Christmas Angels Party brings Christ’s joy

“Let us think about the greatest gift God has given us. What is that?” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone asked the children and families gathered for the Restorative Justice Ministry’s Christmas Angels party just three days before Christmas.

As a chorus of responses filled the room, the Archbishop Cordileone answered: “Jesus, right?”

Gifts are a nice part of Christmas, but showing love is what matters, the Archbishop said, saying Jesus became “one of us” because he loves us.

 “It’s good to be with you,” San Francisco’s archbishop said. After a short talk before a concert by the St. Augustine Children’s Choir, the Archbishop listened to the Christmas songs, and wandered around the room talking and listening to parents, children and volunteers.

The event, organized by Restorative Justice coordinator Julio Escobar, drew about 75 families, including parents, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles for face painting, photos with Santa, a concert by the St. Augustine Children’s Choir, pizza and Christmas gifts. Eligible families were those impacted in one way or another by having a parent incarcerated, as families of a homicide victim or families affected by domestic violence.

The parents or guardians chose the gift in advance for each child and received them at the party, held in the St. Mary’s Cathedral Event Center on Dec. 22.

About 30 volunteers, including high school students, Excell Scholars, religious sisters and others made the event special. It was funded by a grant from the Archbishop’s Circle and other donations.

“I am very thankful to God to allow us to help the children who would not otherwise have a safe space, so they could experience a wonderland in the archdiocese. We served as an instrument of hope for these families,” Escobar said.

“I want to thank Julio and his whole team who have worked so hard and done so much to make this wonderful event so possible,” Archbishop Cordileone said.

(Photos by Eduardo Banos/Archdiocese of San Francisco)