A Blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter from Catholics Come Home


Dear Friend of CatholicsComeHome.org,

We pray your Holy Week and Easter celebrations are full of grace and joy! In our deep gratitude for our loving God who gave His life for us and founded His Catholic Church, we are blessed to continue to labor in His vineyard, helping to invite more souls home to experience a renewed relationship with the crucified and risen Christ in His Church.

Catholics Come Home® appears on EWTN Live and Relevant Radio!
It’s a great time to be a Catholic. With the recent election of our new Holy Father, the eyes of the world have been on the Church, and we have had an exciting opportunity to invite people all over the world to learn more about the extraordinary plan God has for their lives in the Catholic Church He founded. Check out some of the latest coverage of Catholics Come Home® in the news on Relevant Radio Relevant Radio and on EWTN Live, where I sat down with Fr. Mitch Pacwa, our newest addition to our Catholics Come Home® theological advisory board!

God is working miracles through Catholics Come Home® with your help! Here is Thomas’ powerful story…
I lost my Faith roughly 25 years ago, after losing my high school sweetheart, the girl of my dreams. I was suddenly alone. Father Stan said to me, “It was God’s will.” I couldn’t understand that; I couldn’t accept it. I got mad and said goodbye to God and my family and moved to Vancouver, never to look back.

Five years ago, I was hit by a car as I crossed the street on my way to work. I didn’t know it, but that day, my life changed. I managed to contract an infection in my legs that left me quarantined from almost all of society. My only companions during this time were nurses covered from head to toe in plastic and facemasks. I felt very much alone in this world. I blamed God. My legs healed, finally, and I was able to start looking for work again. I still felt bitter towards God for leaving me all alone in this world. I cursed and swore at God and hated every moment of being alive. I blamed God for not just killing me. Even today I still get teary-eyed thinking that I could have been full of so much hate for God and Jesus.

What changed? In the fall of 2012, I started to see the Catholics Come Home commercials on TV. At first I was not interested. Then at Christmas something ‘snapped’ and I knew that I had to come back to God. I saw several of these ads on TV and inside something was stirring in my soul. I prayed for forgiveness at my foolishness for what happened after the car accident. I read the book Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life and [Tom’s recommended book] Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, and that’s when everything lit up. I understood the pain and suffering. I am thankful that I will be in Mass again. It was your ads that made all the difference. I think if they had not been there, I probably would have continued to drift and disappear. –Thomas M., Vancouver, Canada

Watch for the final airing of the Catholics Come Home® “Epic” evangomercial™ in “The Bible” Easter Sunday!
As you may have noticed from our previous e-mail updates, the response to our “Epic” evangomercials™ on the History Channel’s The Bible has been huge! Our inboxes have been full of emails from Catholics reenergized about their faith, fallen-away Catholics inquiring about coming home, and non-Catholics curious to learn more about the Catholic Church. One woman reached out to us on Facebook, sharing, ” I came home last week after seeing the commercial.” Praise God! Be sure to tune in to see the final airing of “Epic” during the miniseries this Easter Sunday at 8 p.m. EST. Thanks to your generous support, we are extending the invitation to come home to millions of viewers tuning in on the glorious day on which we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection!

Thanks to your generous spiritual and financial support, we have made unprecedented headway this Lent in inviting millions of souls home to the Catholic Church and encouraging them to discover God’s plan for their lives. Please help us keep the momentum going so the Holy Spirit can bring more growth to the work of Catholics Come Home®!

As always, we thank you for your continued support of our mission to invite Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church.

Your brother in Christ,

Tom Peterson and your CatholicsComeHome.org team

Help Air CCH Commercials During “The Bible” on History Channel!

Dear Friend of CatholicsComeHome.org,

Have you heard? The secular History Channel is airing a new series: The Bible, premiering on March 3. I was excited to meet with the producers of the epic 5-week mini-series a few times, Emmy winning husband and wife team Mark Burnett and RomaDowney. We share a passion for evangelization and a love of the Bible.

For two hours each Sunday night, millions of viewers around the country will watch the story of salvation history, stretching from Genesis to Revelation, in a stunning visual TV presentation, with the final episode of the series, featuring Christ’s death and Resurrection, airing on Easter Sunday.

Catholics Come Home® wants to air commercials during the show!
Imagine how many viewers of all different faith backgrounds–and many fallen-away Catholics–and even people on their faith journey for the first time will be watching the series on the popular History Channel! Though I haven’t seen the whole miniseries yet, I do know the impact that our “Epic” ad could have on the audience. How great it would be if we could join together to promote the Good News of the Catholic Church that Jesus founded by airing Catholics Come Home® commercials during this highly-acclaimed national programming.

Read what Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington has to say about the series:
The Bible, the made-for-TV video, seeks to introduce a new generation to the Bible, the great book of the works of God. It does so with great passion, exquisite skill and cinemagraphic triumph. My hope is that this video presentation, The Bible, may bring alive its many stories in people’s minds and hearts so that they may be drawn to rediscover the Bible and rejoice in its saving message.

We need your help!
Our goal is to have more people be touched by the “Epic” ad, like our friend Deborah was, who recently emailed us explaining how she put off coming home to the Catholic Church for years, “until I saw the Catholics Come Home commerical in December 2011 [during the national campaign]. I said ‘Ok, Lord, I’ll go.’ I walked into my parish in Indiana on January 1, 2012 and found home! I enrolled that week in the RCIA program and was baptized that April. I am very active in church and love everyone and everything in our parish. It was a lot of years of seeking but I am finally home!”

We would like everyone tuning into The Bible to see Catholics Come Home® commercials air during the breaks, but we can’t do this without your help. Willyou please prayerfully consider making a donation to help us in this national TV effort, that will require our investment of nearly $200,000? Your gift will help reach millions of souls with the message that the story of salvation history continues today in Christ’s Catholic Church!

Thank you for your continued support of Catholics Come Home® and for joining me on this exciting journey of faith in Christ’s Catholic Church!

Your brother in Christ,

Tom Peterson and your CatholicsComeHome.org team

HAPPY EASTER!

Easter Exsultet

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

"Catholics Come Home" Commercials Spur Green Bay Man to Enter the Church This Easter!

The Compass Newspaper of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin reports the story of  a young man’s journey into the Catholic Church this Easter that began when he saw a Catholics Come Home® Commercial:

compass icon image Green Baycompasslogo Green Bay

‘Catholics Come Home®’ commercials spur Cooney’s interest in Catholicism
Written by Jeff Kurowski | The Compass

HOWARD — The Easter Vigil will mark the culmination of one path of discovery and the beginning of another for Casey Cooney. The Bay Port High School senior will make a full profession of faith and receive confirmation and first Eucharist on April 23 at St. John the Baptist Church. He was baptized last year. Karla Thielmann, his aunt, is serving as his sponsor.

Last summer, Cooney, 18, decided it was time to take his faith seriously. He had grown up in a household without religion, but, at his request, attended Mass at times as a child. His mother took him to St. John the Baptist, which he describes as “my first experience with God.” Cooney, who also spent time as a teen at various Protestant and nondenominational churches, said he entered the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) after re-examining his faith life.

“I knew that I had to decide where I was in my communion with God,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to come back to the church, but I was initially dismayed because there are 3,000 different denominations of Christianity, some of which with mutually exclusive theology. They all say that they are the last remnant of Israel. Who do I believe?”

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Casey Cooney (Rick Evans | For The Compass)

Around this time of personal faith exploration, television commercials for Catholics Come Home® aired locally. Cooney said that he was inspired by the media spot that highlighted Jesus calling Peter “the rock” and saying, “Upon this rock I will build my church.”

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“After that, I started to investigate the church,” he said. “Everything just made sense to me and I knew that’s where I belong.”

Cooney has embraced learning opportunities throughout the RCIA process. He has researched the history of the church and read about theologians, including Sts. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Much of the learning is not found in texts though, he said.

“It’s one thing to have that knowledge, but it’s much more important how you live your faith,” he said. “I always try to keep that in mind. The people on the RCIA team have been practicing their faith longer than I’ve been alive, so there are a lot of things they can teach me about what it means to live the Catholic life.

“I’m learning what it’s like to be part of a church community for the first time,” he added. “For me, it was always kind of a Sunday thing where you just kind of go and after church ends, you filter out.”

Cooney has developed an appreciation for the Catholic Mass. He recalls what he describes as “musical productions” at some of the nondenominational churches he attended.

“When I come to the Catholic Mass, the music is more restrained and I like it better,” he said. “The Mass is more solemn and quiet, and reverent, and respectful. In one of Paul’s Epistles he talked about propriety in worship in that God is the God of order and not chaos. I’m not saying that those other churches are chaotic, but I appreciate the order in the Catholic Church. I find it comforting.”

Read the entire article from The Compass

Please pray for all those coming into full communion with The Church this Easter, and for those who have received the Catholics Come Home® invitation who are considering returning to Mass.

SUDDEN SURGE IN NEW ENGLAND MASS ATTENDANCE

Catholics Come Home
SUDDEN SURGE IN NEW ENGLAND
MASS ATTENDANCE
CATHOLICS COME HOME
® FILLING PEWS FOR EASTER

(April 12, 2011) Atlanta, GA—The parish pews of New England Catholic churches are noticeably fuller these days.  This Lent, the Archdiocese of Boston, the Diocese of Manchester and seven other dioceses across the nation have partnered with the lay organization Catholics Come Home®, to air the multimedia (TV and Internet) evangelization initiative inviting Catholics back to church – and it’s working!

Portraying the spirituality and history of the Catholic Church, the television messages reach out to inactive Catholics and others; encouraging their return to the Church.  The commercials direct the viewer to the www.CatholicsComeHome.org and www.CatolicosRegresen.org websites to explore answers to questions of faith and to utilize the site’s parish-finder feature to locate their local parish community and Mass times.  Television campaigns often feature ads in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish in the most popular programming like news, sports and Prime Time.

Catholics Come Home® commercials began airing on mainstream broadcast and cable television on Ash Wednesday in the Lenten partner archdioceses of Boston and New Orleans, and dioceses of Manchester, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Houma-Thibodaux, Erie, Winona and Venice, FL.  The ads continue through Easter Sunday.  “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.”

Jackie Rolon, a Boston Catholic who recently returned to the faith after seeing a CatholicsComeHome.org TV commercial, beamed with delight in a video interview with the Boston Herald.  “I have come back to the Church a month today.  The joy I feel is beyond words,” said Rolon while hugging a photo of her deceased father and a rosary closely to herself.   The Boston Herald‘s recent story “Religious Campaign Goes Beyond TV Ads,” brings light to the welcoming spirit of New England parishes.  The Rev. Francisco Anzoategui, believes as many as 20 people have come back to St. Stephen’s.  “You’ll be amazed how many people return because they are just waiting for an invitation to come back. It’s happening,” he said.  At St. Patrick’s in Stoneham, the Rev. Bill Schmidt held a three-night Lenten mission last month for current and lapsed Catholics. About 60 people attended a Q&A night to learn about the faith. Another 50 came to a session on annulments. Parishioners are encouraged to bring friends and family. “We are putting a big push on people to invite somebody to go back,” he said. “It’s always easier to come back with someone.”

In the Diocese of Manchester, The Citizen of Laconia paper reports, “A Welcome Home: Catholic Church Opens Arms To Prodigal Faithful“.  Area parishes such as St. André Bessette of Laconia, will have large, purple banners above their doors, welcoming people to come within. The Rev. Marc Drouin, pastor of St. Andre Bessette, said, “Even if one person returns home, it’s worth everything to prepare to receive them,” said Drouin. “Just this past week, I spoke with two people who were away for at least 30 years and both of them had seen the commercials on TV and decided to reconnect. It was a delight to meet them and to welcome them back.”

Previous Catholics Come Home® initiatives have already aired in more than 20 dioceses from Chicago to Phoenix, Sacramento to Providence and Atlanta to Corpus Christi.  These ads will have reached 40 million viewers by Easter.  Where these ads have aired, Mass attendance has increased an average of 10%, and as much as 18%.  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 Holy Thursday also marks the one year anniversary of the EncouragePriests.org website launch, a communications outreach project of Catholics Come Home®.  The EncouragePriests.org website is designed for the laity to send messages of support to the holy and heroic priests of Christ’s Catholic Church.  EncouragePriests.org includes free e-card Collar-Hollers, spiritual bouquets, and a place to post encouragement videos.

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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: Yvonne Marchese at 678-585-7886 x101, or by e-mail to yvonne@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.

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.

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.