What is Peace?
The Angel Tree started as a tradition at St. Luke's in 2000, as another of our Christmas projects. It was inspired by a similar project run in Father Dan's previous parish. In many places it is also called a Jesse Tree.
Here's how it works:
The Angel Tree is the branch of a Hawthorne tree, or something similar. It is to be more like a Charlie Brown tree, rather than the traditional Christmas tree. Angels are made to hang from the tree's branches.
Our Angels are made from recycled Christmas cards, glued on slightly larger construction paper outlines. A gold thread is added as a hanger.
On the back of each card are brief details about the recipient: GIRL or BOY, and the age. The list may also include young mothers. Our co-operating agencies usually tell us how many of each kind of gift they need. The card tells when and how the gift is to be brought back to the church. There are no names on the cards.
THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING
IN ST. LUKE'S ANGEL TREE PROJECT
Please return with the Angel attached to your gift on or before Sunday, December nnth.
On the first Sunday in Advent the tree is placed at the front of the sanctuary with the Angels hanging from the branches. Parishioners are invited to take an Angel from the tree and bring it back in several weeks.
In the first year we hung 150 angels from the tree. The response was so positive that many parishioners were disappointed that they didn't get an Angel. Last year there were 350 Angels. By the end of the 11:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday, they'd all gone!
Some parishioners looked for a specific gender and age group. Some families took one for each member of their family, to work on as individual Christmas projects. A few parishioners even took an Angel, and bought everything on the suggestion list! The response was overwhelming.
Two weeks later, at the weekend Masses, the Angels came back into the church on wrapped gifts. There was the inspiring sight of two "piles" of gifts, carefully stacked around the Angel Tree on one side of the sanctuary, and continued on the other side.
The gifts were then sorted and distributed to our target charities. The tree remained in place until the church was decorated for Christmas.