Las Posadas, the Augustinians, the Jesuits, and Las Pastorelas

I made mention in my post yesterday that my initial research into the history of Las Posadas indicates some Jesuit origins. Well, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet! Two of my colleagues – Santiago Cortés-Sjöberg and Miguel Arias – set me straight on the matter.

It seems that it was the Augustinians who introduced Las Posadas as a way to evangelize the Aztecs in the 16th century. The Augustinians requested and received papal permission in 1586 to celebrate a novena of Masses on the nine days before Christmas, the same time that the Aztecs traditionally celebrated the birth of their sun god. The Augustinians incorporated elements of Las Pastorelas (shepherd plays) that the Jesuits promoted in Spain (therein lies the remote Jesuit connection to Las Posadas!) as a catechetical tool to teach about the birth of Christ!

In fact, Las Pastorelas continues to be a big deal for many Hispanics. Catechists who teach Hispanics can capitalize on this cultural phenomenon to invite young people to role play as a catechetical learning strategy.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Dear Joe,

    I just wanted to say congrats to you on your 3 year bloging! Way to go.

    I also want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us as you teach your 8th
    grade students. As I read about your teaching I get great ideas from
    from you. Thank you Joe! And God Bless you!!

  2. I asked two of my three Hispanophones last night about Las Posadas….they had heard of it, but didn’t know anything about it. I think they were a little embarrassed.

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