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Enthrone your Bible

Daughter of St. Paul crafts Bible stands as reminder our lives revolve around God's word

Bible enthronement display at the Pauline Books and Media store in Miami. Each stand comes with a card that explains the enthronement ceremony and a certificate to be signed as a reminder to pray with the Scriptures daily.

Photographer: COURTESY

Bible enthronement display at the Pauline Books and Media store in Miami. Each stand comes with a card that explains the enthronement ceremony and a certificate to be signed as a reminder to pray with the Scriptures daily.

MIAMI | Amid political turmoil, natural disasters and nearly two years of COVID, the Daughters of St. Paul of Miami are inviting the faithful to seek Christ’s peace in Scripture.

They prayerfully challenge the faithful to crack open their Bibles daily (dusting as needed) to experience transformation, whether meditating on a single verse or an entire book.

One of them, Sister Irene Regina, is even inviting Catholics to enthrone the holy book at home on wood stands she handcrafted. Each stand comes with a card that explains the enthronement ceremony and a certificate to be signed as a reminder to pray with the Scriptures daily.

“My dream is to have the Bible enthroned in homes of 100 families,” Sister Irene said, “and hopefully ignite a spiritual fire as families get more and more familiar with the word of God in the holy Bible and share the treasure they've found.”

From left, showing the Bible stands she crafted, Pauline Sister Irene Regina. With her are her fellow Daughters of St. Paul, Sister Teresa Meza, center, and Sister Jennifer Tecla, right.

Photographer: PRISCILLA GREEAR | FC

From left, showing the Bible stands she crafted, Pauline Sister Irene Regina. With her are her fellow Daughters of St. Paul, Sister Teresa Meza, center, and Sister Jennifer Tecla, right.

Sister Irene was transferred to Miami last September and staffs the Pauline Books and Media store located on the corner of 107th Avenue and Flagler Street. Her goal is to engage Catholics in the Pauline Biblical Year. Though it ends Nov. 26, 2021, she hopes it can inspire a devotion that lasts a lifetime.

The year honors the legacy of the Paulines’ founder, Father James Alberione, on the 50th anniversary of his death. Dedicated to spreading the Gospel through mass media, he founded 10 religious congregations including the Daughters of St. Paul and secular institutes for men, women and families, known as the Pauline Family.

“One of his things was to get a Bible in every home. The message was to have it open so the word of God is readily available to speak to you because God’s word is living,” said Sister Irene, a six-foot tall former college basketball player with a master’s degree in biblical theology from the Augustine Institute.

“It’s all about getting familiar with the word of God,” she added. “If you have a friend, you’re going to talk to him, right? It’s your God, so let’s talk to him.”

A lifelong woodworking enthusiast, Sister Irene has been constructing Bible stands for a decade with her engineer dad, who has given them out at spiritual retreats back in St. Louis. As she envisioned the mission, people started coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, to join in operation Pauline Bible stand.

One of them was book center shopper Armondo Sacasa, who started reading the Bible himself about three years ago. He felt inspired to help — plus he was looking for a Bible stand. So he headed to Home Depot to purchase the wood beams and router.

“I thought it was a great thing because we need more Scripture. I just felt compelled to help her with the project. I’m not good to cut wood but I could buy it for her and donate the equipment and supplies,” he said. “She’s very handy and very talented artistically as well.”

A religious brother visiting the shop connected her with Brother Bob Koppes, who cut slits in the stands in his woodshop garage. At St. Brendan Church in Miami, Sister Irene was directed to a Knight of Columbus with a workshop who, along with his wife, showed up on Holy Week to sand the stands with her in the parking lot. Later, a deacon connected her with a contractor and she headed out to a construction site to have her eight-foot strips cut into pieces. Finally, it was assembly time.

The Pauline Biblical Year honors the legacy of the Paulines' founder, Father James Alberione, on the 50th anniversary of his death. He and the Pauline Family he founded are dedicated to spreading the Gospel through mass media.

Photographer: PRISCILLA GREEAR | FC

The Pauline Biblical Year honors the legacy of the Paulines' founder, Father James Alberione, on the 50th anniversary of his death. He and the Pauline Family he founded are dedicated to spreading the Gospel through mass media.

As Sister Irene stood by some of the stands still available for $25 at the Paulines’ bookstore, she marveled at the power tools of Scripture and prayer.

“I was like, I have an idea. How are we going to do this? I need some power tools and I need some wood. I met this guy who was going to give the wood and some tools. Then I met the brother who has a workshop,” she said. “We got all the sanding done and all the staining and then here we have 100 Bible stands as you see. That’s what Jesus said, ‘Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.’”

The bookstore’s front entrance features a Bible elevated on the stand along with a crucifix, prayer candles and Holy Family images. Sister Irene looks forward to manning more parish book fairs and giving more talks on Scripture at local high schools and to parish groups. Her favorite part of the project is seeing people’s enthusiasm when they realize God speaks to them through the Bible.

“I assemble the Bible stand and put a little candle there and this reminds you of your baptism and the light of Christ within you. The word of God is alive. Jesus wants you to hear what he’s saying. I put my ear to the Bible and say, ‘He’s giving you everything, he loves you,’” Sister Irene said.

Pauline Sister Jennifer Tecla called the project “beautiful and exciting.”

“Reading the word of God helps us to better understand him and recognize his voice throughout all the world,” she said. Meditating 30 minutes daily on Scripture helps people see “what word or phrase speaks to our heart,” how it connects with our life and how it challenges us “to be converted, to grow and become more like Christ.”

Many people give Bibles with stands as gifts. “Seeing the open Bible is that reminder of God’s presence, wanting to be connected with the family in the home,” said Sister Jennifer. “I offer them the beautiful flyer that sister prepared to help them do an enthronement so it’s not just another item to place in your home but it’s a significant, sacred space that you’re creating. It’s a beautiful feature to offer to people and they’re very happy with it — and then they hear a sister hand-made it!”

Sacasa said he appreciates his Bible’s prominence in his living room, creating a sense of God’s abiding presence.

“It looks so beautiful having my Bible opened up on a stand she provided. It’s a blessing. I read the Bible daily,” he said.

“I believe we need to get close to God and the best way to know is to open the Bible,” he added. “Any time I open the Bible a passage will hit me in the face with something I need or need to share.”

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