On “Tres Reyes,” a search for shelter

Latin Americans celebrate “Tres Reyes” by acting out a “La Posada” Mary and Joseph’s journey to find shelter. A man and woman portray the couple as they knock on doors and are rebuffed before they finally find a place where Mary can have her baby.

The Boston Globe describes how 350 people gathered and followed two high school students around the city to demonstrate the plight of migrants in our country and to remind us that Jesus and his parents were themselves migrants and refuges in search of shelter.

Immigrants and advocates gathered on the Common amid holiday lights still twinkling on barren trees to re-create the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Reading from a script in English and Spanish, the two high school students acted out skits illustrating the hardships immigrants face.

With Mary about to give birth, a worried Joseph knocked on innkeepers’ doors and was repeatedly turned away. Finally, the baby was born in a manger.

“That’s why it’s a good story for us,” said the Rev. Robert Bowers of the Paulist Center, a Roman Catholic church and community in Boston. “The struggles they faced, people denying them shelter, welcome, healthcare – she was pregnant – and being turned away at the door, literally. That tiny little story is like the big story now.”


When the two students stopped at the State House, they asked for work at an unnamed New Bedford factory – designed to remind people of the real immigration raid there last March that led to 361 immigrants being detained – but the fearful owner said no.

At the next stop, immigrants sought sanctuary at the Paulist Center, but the church wavered and turned them away.

Then, they asked an American, symbolizing the United States, for admission to the country, and were rejected.

In the end, as onlookers watched at St. Paul’s Cathedral, an Episcopal church, a 7-year-old girl named Noelle let them in.

With immigration like to become the ‘wedge issue’ of this year’s election cycle, the procession demonstrated the moral and ethical dimensions on the faith which is often lost in the sound bytes and slogans of an election year.

“It seems to have become very easy for people who call themselves Christians to forget this fundamental theme of our faith – that God directed us to love everyone without exception,” said Jarrett Barrios, an organizer of the event and a former state senator who in 2006 sponsored a bill to allow illegal immigrant children to pay in-state tuition, which ultimately failed.

Read: The Boston Globe: Through Bible story, many others told

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