Spotlight on Los Alamos: Angels among us

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By Kelly LeVan

Many families have their own special holiday traditions. The “extended family” at Immaculate Heart of Mary has one as well – and it involves hundreds of presents.Actually, this year, the church hopes to collect around 1,000 gifts, and rather than distribute them to its own family members, it plans to give every single present away.The Angel Tree, a giant Christmas tree glittering in the lobby of the Catholic church and covered with tags representing children and adults in need, has been a tradition for a number of years among its religious education students. In 2001, it became a parish-wide activity, greatly increasing the number of gifts the church could provide.“It always surprises me,” said assistant youth director Cathy Kohlrust. “Each year, we put up more than 400 tags the weekend before Thanksgiving, and by the fourth Mass (of the weekend), we have to put up more tags.”Since 2001, the congregation has collected more than 700 gifts each December, with the total number of gifts rising steadily.“It grows by about 20 percent every year,” Kohlrust said, “yet we still don’t have any problem getting everything done ee This is a very generous parish.

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