Holy card series promotes, unites Quad Cities area churches

By: By Tom Dermody

ROCK ISLAND — It’s a good thing when holy cards are in high demand. A new card project promoting the beauty of the Catholic churches of the Quad Cities area, Calvary Cemetery, and prayer is a case in point.

“Just think of the thousands we’ve already distributed,” said Greg Vogele, cemetery director. “If all those people said the prayer on the back only one time . . . ” he added, his voice trailing off leaving the listener to imagine the spiritual benefit.

Vogele was speaking of a limited edition series of unique holy cards being released one per month at different parishes in the Rock Island-Moline region. The cards — with an image of the featured church or Calvary Cemetery on the front and a related prayer on the back — are also available at the cemetery office, 2901 12th St. in Rock Island.

The first monthly set of 500 was introduced last June, depicting the sanctuary of Sacred Heart Church in Rock Island and including a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

That Sacred Heart card is no longer available. Neither are a few other early ones in the series, according to designer Chris Mandle .

“The cards have really been received well,” said Mandle, owner of Mandle Design, who is collaborating with Vogele on the holy card project. In addition to his design business, Mandle is sacramental coordinator at Sacred Heart Parish in Rock Island, where he also serves as director of altar servers and chairs the parish’s viability committee.

Mandle and Vogele explained the holy card series serves to further unite the area’s Catholic community and show off the beauty of the churches and the art found at Calvary Cemetery. The cover photos — featuring images of stained glass windows, statues, altars, and religious art unique to each site — were taken by Tim Smith, also of Sacred Heart, Rock Island.

Each parish will be featured twice, with efforts made to spotlight them near their patronal feast or other timely date.

“The hope is that the cards will be in such demand that it will encourage Catholics to visit each of the other parishes to pick up one of the cards and stay to attend Mass in a parish that they may not otherwise visit,” according to an explanatory page on Calvary Cemetery’s website. Each month’s featured church and distribution site are promoted on the website as well as through notices in area parish bulletins.

A 12-set first edition focuses on the churches in Rock Island, Milan, and Andalusia. Since the introduction of the project last summer, the featured churches have included:

June — Sacred Heart, Rock Island
July — St. Ambrose, Milan
August — St. Mary, Rock Island
September — St. Pius X, Rock Island
October — Calvary Cemetery, Rock Island
November — St. Patrick, Andalusia
December — Sacred Heart, Rock Island
January — St. Mary, Rock Island
February — St. Pius X, Rock Island

Mandle said a second edition, beginning this summer, will highlight parishes from Moline, Coal Valley, East Moline and Silvis. While the individual cards are distributed free of charge, collectors’ sets of each edition may be offered through the cemetery at the completion of each year if interest warrants.

“Some folks come in every month to pick up the new card,” said Vogele. “They figure they have a better chance of getting them at our office,” he added, and sometimes they pick up extras for family members or friends. Occasionally collectors express surprise at the featured art, saying “I never noticed that at St. Ambrose or St. Mary’s, etc.”

Vogele has long appreciated the benefits of holy cards.

“They provide an easy reminder to pray,” he told The Catholic Post. They can be tucked in a mirror at home to be seen while getting ready for work, by the coffee maker in the kitchen, placed in a family Bible or prayer book, or strategically located by a work computer or desk.

Vogele considers prayer a part of his job as cemetery director.

“Not only do we manage the cemetery, but we pray for the people in it,” he said.

Vogele and Mandle said the holy card project matches up well with the goals of the Diocese of Peoria’s recent Growing in Faith Together (GIFT) initiative encouraging better communication and cooperation between parishes. They also serve to remind people that “Calvary Cemetery in Rock Island is the final resting place of our Catholic ancestors and continues to be a source of our Catholic identity in our faith in the resurrection,” said Vogele.

For more information on the holy cards, visit calvarycemeteryri.com, email Vogele at gvogele@calvarycemeteryri.com, or call (309) 788-6197.

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