In the spirit of Christmas, elementary school students in the Pittsburgh area joined together to give patients at Pittsburgh’s UPMC St. Margaret Hospital a holiday they will not forget.
Last month, students at Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy in Aspinwall, PA, joined with the St. Margaret Foundation to help patients get in the holiday spirit during the first ever Lights of Hope ceremony. Thirty students surprised some 248 patients as they performed a Christmas concert and presented a tree decorated with miniature white doves in the courtyard, which can be seen from many of the hospital windows.
The sights and sounds of the season brought a special joy to many. The traditional holiday hymns inspired good memories for those in the hospital and perhaps made new memories for the young singers. Jillian Stahl, a fourth grader, told the Tribune Review that she liked singing for the sick people, “The ‘First Noel’ is my favorite one.”
Principal Mark Grgurich knows the students get much more out of the event than just Christmas cheer. “In all that we do, our mission is to teach our students how to integrate the Gospel values into their own lives,” he said. “Sharing their talents with the patients at St. Margaret’s is a small way that the children can put their faith into action during this special time of year.”
This event joined communities together and allowed for multiple organizations to contribute to helping patients to have a joyous Christmas. While the students were singing, the hospital was able to live-stream the concert into patients’ rooms and replayed the concert throughout the month of December. The Foundation delivered red poinsettias to each room and the local Girl Scout troop made pine cone bird feeders for patients and hosted a craft and bake sale during the Lights of Hope ceremony. The celebration was a community effort.
Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy is one of more than 500 Catholic schools in Pennsylvania educating the leaders of tomorrow by instilling academic excellence and encouraging faith formation in a safe, caring environment. For more information about the Academy, visit cdtca.org.