EWTN News Reports: Over 200,000 lapsed Catholics return to Church through 'come home' outreach

EWTN NEWS

Over 200,000 lapsed Catholics return to Church through ‘come home’ outreach

Roswell, Ga.,  (EWTN News)

Catholics Come Home® president Tom Peterson

Catholics Come Home® president Tom Peterson

TV ads aimed at bringing lapsed Catholics back into the fold have enjoyed enormous success recently with an estimated 200,000 returning to churches throughout the U.S. as a result of the campaign. Featuring high-resolution TV ads with lush colors and powerful imagery, Catholics Come Home® – an initiative of business entrepreneur Tom Peterson – has teamed up with local dioceses in the U.S. to bring people back into the Church.

Peterson told EWTN News Dec. 16 that Catholics Come Home® “has been blessed with amazing results” over the last two and a half years as over 200,000 individuals, whether lapsed Catholics or otherwise, have joined their local parishes.

“We’ve heard amazing stories of conversions from atheism,” as well as individuals from Protestant denominations coming into the Catholic Church, he said.

The vast majority, though, are “’reverts’ – people coming back to their faith,” Peterson noted.

He explained that the group concentrates their ad campaigns yearly during the seasons of Advent and Lent. The ads are divided into categories that focus on the “history, beauty, spirituality and accomplishments” of the Church, as well as individual testimonials. The commercials also refer viewers to the group’s website where they can ask questions and get in touch with their local dioceses. Though the ads are focused primarily in the U.S., but interest has been shown in Australia and Poland.

“Probably by the end of Lent (2011), we’ll have reached 40 million people – secular television viewers – with these messages,” Peterson said.

The Christmas initiative, which kicks off Dec. 17, is the perfect time of year to show the ads as a lot of families are home for the holiday and television viewing is high, he said.

“It’s a great psychological, spiritual and evangelical time to reach these souls,” Peterson added.

Diocesan partners, such as the Archdiocese of Chicago, have a thorough approach in their outreach using the initiative during Christmas time.

Nancy Polacek, coordinator of Catholics Come Home® Chicago, said the group is collaborating with the Joliet and Rockford dioceses to offer a number of resources to help people connect to parishes. Aside from the TV ads, they have a website set up where people can order prayer cards and brochures, learn about  religious education or other programs.

“We try to send something out by e-mail to all the parishes every week, and then it’s all posted online if they want to get more of something,”Polacek told the Chicago archdiocesan paper, Catholic New World.

The TV ads will run from Dec. 17 through Jan. 17 on stations throughout the area. Poster ads aimed specifically at young adult commuters will follow the TV campaign.

The Catholic New World reported that the Chicago archdiocese decided to continue with Catholics Come Home® after parishes reported positive experiences from last year’s campaign, including more people attending Mass and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As families begin to gather within the next week for the holidays, Peterson said that those who’ve left the Church should be reminded that God loves them, has a plan for them, and that “once a baptized Catholic, always a Catholic – whether practicing or not” applies to them.

“There is a big Catholic family that loves you and misses you,” Peterson said. “It’s a wonderful adventure – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain – and we say ‘welcome home.’”

The True Joy of Christmas

nativityIn preparation for the Advent of Christ, reflect on this excerpt by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI about the true joy of Christmas:

“Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not the expensive gifts that call for time and money. We can communicate this joy simply: with a smile, a kind gesture, a little help, forgiveness. And the joy we give will certainly come back to us.…Let us pray that this presence of the liberating joy of God shines forth in our lives.”

Wisdom from the Holy Father

Some thoughts by Pope Benedict XVI on evangelization:

“How many people also in our time are in search of God, in search of Jesus and of his Church, in search of divine mercy, and are waiting for a “sign” that will touch their minds and their hearts! Today, as then, the Evangelist reminds Pope_Benedict_XVIus that the only “sign” is Jesus raised on the cross: Jesus who died and rose is the absolutely sufficient sign. Through him we can understand the truth about life and obtain salvation.”

“[Evangelization] is not something optional, but the very vocation of the People of God, a duty that corresponds to it by the command of the Lord Jesus Christ himself”

“One of the promising indications of a renewal in the Church’s missionary consciousness in recent decades, has been the growing desire of many lay men and women [...] to cooperate generously in the ‘missio ad gentes.’ As Vatican Council II stressed, the work of evangelization is a fundamental duty incumbent upon the whole People of God.”

CCH Featured Apologetics Question

reconciliationWhy do Catholics confess their sins to a priest, rather than going directly to God?

Find out the answer here on our CatholicsComeHome.org website.

Haven’t been to Confession lately? Advent is the time to go. Prepare your heart from Christ’s coming at Christmas by taking advantage of this wonderful sacrament at your local parish.

“Welcome, pilgrims… You are at Home!” – Archdiocese of Chicago Blog

The Archdiocese of Chicago is kicking-off their second year of airing Advent CatholicsComeHome.org TV commercials in the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Diocese of Rockford, and the Diocese of Joliet beginning December 17, 2010. Peter Ductram is the Coordinator of Evangelization Initiatives for Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago, check out an excerpt from his latest blog post below:

arch chicago logo BLOG

Catholic Chicago Blog

Hosted by the Archdiocese of Chicago

December 2010

“Welcome, pilgrims… You are at Home!”

Peter Ductram, Archdiocese of Chicago

Peter Ductram, Archdiocese of Chicago

Advent is par excellence the time of hope, a time in which we, believers in Christ, nourished by prayer, are invited to remain vigilant and active expectation. The liturgical celebrations repeat and assure us the coming of God: God comes to permeate every aspect of our lives. He comes to every being and stirs the heart of those who may have closed their doors to hope. We are challenged to be vigilant of God’s concrete and continuous invitation to those who long for Christian joy, serenity and peace! We are invited to look at Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe most holy, and undertake spiritually with her our journey to welcome Christ.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Evangelization initiative, Catholics Come Home®, intends to remind to those in despair, God’s words, “Come to Me all those who are burdened… I shall give you comfort”(Mt 11:28). It’s time to return home. But Catholics Come Home® is also an intentional invitation to us, practicing Catholics, to open our hearts to be willing to listen to the many stories that will unfold from God’s knocking to those who are struggling and seeking to re-connect with the source of life, hope and truthful joy.

  • We will bring a message of hope through the media in Spanish, Polish and English: 1000 TV ads, YouTube weekly advent reflections and testimonies through Catholics Come Home®.

Let’s contemplate with Mary God’s coming to fill our hearts with His gifts. Let’s make the concrete and intentional pastoral approach to celebrate nuestra morenita on Sunday, December 12, stressing, creatively, the importance of Mary’s humble role in bringing the luminous mystery of Christ to the ever-needy world. If you need more information, or resources on how to make your parish more invitational, welcoming or accompanying, visit us at www.catholicscomehomechicago.org
read entire blog

Visit CatholicsComeHome.org each day as part of your Advent preparation to grow in your faith and knowledge of Christ’s Catholic Church!  And please continue to pray for all dioceses who are partnering to air Catholics Come Home® commercials beginning this December, and for all those individuals away from the faith who will receive this invitation to return home!

Catholic New World Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago reports ‘Next Catholics Come Home Effort begins Dec. 17'

The Archdiocese of Chicago is partnering with CCH once more to air a second round of commercials which will begin in less than 2 weeks!  The Catholic New World reports below:

CatholicNewWorld

Next Catholics Come Home® effort begins Dec. 17 This year’s ads emphasize personal nature of faith rather than church history

By Michelle Martin

STAFF WRITER

The Archdiocese of Chicago will join the Joliet and Rockford dioceses once again to invite those who have left the Catholic Church to come home. This year, the invitation is more personal.

The three dioceses will again collaborate on a television advertising campaign starting in Advent. This time the centerpiece of the campaign, an ad called “Home,” and the ad called “Epic,” which ran last year, include video clips of people and scenes that will be familiar to Chicago- area Catholics, said Nancy Polacek, coordinator of Catholics Come Home® for the archdiocese.

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, installed Nov. 23 in San Antonio, did the voice-over for the Spanish version of the Home ad when he was a Chicago auxiliary bishop, and a local Polish man voiced the Polish ad, Polacek said.

Personal invites

But just as important as the advertising campaign are personal invitations to church from practicing Catholics.

“Every person in every parish is on for an invitation,” Polacek said. “Father (Lou) Cameli says we are called to evangelize, but we don’t know what that means. It means connection.”

This year’s ads emphasize the personal nature of faith rather than the history of the church, Polacek said.

“We have this spiritual longing,” she said. “That’s what this ad (“Home”) appeals to.”
read entire article

Visit CatholicsComeHome.org each day as part of your Advent preparation to grow in your faith and knowledge of Christ’s Catholic Church!

On the Feast of St. Francis Xavier

“It is not the actual physical exertion that counts toward a man’s progress, nor the nature of the task, but the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.”

“Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians.”

Are you working to bring souls to Christ? St. Francis Xavier, pray for us!