Holy cards, or prayer cards, were a hot collectible item for Catholic kids. They were handed out in religion classes as rewards, or given as presents on special feast days and celebrations. We prized the colourful cards. But then again, it was a time before the visual over-load of today`s technologies.The old school variety portrayed martyrs with the instruments of their torture and death. Yet they still looked peacefully to the heavens, crucifixes and lilies clutched to their bosoms. Some cards depicted bible stories, others simply had a prayer or inspirational message.
If you visit any Catholic book or religious supply store, you will probably find a stand of holy cards. They range from the traditional to the more contemporary. They are still a perfect gift for catechists to give their students, or for relatives to tuck into a card for a child. At international gatherings, they are an easy and affordable gift to bring. Cultural representations of Mary and local saints reflect the global nature of our faith.
Holy cards make the perfect bookmarks. Pull down any old bible or prayer book from your family`s shelf, and you`ll probably find a card or two inside. My mother-in-law tucks them into the corner of picture frames or pins them on her notice board.
Just like family photos, holy cards remind us that we are part of something larger – a communion of saints that extends across time and place.