The annual Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children Dec. 17 in Philadelphia hosted nearly 500 young people who receive services from over a dozen programs administered by Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The youths represent approximately 16,000 children across the Delaware Valley who benefited from residential and community-based programs offered by Catholic Social Services this year, including children with disabilities, at-risk children and dependent or court-adjudicated youth. (Read the full story here.)

The theme for the benefit was “The Polar Express.” The Catholic Community Choir sang songs from the popular Christmas-themed movie and acted out parts of the story.

This year archdiocesan high school students participated in Kids Helping Kids, a Christmas outreach program. Students at eight archdiocesan high schools and two private Catholic high schools “adopted” a young student and helped make his or her Christmas wishes a reality by donating and wrapping gifts. Representatives from each school were at the Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit to help distribute gifts to the children. (Photos by Sarah Webb)

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The Catholic Community Choir, dressed in pajamas in the “Polar Express” theme, sings a song.

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Dancers add to the party’s excitement.

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A boy and girl portray St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother during a skit at the party.

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A member of the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders helps boys enjoy the party.

Children were able to drop the letters they wrote to Santa in an oversized mailbox.

Children were able to drop the letters they wrote to Santa into an oversized mailbox.

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The conductor of the Polar Express, a.k.a Archbishop Charles Chaput, spends time with one of the children at the party.

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Santa Claus makes an appearance at the party, to the delight of the children.

Swoop from the Eagles made an appearence at the party.

Swoop, the Philadelphia Eagles’a mascot, lands at the party.

Three young ladies are excited to fill out thier letters to Santa.

Three young ladies are excited to write their letters to Santa.

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Santa shows the children how to show their love for the Baby Jesus during Christmas.

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HIgh school students from across the Archdiocese served as Santa's helper for the day.

High school students from across the archdiocese served as Santa’s helpers for the day.

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Bishop John McIntyre helps a young boy from Holy Innocents unwrap his presents delivered by Santa's helpers.

Bishop John McIntyre helps a young boy from Holy Innocents School unwrap his presents delivered by Santa’s helpers.

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Archdiocesan All Catholic Jazz Band

The archdiocesan All-Catholic Jazz Band performs at the party.

Saint Charles Borremeo Choir perform in the lobby as children arrive.

The St. Charles Borromeo Choir performs in the lobby as children arrive for the party.

Saint Charles Borremeo Choir perform in the lobby as children arrive.