Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola!

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits and author of the famous work, the Spiritual Exercises.

Reflect today on some quotes from St. Ignatius:

“Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.”

“To give, and not to count the cost
to fight, and not to heed the wounds,
to toil, and not to seek for rest,
to labor, and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do thy will”

St. Ignatius, pray for us and help us to grow in our spiritual lives.

The "St. Louis Review" Reports: Catholics Come Home® evangelization campaign brings people back to Church

The St. Louis Review July 25 issue highlights the positive impact of the recent Archdiocese of St. Louis Catholics Come Home® evangelization initiative.  Read the excerpt below, including two testimonials of returnees and converts to the faith:

Catholics Come Home® evangelization campaign brings people back to Church

July 25, 2012 | Barbara Watkins | bwatkins@archstl.org

The altar at St. Joseph Parish in Farmington.

Madge Winch came home this year.  Prompted by the Catholics Come Home® television commercials that aired throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis this winter, Winch returned to the Catholic Church through St. Joseph Parish in Farmington.

“I really came home, and I just love it,” said Winch, who had been born and raised Catholic but left the Church before she was confirmed. “I returned because I saw those ads. It was like the ads were talking to me.”

Winch is being joined by her husband, Allen Winch, a non-Catholic who is entering the Church. Winch said their three children were raised in the Church, but she herself stayed away from the sacraments for 33 years. When she took her children to church, “I always had to sit back in my seat and not receive communion. … Now every time I do receive communion, I come back to the pew and tears just flow, I feel so good.” She added, “It’s like a burden has been lifted off me.”

The Winches are going through the Rite of Christian Initiation at St. Joseph in Farmington, along with more than 30 other people joining or returning to the Church.

Father Rickey Valleroy, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, called Catholics Come Home® “a wonderful campaign.” He said, “It touched people’s hearts, and it spoke of the true Church to come home to. It’s been very successful for our parish.”

Catholics Come Home® was an archdiocesan-wide evangelization effort that involved more than 2,600 commercials, in English and Spanish, that aired between Dec. 16 and Jan. 22. For the campaign, the Archdiocese of St. Louis partnered with Catholics Come Home Inc., a Georgia-based nonprofit lay Catholic organization that uses a mass media outreach to evangelize fallen-away Catholics and others with an interest in learning more about the Catholic faith.

Funding for Catholics Come Home® St. Louis came from several sources, including a second collection in parishes one weekend in October.

“For us it worked wonderfully,” said Father Valleroy.

Also returning to the Church through St. Joseph in Farmington is Shirley Hill, who was raised a Catholic in St. Joseph Parish and attended elementary and high school there. She and her husband, Tom Hill, were married in the Church, but “as time went by, we got kind of lax (about going to Mass) and it became easier and easier” to stay away.

Shirley Hill saw the Catholics Come Home® ads and “they caught my eye. I thought they were informative and encouraging to bring me back.” Although a little hesitant at first to return to the Church, “I didn’t need to worry. It’s been great.”

Tom Hill is joining the Church and is in the parish RCIA program. Shirley Hill added that recent attacks on the Church “politically and otherwise” also prompted their decision. “If we want to fix our country, we have to fix ourselves first. If we’re not participating and talking to God through Mass and the sacraments, we are lax in our beliefs.”

Father Valleroy said he had a dozen people contact him as a result of the Catholics Come Home® commercials. “The parish hosted a dinner for them (and their spouses) … and I matched each person who came to the dinner with a very active parishioner who helped get involved in the life of the parish. … I think 100 percent of the people we invited from Catholics Come Home® worked at our parish picnic this June because they already felt a part of the parish.”

Father Jack Siefert of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Brentwood also reported positive results from Catholic Come Home®. “We have seen an increase in Mass attendance at church. That’s not just me saying that. Parishioners have told me they’ve seen a pretty good increase in Mass attendance. And there has been a significant increase in loose collections, that is up considerably.

“I know that Catholics Come Home® is not about money, but that increase is an indicator,” Father Siefert said. “We have seen an increase in Mass attendance and in stewardship numbers.”

Click here to read the entire St. Louis Review article

Visit the Catholics Come Home® “where we’ve been” page to see a sampling of the 33+ CCH diocesan partners to date, and highlights from their campaigns.

Happy Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne

“The strong character of Mary in making decisions, her continuous practice of prayer, her devotion to the laws of her faith, her steadiness at moments of crisis, and her devotion to her relatives—all indicate a close-knit, loving family that looked forward to the next generation even while retaining the best of the past.

“Joachim and Anne…represent that entire quiet series of generations who faithfully perform their duties, practice their faith and establish an atmosphere for the coming of the Messiah, but remain obscure.”

Read more at AmericanCatholic.org.

Sts. Joachim and Anne, pray for us and for our families to grow in holiness together!

"The Catholic Beat" Announces Archdiocese of Cincinnati To Air Catholics Come Home® Commercials

See the excerpt below from “The Catholic Beat,” July 24 feature story, announcing the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s “A.C.E project”, which includes airing Catholics Come Home® commercials this Advent:

Archdiocese Introduces the A.C.E. Project


A still from Catholics Come Home’s most famous commercial, “Epic.” Used with permission.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announces a new initiative for all its 200+ parishes: The A.C.E. (“Advent, Christmas and Easter”) Project. Designed to bring Catholics back to the Church on more than those three occasions, the A.C.E. Project will bring two programs used successfully throughout the country to the Archdiocese.

A joint program of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis and the Office of Stewardship, the program is a “direct response to the call for New Evangelization in the Year of Faith called by to Pope Benedict XVI beginning in October,” say the organizers.

The first program, Catholics Come Home®, allows parishes and dioceses to create advertising campaigns inviting Catholics who have left the church to “come home.” It includes a website, professionally create commercials and advertisements, and other resources geared toward fallen-away Catholics and people who are interested in joining the Church.

“Jesus wants to invite you back into His big, warm and loving Catholic family in the Church He founded 2,000 years ago,” The Catholics Come Home® web site says to first-time readers.”He’s calling you home, but the choice is yours… We are family. We’ve missed you. Welcome home!”

click here to read entire article

Want to bring a Catholics Come Home® evangelization initiative to your diocese?  Click here to learn more.

CCH Recommends…

Check out Patrick Madrid’s fantastic book, Search and Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends into–or back into–the Catholic Church. This book is full of wisdom and great tips and stories that help teach you how you can evangelize those closest to you.

One of Patrick Madrid’s quick tips: pray a Rosary every day for one month for a family member or friend who is away from the Church.

Are you ready to take that challenge?

Tom Peterson Inspires Young Adults at Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston's "Cafe' Catholica"

Catholics Come Home® Founder and President, Tom Peterson, traveled to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston this week to speak to over 600 young adults attending a vibrant summer series called “Cafe’ Catholica.”   Peterson’s talk, entitled, “ChristVille (Calling Catholics Home, Calling Catholic Heroes)” encouraged attendees to confidently live out the unique and specific “mission” to which Christ is calling him/her.  “By living out Christ’s calling for your life, you become a Catholic hero in a time when our world desperately needs Catholic heroes to lead the way.”  Peterson shared his personal testimony of how God called him to “downsize and simplify” his life from his secular media career which had lead him down the road of materialism.  Once Peterson responded in obedience, God called him to a great adventure using his background and experience in media to evangelize the culture through founding CatholicsComeHome.org and VirtueMedia.org not-for-profit media apostolates.

A young adult gentleman in attendance, Daniel, shared at the event that the Catholics Come Home® “Epic” commercial played a part in his faith journey, ultimately which lead to his converting from his Evangelical Protestant background to becoming Catholic.

Welcome Home, Daniel!

CCH Recommends…”RESTLESS HEARTS”

Do you have friends and relatives away from the Church and pray for their return to the faith? St. Augustine’s conversion story is well-known and powerful; his story has inspired countless souls over many centuries and speaks boldly to our postmodern times. This is a must-see film!

Check out the trailer for the new movie coming out this Fall, Restless Heart: The Confessions of St. Augustine

“Restless Heart draws us to appreciate the magnitude and the totality of Augustine’s conversion of mind and heart. It invites us to consider how the Lord, whose merciful love is active in every time and place, is drawing us to give our own minds and hearts more completely to Him.” -Francis Cardinal George

Visit CatholicsComeHome.org to watch and share our short modern-day conversion stories!

New Movie Depicts Life of Saint Augustine, Famous for "Coming Home" to Catholicism

A new movie, “Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine,” is coming Fall 2012.  Saint Augustine, famous for “coming home” to Catholicism, continues to inspire hope in many today who have loved ones away from the faith.

St. Augustine of Hippo is one of the Christian world’s most beloved and well-known saints.  However, his amazing conversion and heroic life have not been told on the big screen…until now.  According to the movie’s website (www.RestlessHeartFilm.com), “in this stirring and epic new film of the life of St. Augustine of Hippo, follow the great saint as he rises from his reckless days as a youth to his accomplishments as renowned but dissolute orator.  Though worldly success and riches come his way…satisfaction and peace elude him.  It takes a confrontation with Christian bishop Ambrose and the countless prayers offered by his patient mother, Monica, to break through his intellectual pride.”

Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago offers his reflection about the movie: “Many generations of Catholics have turned to the Confessions of Saint Augustine for encouragement and sustenance in living as disciples of the Lord.  Restless Heart invites even more people to discover the power of this spiritual classic. This film brings the words of the Confessions to life by enabling us to more fully understand the relationships and the culture that shaped Augustine, and to better grasp his talents and ambitions, sins and struggles and, ultimately, his sanctity.  Restless Heart draws us to appreciate the magnitude and the totality of Augustine’s conversion of mind and heart. It invites us to consider how the Lord, whose merciful love is active in every time and place, is drawing us to give our own minds and hearts more completely to Him.”

Check-out the movie trailer and theater information.

To view inspirational modern day “coming home” stories, visit the CatholicsComeHome.org Real People. Real Stories video testimonials page.

Happy Feast of St. Maria Goretti!

St. Maria Goretti is the patron saint of youth. Take time today to pray for the young people, especially teenagers, in your life. The teenage years are incredibly challenging, and young people need all the prayers and love they can get from the adults in their lives.

Read more about St. Maria Goretti here.

St. Maria Goretti, thank you for example of strong faith and complete trust in God. Pray for us!