. Posadas are usually done as a neighborhood, with neighbors

sharing food, talking and celebrating together."

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