By Rosemary Lewallen     1/2/2019

St. Irenaeus Health Ministry gave residents of five long-term care facilities and homebound parishioners early Christmas gifts. Residents of Harvest Retirement, Sunrise La Palma, Karlton Residential Center, Health Care Center Orange County and Anaheim Terrace (Genesis) Care Center were treated with Giving Tree Parties, complete with Santa and a gift donated by a St. Irenaeus parishioner. There were 475 bags of gifts given out. Each bag had been hand decorated by St. Irenaeus students. Traditional holiday carols were led by members of the St. Irenaeus Adult Choir. On December 11, the 6th-grade class of St. Irenaeus School assisted in the singing and gift giving at Sunrise La Palma, with the guidance of teachers, Mrs. Jennifer Razo and Miss Carmen Castaneda. There were lots of smiles on the faces of both seniors and youngsters as all got in the holiday spirit of love.   

The Giving Tree parties are an annual outreach by St. Irenaeus Health Ministry that requires the time, energy and talent of many volunteers, plus generous contributions of gifts by St. Irenaeus parishioners. Residents at long-term care facilities may not have visitors or family members nearby to show that they care. The Giving Tree Parties are a tangible way to let long term care residents know that they have not been forgotten. Kudos are in order for Monica Kovach, Health Ministry Facilitator, Carol Reed (Asst. Facilitator), Grace Francis (Chair of Care Facilities Ministry), John Brunner (Asst. Chair of Care Facilities Ministry), Elaine Brewster, Betty Borowski, Rita Caira (Chair of Homebound Ministry) and all members of the Health Ministry Board.  Also, thanks go to Edna Ethington for taking photos, playing the ukulele and singing. This ambitious project was well worth the work involved to make it a success!