exhibit titleImages of Sanctity: Holy Cards of the Catholic Church, 1800 to the Present

Holy Cards, pocket-sized images of religious figures, first appeared in the 1500s, and continue to be used in the Catholic Church to this day. These cards allow everyday people establish a personal connection with the saints, and to remember the stories of religious figures in their day-to-day lives. The value of these cards comes from a person’s connection to the saint and the meaning imposed on that relationship. Although the style of Holy Cards has changed through the years, their purpose—devotional reminder; commemorative memorial; story of a saint—has not.

This new exhibit from the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York features Holy Cards from the collection of the Rev. Eugene Carella, who has one of the largest collections of historical Holy Cards in the country. The exhibit traces the changing style and function of Holy Cards from the 1800s through the present, focusing specifically on the connection of Holy Cards with the Archdiocese of New York.

The exhibit ran from September 2016 through August 2017.

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“Make Me An Instrument of Thy Peace”: The 50th Anniversary of Blessed Paul VI’s Visit to New York City

On September 8, 1965, a historic announcement came from the Vatican Radio: Pope Paul VI would be the first sitting pope to visit the Western Hemisphere.  Accepting an invitation from U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to address the UN General Assembly, Pope Paul arrived in New York City on October 4, 1965 to bring a message of peace to the members of the United Nations and to the larger world.  During the fourteen hours he spent in New York City, he was seen in person by over one million people, and made stops in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens.

This exhibit highlighted all of the stops on Pope Paul’s historic trip, and included photographs and memorabilia from the 14 hours he spent in New York City.

The exhibit ran from June 2015 through August 2016.


“Strong Minds, Generous Hearts, and Powerful Arms”: A History of the Foundations of the Archdiocese of New York


Since it was established over 200 years ago, the Archdiocese of New York has been a major force in both New York City and the larger world.  From its origins in St. Peter’s Church, Barclay Street, to the over 400 parishes that exist today, generations of New York Catholics have truly, as Archbishop John Hughes said at the laying of the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, put their “strong minds, generous hearts, and powerful arms” to work building what to this day remains a foundation of the everyday lives of millions of people.  While many are familiar with the major dates and players of the Archdiocese’s history, this exhibit, while not overlooking those important features, also draws attention to lesser-known people, events, and places, with particular attention on the charitable works overseen by the Archdiocese and the various religious groups operating within it.

The exhibit ran from October 2014 through June 2015.