Confession: Reflections of Blessed Mother Teresa

“I must go to confession with love because I have an opportunity to make my soul clean, to become pure.”

“Confession is Jesus and I, and nobody else. Remember this for life.”

mother_teresa_“Don’t waste time on what happened before. If something is hurting you inside, preoccupying you, get it out, make a good confession.”

“It is a place where I allow Jesus to take away from me everything that divides, destroys.”

“Only to confession can we go as sinners with sin and come out as sinners without sin.”

-from Where There is Love, There is God

Have you taken the opportunity to experience the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent? If not, now is the time. Let us prepare ourselves for Christ’s glorious Resurrection at Easter by making penance for our sins throughout these 40 days.

WICU12 News in Erie, Pennsylvania Reports: "TV Ads Invite People Back to Catholic Church"

The Diocese of Erie is currently partnering with Catholics Come Home® this Lent to air commercials throughout the diocese, extending an invitation for viewers to return “home” to their Catholic faith.  See story below from WICU12 News in Erie:

Erie WICU12

TV Ads Invite People Back to Catholic Church

March 28, 2011
The commercials are all over the television airwaves. They’re part of a major campaign in the Diocese of Erie to invite fallen away Catholics to return to the Church. CLICK FOR VIDEO The diocese believes there are many people who feel the urge to return but need a nudge.

“The commercials are meant to kind of tap into people who are at that place, but not really sure where to go. How to get connected to a community. How to re-establish their contact with Christ in the sacraments. So this is meant to say, “Hey, this is an invitation that hopefully will resonate with where people are in their lives now,” said Fr. Chris Singer, Chancellor, Diocese of Erie.

The television commercials were financed by a special collection taken at all the churches of the diocese. That collection raised over $100,000.

“Pastors asked their people to support this effort. They explained what it was, explained the costs that would be involved in running these commercial spots. And people responded incredibly generously. It really was amazing,” Singer said.

The commercials are getting a positive response. Pastors are receiving calls from people who want to come back.  Parishes have developed programs for the returning members. Some of the programs are designed to deal with the conflicts that drove the parishioners away in the first place.

“The commercials are just the beginning. The real work actually happens in the parishes,” Singer said.

The ad campaign began less than a month ago, on Ash Wednesday. The Church hopes to see many people returned to the flock when the campaign ends on Easter Sunday.
read entire story at WICU12 News website

The Times-Georgian Reports, "Church attendance grows through Catholics 'Come Home' ad campaign"

The Archdiocese of Atlanta partnered with Catholics Come Home® this past Advent 2010.  The Archdiocese has been conducting post-initiative Mass attendance census counts, and gathering anecdotal data and “coming home” stories.  The Times-Georgian reports, below:


timesgeorgianlogo

Church attendance grows through Catholics ‘Come Home’ ad campaign

by Amanda Thomas/Times-Georgian Times Georgian
03.26.11
Most Reverend Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, reads from the Bible during a celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation Saturday morning at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Carroll County. (Photo by Christopher Shannon/Times-Georgian.)

The pews in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church have been filled with more parishioners lately, due in part to a TV ad program launched in Georgia inviting Catholics who have left the church to “come home.”

Since the Catholics Come Home® Georgia campaign kicked off on Dec. 17, attendance at the church in Carroll County has increased 10 percent.

“We have over 1,200 people attending church every Sunday,” said the Rev. Rafael Carballo. “We had a good response. We also have people from other denominations that have come.”

Carballo believes the campaign served as a good reminder to people that the church is here.

“There’s nothing sweeter for people than to hear a voice come back home,” he said.

He also attributes the increase in attendance to the growth of the youth ministry. He said that when young people come to church they often bring their parents.

“I have seen a big growth in the youth ministry,” Carballo said. “At times, you think it’s mostly the adults bringing youth. The youth group has grown about 25 percent from last year into this year. It’s a more diverse group. We got people from all races so that’s creating a more positive environment for them.”

Although the ad program is over, efforts to bring Catholics home are continuing within the parishes, according to Deacon Steve Swope, who is chairman of the Catholics Come Home® Georgia steering committee. He said church leaders and lay people who do that each day that make a difference.

“The ads are over but the real work of welcoming people back is the work that is going on in the parish level now,” Swope said. “The advertisements invited those back, but the welcome they got when they came home is what made a difference.”

So far, the efforts of the church has been successful. The committee is measuring the initiative’s success in two different ways – quantitative and anecdotal. The group did a count of the number of people who attended Mass in October and another count in March just before Ash Wednesday.

It was determined that attendance rose 14 percent throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Another count will be conducted in October to make sure the increase is not a seasonal change. The committee also asked church leaders to send stories of people who have come back.

The group learned that some parishes held listening sessions to gives those who have returned a chance to meet others and ask any questions they have about coming back. Some parishes have reported four to five families coming back.

“In my own parish, I see people every week that I haven’t seen before,” Swope said. “Even if only one person came back, it would make it all worthwhile.”

The committee learned that the majority of people coming back did not leave because they were upset with the church, but because they “got lazy in their spiritual life,” he said.

Some may have left for college, stopped going to Mass and returned only when they were home with their families. They then continued to grow into adulthood, got married and did not feel the tug to go back until they had a couple of kids.

“It’s people feeling something’s missing and they come back,” Swope said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
read entire Times-Georgian article

WANTED: Courageous Apostles

“Pope Benedict said at his Wednesday general audience that the modern world needs ‘zealous’ disciples of Christ, who will fight religious indifference with the ‘light and beauty’ of the Gospel…”

Read more of this article from Catholic News Agency. pope-benedict-xvi

Are you living as a zealous disciple of Christ? Is your witness of life bringing a light to the darkness of indifference in our world?

BILL MAHER CRUCIFYING CATHOLICS

Catholics Come Home
BILL MAHER CRUCIFYING CATHOLICS
ANTI-CATHOLICISM – AN ACCEPTABLE PREJUDICE IN AMERICA

(March 15, 2011) Atlanta, GA—The notoriously anti-religious HBO talk show host, Bill Maher recently featured a three-minute segment on his “Real Time with Bill Maher” show, slamming Catholicism, and in particular Catholic priests, just as one-billion Catholics worldwide observe Ash Wednesday, the start of the forty-day Holy Season of Lent.

Maher specifically edited and perverted one of the highly-effective national commercials produced by the lay-Catholic charitable outreach organization, CatholicsComeHome.org.

In an effort to offer unwavering hope and peace to families during these troubled economic and conflict-driven times, nine Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Boston, are partnering with CatholicsComeHome.org to use television and the Internet to share the life-giving power of faith in God by inviting inactive Catholics home to the Church during the Lenten season.  This initiative marks the 30th market launching the Catholics Come Home® evangelization initiative. These ads and interactive website have reached 40 million viewers across the US and 1.5 million viewers worldwide through CatholicsComeHome.org in the past three years.  According to census statistics published by participating dioceses, Catholics Come Home® ads have helped more than 200,000 fallen away Catholics come home to the Church.

This Lent, we’ve made an outreach to inactive Catholics…launching several television commercials to invite our brothers and sisters home,” said Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley.  “It’s for Catholics, who for whatever reason have stopped coming to church.”  Where these ads have aired, Mass attendance has increased an average of 10 percent, and as much as 18 percent.

But despite these gentle television invitations, Bill Maher continues to rant against all things Catholic, in an effort to “crucify” the Catholic Church by holding it up to continual ridicule and scorn.  Maher inaccurately claims that the “Catholic Church made these ads.”  False. The hierarchy of the Church did not produce these ads,  CatholicsComeHome.org did.  The television and website advertisements accessible at www.CatholicsComeHome.org were created and are supported by a group of Catholic families and individuals inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization.

Maher went on to ridicule the Catholic Church as comprised of only “white hair” geriatrics, when, in reality, Catholic parishes across the U.S., particularly in the South and Southwest, are experiencing an increased Mass attendance.  Adrian, a young man in his 20’s from Colorado watched the CatholicsComeHome.org commercial called “Epic,” and wrote:  “Months ago, I was an atheist trying to convert people out of the faith.  I felt like God was personally calling me home.”  Adrian and his family are now practicing Catholics and he is helping his younger brother to also return to the Catholic faith.

Maher also attempted to exploit the Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis to cast a cloud of suspicion on all Catholic priests in particular and on the Catholic Church in general.  While all sin is deplorable to God, Maher is grossly distorting the facts in the service of his “smear the Catholic Church” abuse information.  The fact is, the national percentage of Catholic priests accused of abuse amounts to one half of one percent, according to Catholic Answers, “Understanding the Priests Scandal”.  Protestant and secular experts have even cited surveys showing the actual abuse among Catholic clergy to be much lower than other denominations, as well as significantly lower than the general population (P. Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests; J. Could, “Pedophilia,” Time Magazine, April 2002).

Despite these statistics, the public typically only hears of the criminally unfaithful priests, rather than the tragedy of the overall abuse problem in our culture.  CatholicsComeHome.org is on the record as proclaiming that the root cause of evil, such as sexual abuse, is human sinfulness and the abandonment of Jesus’s teachings of moral Truth.

Maher ignores the millions of faithful Catholics worldwide, as well as the 2,000 year history of the Church: starting hospitals, feeding the poor and caring for homeless, educating millions of young students, starting the university system, and contributing to the scientific method and laws of evidence. These are the truths of history that are often forgotten.  He also fails to take into account the “faithful majority” of Catholics, literally thousands of holy priests and bishops, religious sisters, and lay ministers who have helped transform Western Civilization, often at the price of martyrdom. Despite the reports of scandal among some criminally unfaithful priests in past years, Catholicism continues to flourish.

Even so, Catholics Come Home desires to reach those who have not been to Mass in a while, or do not attend church regularly  “Most say that they are not upset with the Church nor disagree with her teachings,” said Tom Peterson, president and founder of Catholics Come Home, “in fact, the vast majority, about 90 percent, are telling us that they just drifted away from their practice of faith due to many secular lures of the world.”  When they are asked, “Why did you come home?” the majority of returnees answer, “Because you invited me.”

These television campaigns feature ads in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish, in the most popular programming like news, sports and prime time.

Even many Non-Catholics have praised the Catholics Come Home commercials.  Debra, a Presbyterian from Charlotte, states, “I just saw your TV commercial and I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it.  It is so refreshing to see your religion in such a positive light.

Peterson concludes with a plea:  “So now is the time for faithful Catholics and all Christians to join together to pray for our troubled world, to follow the example of Jesus and to love our neighbor, and to invite Bill Maher, his viewers and others back to the practice of faith, back to a life of love, back to the healing and peace that always triumphs over evil, and only comes from God.”

###
To receive a copy of the commercials or hi res print images for media broadcast or to schedule an interview with Tom Peterson of Catholics Come Home®, please contact: Susan Gerdvil at 678-585-7886 x106, or by e-mail to susan@catholicscomehome.org


CatholicsComeHome.org
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national and international television networks.  EncouragePriests.org™ is a special communications outreach project of Catholics Come Home, Inc.

Archdiocese of Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley Blogs About CatholicsComeHome.org

Cardinal Sean O’Malley Regularly Blogs About His Reflections and Experiences Throughout the Archdiocese of Boston.  During the 40 Days of Lent, the Archdiocese of Boston is partnering to air CatholicsComeHome.org TV Commercials.   Check-out the Excerpt Below from Cardinal Sean’s Latest Blog Entry, reflecting on Catholics Come Home®.

From Cardinal Sean’s Blog – March 11, 2011:
“As you all know, this past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the solemn and holy season of Lent.

CCH Boston Bethany Chapel Mass Cardinal Sean Administering Ashes Lent 2011

Ash Wednesday is such an important day in the life of the Church. It’s a day when Catholics naturally gravitate towards the Church to receive their ashes and it’s an important symbol for the Catholic community.

This year the day was particularly special because we began our Catholics Come Home® initiative, which is an effort to welcome back members of our Catholic family who have drifted from the regular practice of faith.

We hope that this year the Catholics Come Home® program will help people who are on the periphery of the Church to become more involved in a life of faith and in our community.

We are so grateful for all the help that was given to us as a result of Evangelization Sunday, which we held in January. The second collection that was taken up at Masses that weekend allowed us to be able to present these wonderful commercials about the Church on television and radio in various languages, along with the trainings that have been done with parish leaders to welcome Catholics back to the Church.

We’re encouraging everyone to pray for this initiative and to take advantage of this holy season of Lent to invite people who have stepped away from the Church, who have no faith to be part of God’s family.

We launched the campaign with a press conference that included Tom Peterson, the president of the national Catholics Come Home® organization.

Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Tom Peterson

Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

We also had representing the archdiocese Scot Landry, Janet Benestad, Father Richard Erikson and Father Paul Soper, from St. Albert’s in Weymouth.

Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

We screened the commercials for the media and the audience.

Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Photo by Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

I was very pleased that most local media participated and reported on the initiative.”
Read entire Blog Entry by Cardinal Sean O’Malley

Please keep all of the CCH Diocesan Partners that are airing Catholics Come Home® initiatives this Lent in your prayers.  Please also remember in prayer all those who will receive this invitation “home” to Christ’s Catholic Church!

9 Diocesan Campaigns Launch Today!

Catholics Come Home

As we enter into the season of Lent today, nine Catholics Come Home® diocesan partner campaigns are launching.  We ask you to please offer your prayers and fasting today for the intentions of the many souls who will receive an invitation to come “home” to their Catholic faith this Lent through the Catholics Come Home® commercials airing for the next seven weeks in the following partner dioceses:

  • Archdiocese of Boston
  • Diocese of Manchester, NH
  • Archdiocese of New Orleans
  • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
  • Diocese of Baton Rouge
  • Diocese of Lafayette
  • Diocese of Erie
  • Diocese of Winona
  • Diocese of Venice, FL

Did You Miss EWTN’s The Journey Home This Past Monday Featuring Catholics Come Home®?
Good News – the show is now available to view on YouTube.  See link below:


The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi
Featuring Tom Peterson
Catholics Come Home® Founder and President
Click here to view YouTube episode

Thank you for your prayers and support which keep these messages of invitation airing in the mainstream media!  We Are Catholic. Welcome Home.

Sincerely,

Tom Peterson and your CatholicsComeHome.org team


CatholicsComeHome.org
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national and international television networks.  EncouragePriests.org™ is a special communications outreach project of Catholics Come Home, Inc.

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2011

“The Lenten period, which leads us to the celebration of Holy Easter, is for the Church a most valuable and important liturgical time, in view of which I am pleased to offer a specific word in order that it may be lived with due crucifixdiligence. As she awaits the definitive encounter with her Spouse in the eternal Easter, the Church community, assiduous in prayer and charitable works, intensifies her journey in purifying the spirit, so as to draw more abundantly from the Mystery of Redemption the new life in Christ the Lord (cf. Preface I of Lent)…”

Read the rest of his message here.

Encore Presentations of EWTN's "The Journey Home" with Marcus Grodi Featuring Catholics Come Home® Founder and President!

Did You Miss Tom Peterson, Catholics Come Home® Founder and President, on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” last night?

Catch the Encore Presentations at the times below on EWTN, or Streaming Online at the Same Time That The Encore is Airing:

EWTN Grodi Journey HomeCCH logo and Tom Peterson CombinedEWTN black logo
The Journey Home
with Marcus Grodi
Featuring Tom Peterson
Catholics Come Home® Founder and President.

Encore Presentations:
Thursday 3/10, 2pm ET
Saturday 3/12, 11pm ET
Be sure to tune in with your family!
Don’t have EWTN?- watch online during the scheduled show times:
Click here to WATCH Streaming Online during the show times above