This exhibit, drawn from the rich resources of the John J. Burns Library Liturgy and Life collection, seeks to introduce younger Catholics and others to a world of religious piety and worship now lost, or at least less familiar than the one that has defined the U.S. Catholic community of the past half century.
"[The] Catholicism that shaped the lives and memories of millions of children in the 1940s and 1950s was first experienced as a 'vast set of intermeshed habits' (Garry Wills, Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion) that was the American Catholic world of religion…. Indeed, this American Catholic world was a 'total experience' (Wills) not unlike being Amish in Pennsylvania or Mormon in Utah, but stretching coast to coast..."
--Mark Stephen Massa, The American Catholic Revolution: How the Sixties Changed the Church Forever
The objects and images chosen for inclusion in the exhibit all witness - in different ways - to that pre-Vatican II sense of U.S. Catholicism that "we grew up different" (Wills) from other Americans in part because almost all U.S. Catholics believed that - even as compared with other Christians - heaven was their destiny in a privileged sense.