Catholic Sentinel photo
Las Posadas.
Catholic Sentinel photo
Las Posadas.
GRESHAM – Just before Christmas, more than 700 low-income children and their families took part in Catholic Charities El Programa Hispano Las Posadas celebration.

“Las Posadas” (Spanish for “inns”) is a traditional Latino celebration held in the days before Christmas in which children from the community dress as Mary, Joseph and shepherds as they sing songs and travel door to door asking for shelter, as a reenactment of the biblical story. After their repeated requests for a place to stay are turned down, the group is finally granted shelter and a “posadas” party ensues.

Catholic Charities gave each child a toy or piece of warm clothing, which were donated by members of the community and area businesses.

This year, Las Posadas honored the life and dedication of Gloria Wiggins, El Programa Hispano’s division manager, who died Dec. 1 of cancer.

“Gloria poured her heart into Las Posadas every year,” said Alison Dunfee, an El Programa Hispano program manager. “She would do whatever it takes – even pick up bicycles in the ice and snow – to make sure this event is special for the children."

The largest social service program operated by Catholic Charities in Oregon, El Programa Hispano supports more than 20,000 low-income Latinos each year.