Virginia “Ginni” Pappas Biediger passed away on January 3, 2018 with her husband by her side. She died from complications due to her 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Many of the parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City were touched by the presence of Ginni Biediger and her husband, Deacon Doug Biediger, said Father John Norman during his homily at the funeral Mass. The Mass was celebrated Jan. 9 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, “the parish where Doug and Ginni served the parishioners for many years with great fidelity and with great presence in the community,” he said.
The Mass was celebrated by Father Eugenio Yarce, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish. Concelebrants were Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general; Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar general emeritus; and many priests of the diocese. Assisting were numerous deacons of the diocese.
“The presence of the clergy here today, and the deacons, and each person who is here today reflects very clearly that role of service and kindness that she gave to so many of us, and gave so freely,” Fr. Norman said.
The image of purifying ore, such as was referenced in the first reading at the Mass, is one that resonates with people like Ginni who lived in the Magna area, Fr. Norman said. “The image from Scripture, which is ancient – the refining and smelting of gold – is part of the history of so many of us and part of the history of Ginni herself, connected by place, connected by life’s hard work.”
Psalm 23 was sung at the Mass, and “we should imagine that Ginni is singing the words of the 23rd psalm today,” about the Lord’s rod and staff giving her courage and leading her to beautiful places, Fr. Norman said.
“I like especially the image that he will lead Ginni to a banquet,” where she will be the guest of honor, he said. Families understand the value of a meal together, he added, and asked those present to remember the meals they shared with Ginni, “how people gathered around the table, and how they shared humbly and freely.”
The message from the Gospel reading of the Sermon on the Mount “was beautifully practiced by our friend Ginni,” Fr. Norman said. People who are clean of heart have good values “and you can recognize their values by their lives,” in that they show great kindness and who are present to others, he said. “And again I am describing Ginni so clearly. … Her presence really was a presence of hospitality, a presence of constant welcome, a presence of great friendliness. … She never stopped with her kindness, her goodness, her love and her sense of care for others – those are the qualities of cleanliness of heart.”
Virginia Pappas Biediger was born on Oct. 30, 1933. She was the daughter of James G. and Jeanette V. Pappas of Hunter/Magna, Utah. She attended Whittier Grade School and graduated from Cyprus High School in 1951, where she was active in the Band, Pep and Drama clubs. She worked for El Paso Natural Gas, Beehive State Bank, Commercial Security Bank and Key Bank, and ended her career working for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City at the Pastoral Center.
Ginni was a proud member of the Magna community, where she lived all of her life. She sang in the church choir at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Magna for almost 65 years. At the parish she also was active as hostess at the yearly spaghetti dinners for many years. She was a very generous and loyal friend and will be greatly missed by all.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Gloria Skanchy and son Peter J. Constanzo.
She is survived by her husband, Douglas Biediger, and brother, James S. Pappas, both of Magna.
The funeral Mass was celebrated on January 9, 2018 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Burial at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery followed.