Diocese of Savannah GA Preparing to Launch CatholicsComeHome.org This Advent!

The Diocese of Savannah, Georgia is preparing for the launch of their CatholicsComeHome.org partner initiative this Advent.  Fr. Douglas Clark, a priest of the Diocese of Savannah, shared his commitment to the initiative through a recent article in the Diocese’s newspaper the Southern Cross:

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Southern Cross Online Edition

The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Savannah

By Father Douglas K. Clark, STL

Very soon, during Advent 2010, the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Atlanta, will sponsor a “media blitz” called “CatholicsComeHome.org” in Georgia. The centerpiece of this blitz will be the broadcasting of a series of television spots, in English and Spanish, inviting Catholics who have given up the regular practice of the faith to consider “coming home.”

Some dioceses that have sponsored “Catholics Come Home” have reported astonishing numbers of people showing up at Sunday Masses in the wake of the telecasts. One Western diocese estimates that an additional 90,000 people attended Mass in the weeks following the broadcasts. There is no doubt that the television spots are very attractive and appealing to “fallen away” Catholics and, indeed, to others who may be interested in our ancient tradition.

But the ultimate success or failure of “Catholics Come Home” will rest not on the television spots but on the reception that those who heed them will receive when they show up in our parishes. The Diocese of Savannah has already begun a series of workshops for “Ministers of First Impressions” (clergy, religious, parish staff members, ushers, greeters and so on), to help them prepare to offer a warm welcome to returning Catholics.
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Please join the Catholics Come Home® apostolate in praying for all of those away from the faith who will receive an invitation, via a commercial on their TV screen, to return “home” to Christ’s Catholic Church this Advent!

St. Faustina reflects on trusting God and the present moment

“O My God

Divine_Mercy_Image“When I look into the future, I am frightened, But why plunge into the future? Only the present moment is precious to me, As the future may never enter my soul at all. It is no longer in my power to change, correct or add to the past; For neither sages nor prophets could do that. And so what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.

“O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire. I desire to use you as best I can. And although I am weak and small, You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence. And so, trusting in Your mercy, I walk through life like a little child, offering You each day this heart Burning with love for Your greater Glory.” -St. Faustina

Deacon Mike in Atlanta Presents a CatholicsComeHome.org Homily

As the Archdiocese of Atlanta prepares to bring CatholicsComeHome.org Commercials to TV screens locally this December, Atlanta’s Deacon Mike Presented a Homily at Mass Encouraging parishioners in the pews to reach out to their loved-ones away from the faith.  His homily is posted on the IntegratedCatholicLife.org E-News Magazine Site:

Posted October 2, 2010

Inviting Catholics to Come Home

I sometimes wonder why I don’t have more faith. I bet you sometimes wonder the same thing about yourself. If only my faith was stronger, I think, what amazing things I could do for the Lord. Right!

CCH Home - man in church pews by himselfIt seems the apostles were sharing the same thought in Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 17:5-10). And in a sense, that was good.  After all, they realized that they had a long way to go to become good and faithful servants, even after spending more than a year following and supporting the Lord’s public ministry. They approached Jesus and asked that He increase their faith.

But reflect on how Jesus replied to them. Imagine Him smiling as he said that the faith they had was a gift from Him and that if they but embraced and accepted that gift, they would do mighty works for the Kingdom. All of us Catholics have received the same gift of faith from Jesus. Do we realize what a treasure it is? If we did, there would be no power that could prevent us from sharing it with everyone we encounter in this life, both family and stranger.

CCH Epic - Priest Greeting FamilySt. Paul, writing to St. Timothy, a Catholic bishop he had appointed and consecrated, reminded him of this responsibility that comes with faith. Each of us shares in this gift and responsibility by virtue of our baptism. He told Timothy, and he tells us, do not ever be ashamed of the gospel you believe in and testify to. (2 Timothy 1:6-14)

Let me ask a question… What is the largest religious body in the United States?  It is the Catholic Church. More than 72 million people identify themselves as Catholics. Some estimates based on polling data indicate that only about 35 million of those Catholics attend Mass on a “somewhat” regular basis. And that number falls to about 25 million who attend Mass weekly or more frequently. The next largest group of self-identified non-Catholic Christians in the United States is the Southern Baptist Convention who number about 17 million according to the latest statistics available (I have seen some estimates that have that number above 20 million). The next largest group is fewer than those with no religion at all… about 13 million who indicate they follow no religion. Any way you slice it, the second largest religious group in America is that of non-practicing Catholics who either do not practice any faith or who have joined other, non-Catholic religious groups… maybe 37 million or higher.

Is there someone in your family who has stopped practicing their Catholic faith? Do you know friends and family members that are practicing another faith or maybe no faith at all? What can we do to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church with them?

CCH-Black Vatican Logo (Registered Trademark)The Atlanta Archdiocese is launching an evangelistic outreach to invite Catholics to come home will entail a campaign to saturate the airwaves of both network and cable TV with the powerful ads that have demonstrated their effectiveness. The Catholic Church in Georgia is not the first Catholic Church to use these messages. This campaign is powerful and it works.  For example, the Catholics Come Home campaign was run by the diocese of Phoenix, a diocese of 700,000 members, which is similar in size to the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  Eighteen months after running these ads, more than 92,000 Catholics had returned to Mass and the practice of their faith.

These ads will begin running here in December of this year during Advent as we prepare for the coming of the Christ-child. Imagine the positive, spiritual impact on our local Church were more than 100,000 local Catholics to return to the active practice of their faith. Imagine the return of your own family members.

Take a look at CatholicsComeHome.org, the organization that produces these media messages. You can learn how to invite your friends, neighbors and family members back to the Catholic Church. I encourage you view their ads and support their work. And if your diocese has not yet begun such an effort, introduce your bishop to them.

Thank you Deacon Mike!  We hope that many souls away from the faith in Atlanta, state-wide in Georgia, and across the United States find their way “home” to Christ’s Catholic Church this December, and always!