Goal of gift is to deepen faith of Sharpsburg St. Juan Diego youths
Marilyn Ganster traditionally presents her sixth-grade CCD students at St. Juan Diego Parish with a Bible.
Some might say that the presentation is half the gift.
The Bibles are carefully wrapped in five layers, each representing the significance of the total package.
“As they unwrap each layer, there is a poem to read on each one,” Ganster said. “When I first found this idea, chills went up my spine.
“I hope they think it is just as neat.”
Ganster begins with plain brown shipping paper.
It symbolizes how God speaks to the children through ordinary events in their everyday life, she said.
The next layer is floral to represent the seasons of the church. That comes before solid white paper, which symbolizes purity and Baptism.
“It should remind them how they are becoming more like Christ,” said Ganster, a lifelong member of the parish.
Next up is newspaper, which Ganster said shows how the Bible will deepen the student's prayer life through the stories of many people.
The final layer is gold wrapping paper, meant to symbolize value.
“This shows you how your Bible is a treasure that will deepen your prayer life,” said Ganster, who coordinates the religious-education program for 63 students in grades one through eight.
The sixth-grade students receive the Bibles to coordinate with their curriculum, which follows the Old Testament.
This year, there are nine sixth-graders who will receive Bibles during an annual presentation where the Rev. Mike Decewicz, pastor at St. Juan Diego, blesses each before handing them out.
Decewicz enjoys the special twist that Ganster has added to the tradition.
“It helps initiate the children in the wonder and mystery of God's word,” he said.
Ganster said she could present the Bibles as is, and they would hold just as much meaning. And though the ritual takes a little extra time and effort, she thinks it makes the ceremony more memorable.
“I hope they get meaning from reading the Bible,” she said. “I hope this helps them to want to read it.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Free Rides for Seniors expands service in Aspinwall, Blawnox and Sharpsburg
- Blawnox reaches deal with firm for services through end of year
- Fox Chapel library program teaches children challenges astronauts face
- Indiana Township plans to address Cedar Run Road drainage
- Fox Chapel grad, songwriter teams with Lou Christie on latest song
- Fresh in Fox Chapel: Farm market offers plenty