Posadas Navideñas calls the faithful to uphold dignity of Migrants
Event coverage provided by Charish and Joel Badzinski, Rollerbag Goddess Global Communications
Children dressed as winged angels enrobed in white led the procession through the streets of Nogales, Mexico. Behind them, Mary rode on the back of a donkey, with Joseph walking alongside. And about a hundred people followed them in the binational Posadas Navideñas, an event organized by the Kino Border Initiative, a collaborator in mission with FSPA. The reenactment of the Holy Family's search for refuge and a safe place to birth Jesus is particularly poignant for those seeking refuge in the United States who often overcome great odds to get this close to the border, only to find even greater odds remain stacked against them.
"My vision of a safe life is a life where there is no violence, where you are not thinking that when you go out into the street, they might kidnap one of your children, or you," said Maria, who fled home with her husband and two children from the state of Guerrero due to the violence there.
As they processed through town, between the rust-colored slats of the border wall, the dream of a new life was within sight, but still out of reach for countless migrants.
“This is very symbolic to me, because they are remembering the Holy Family, who had to flee from persecution," said Jose, a migrant from Honduras, who had been in Nogales for just under two weeks. "This is still happening today, people fleeing from their home countries to safe haven.”
Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Diocese of Tucson also took part in the procession. "This journey of Joseph and Mary, with Jesus in her womb, the struggle to find hospitality and their solidarity with the poor as Mary gave birth to their son in a manger: this is the story of faith that motivates us, and which we celebrate today."
Mary and Joseph were denied safe haven again and again, so they pushed onward. As the procession arrived at the gates of the Kino Border initiative office, there was a shift: helium balloons in red and green dotted the air; the tempting smells of lunch perfumed the building, and a mariachi band stood in wait for the impending celebration. At last the doors were thrown open, and the Holy Family was welcomed inside for the refuge they sought. It's a fitting place for the culmination of the reenactment, and indeed a story that plays out day after day in Nogales as migrants are welcomed there for food, community and refuge in an 80-bed albergue.
Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Eileen McKenzie works as a mobilization specialist and supports the education and advocacy team at Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, which organized the event. She noted that in the midst of the complexities surrounding migration, it's important to recognize the many ways the church calls upon believers to support migrants. "Upholding the dignity of humanity, offering welcome, offering shelter when needed. I think these are acts that all people of faith would find important to do."
Kino Border Initiative
The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a binational, inclusive Roman Catholic organization, inspired by the spirituality of the Jesuits and Missionaries of the Eucharist; locally rooted in Ambos Nogales on the Mexico- US border and with a regional approach organization throughout Central America and North America. Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Eileen McKenzie works as a mobilization specialist and supports the education and advocacy team. For more information visit Kino Border Initiative.
Sister Eileen McKenzie's reflection
Sister Eileen's full reflection is available at Messy Jesus Business.