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December 2015


Johnny Cook, far right, looks over a paper Christmas ornament with a gift request from the needy after Mass Nov. 29 at St. Mary Church in Bellevue. His mother, Leslie, center, helped choose several gifts, including shoes for two girls, a video game controller and a gift card. Photo by Joe Ruff/Staff.

Angel trees provide opportunity to help others

It’s a familiar sight at many Catholic churches during the Advent season – the angel tree, sometimes called the giving tree.

They are Christmas trees, decorated with paper ornaments that list gift ideas for needy families in the community.


Notre Dame Sister Phyllis Marie Heble places a prayer intention on a Christmas tree outside her community’s chapel in Omaha. Photo by Melanie Ennen for the Catholic Voice.

Notre Dame Sisters’ ministry includes Advent prayer intentions

The Christmas tree outside the Notre Dame Sisters’ chapel in Omaha is covered with about 500 prayer intention cards – part of the community’s Advent prayer ministry – and they hope to fill it even more.

Helping others see their gifts

The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops pastoral letter, "A Disciple’s Response," defines a steward as one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends to them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.


Fourth-grade catechist Shilo Hamblin helps religious education third-grader Jack McAuliff make an Advent wreath for his home during St. Columbkille Parish’s Advent Family Festival in Papillion.

Dawn Hovey, far left, and others at the Child Saving Institute in Omaha helps unload toothpaste, shampoo, socks, gloves, towels, clothing and other items gathered for the institute by religious education (RE) students at St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion. The donations were part of the RE program’s Advent Festival, and a HyVee grocery store in Papillion gave away more than $450 worth of items.

Religious education holds Advent festival

Hundreds of religious education students and their families participated in the annual Advent Family Festival at St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion.

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