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Heavenly hymnals
An arts and crafts group finds a new use for the cathedral’s old songbooks.
Mary Stachyra Lopez | Catholic Herald
Stacy Rausch | Catholic Herald
The arts and crafts group at St. Thomas More has sold dozens of angels made out of hymnals to support the parish.

Parishioners of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington have pulled out their red hardback hymnals during some of the most important days in their lives: weddings, ordinations and funerals. So when it was time for the cathedral to get new hymnals after the recent liturgical changes, the arts and crafts group found a creative way to enjoy the sturdy old songbooks.

With help from Nancy Meehan, a sixth-grade teacher at St. Thomas More Cathedral School, the group shaped hundreds of hymnals into pretty “angels” perfect for display at any home or office.

“It’s a great way to not only recycle, but it’s a great memory of the hymnals we had before,” said Meehan, who also has taught her class how to make the angels. She came up with the idea about six years ago, after remembering how she used to make Christmas trees out of old Readers Digest magazines with the Girl Scouts.

“They’re kind of a nice activity because you can chat while you’re doing it,” she added.

The 24 or so members of the group, mostly seniors, first bent the pages of each hymnal to look like a dress and wings. Then, they added on Styrofoam or cardboard balls covered with different shades of nylon for flesh tones. Doll hair, lace collars and delicate strands of pearls for halos completed the ensembles.

The group, which meets every Wednesday in Msgr. Burke Hall, has already sold dozens of the angels, which will be available at parish events throughout the year.

The project was the latest in a long line of projects to support the cathedral, said Marie Flores, who founded the group.

“We’ve probably been doing (these projects) for near 40 years,” said Flores. “It’s a good group. We have a lot of fun together.”

Stachyra Lopez can be reached at


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