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!

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

Rising from the Ashes! Technology Bringing Faithful Home on Ash Wednesday

Catholics Come Home
RISING FROM THE ASHES!
TECHNOLOGY BRINGING FAITHFUL HOME ON ASH WEDNESDAY

(March 3, 2011) Atlanta, GA—Boston is no stranger to the challenges facing the world today:  the fragile economy, high unemployment, rising cost of food and gas, and turmoil around the globe.  In an effort to offer hope and peace to families during these troubled times in the world, the Archdiocese of Boston is turning to television, the Internet, and the power of God for the answers, by calling inactive Catholics home to the Church for Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season.

“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.”  Worldwide, nearly 70 percent of baptized Catholics do not attend Mass regularly.

A massive television blitz in Boston and in 8 other (arch)dioceses begins March 7th, the Monday before Ash Wednesday, using highly produced television messages developed by the Atlanta based non-profit Catholics Come Home, Inc.

Catholics Come Home® an independent Catholic apostolate, is the lay Catholic group behind the Lenten TV advertising initiatives in the Boston, Manchester, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Houma/Thibodaux, Erie, Winona and Venice, FL dioceses.

In the past two years, “millions of people have already seen ads like this in other parts of the country and more than 200,000 people have already come home,” added Cardinal O’Malley.

The TV outreach begins two days before Ash Wednesday, one of the highest attended holy days in the Catholic Church.  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%.

“Months ago, I was an atheist trying to convert people out of the faith,” said Adrian from Colorado who saw the Catholics Come Home® commercial called “Epic.” I “felt like God was personally calling me home.”

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.

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.

Many Non-Catholics have even 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.”

The television and website advertisements accessible at www.CatholicsComeHome.org were created and are supported by a group of lay Catholic families and individuals inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization.  Pope Benedict XVI has continued this mission stating, “People of the Church, especially lay Christians, are called to promote the Gospel values in an even greater outreach through the press, radio, television and Internet.”

Through TV and the website www.CatholicsComeHome.org, Christ’s message of love is communicated through a gentle invitation.  “These messages are created and sponsored by lay Catholic families who have experienced a renewal of faith and who want to bring purpose and hope to other families across the country.  The results are nothing short of miraculous, and people are finding a real source for peace and answers during these troubled times” said Founder and President, Tom Peterson.

###

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.

CatholicsComeHome.org Airing in Diocese of Venice in Florida This Lent

Catholics Come Home® initiative kicks off on Ash Wednesday

Advertising campaign to include commercials on local TV stations until Easter

BOB REDDY
VENICE –

Venice CCH logo“An extraordinary undertaking” is how Bishop Frank J. Dewane describes Catholics Come Home®, a program of evangelization to welcome people to the Catholic Church. The program will kick off Ash Wednesday (March 9) with a regional media campaign and a wide variety of parishioners ready to welcome home inactive Catholics to their Church communities.

Bishop Dewane said, “During Lent … the Diocese of Venice is undertaking a dramatic initiative to invite and welcome back our brothers and sisters who have been away from the Church.”

This collaborative effort between the Diocese of Venice and nonprofit CatholicsComeHome.org incorporates compelling, professionally produced television commercials about the Catholic faith, airing on major television networks in the state, combined with parish programs preparing people to welcome those returning to or seeking information from the Catholic Church. A link on the Diocese home page (www.dioceseofvenice.org) has been created in support of parish efforts and to provide information to Catholics who are interested in coming home.

The commercials, created by the CatholicsComeHome.org, were developed with a particular emphasis on encouraging people to come back to the Catholic Church or to learning about the Church for the first time. The series of ads are set to air from March 7 through Easter Sunday (April 24), with the goal of reaching more than million viewers during that time.

The Diocese of Venice is divided into two media markets, therefore the ads will air on broadcast stations of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Collier counties. For viewers in DeSoto, Charlotte, Manatee and Sarasota counties the ads will air on ABC-7. The ads will also air on cable stations in Highlands, Hardee, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

In addition, Spanish language radio ads will air on WTLQ, Total La Ley and Total Super Q.

Catholics can get involved in the campaign in ways both financial and personal.

In summarizing the motivation for this campaign, Bishop Dewane put it simply: “We are doing this for one reason, to welcome our brothers and sisters in faith back home to the Catholic Church. If they have been away for a little while for any reason, we want to invite them to have another look and give us an opportunity to welcome them back. We miss them, and our faith community isn’t complete without them.”

In conjunction with the Catholics Come Home® initiative in the Diocese, each parish and mission will offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the Fridays of Lent from 5-7 p.m.; and again on the Saturdays of Lent from 9-11 a.m.

Also note that the Catholics Come Home® founder Tom Peterson will be speaking at Blessed Pope John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers on March 15 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
Read entire Diocese of Venice article

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 Augusta Chronicle in the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia reports: "Ads call Catholics back to church"

The Catholics Come Home® TV Commercials will be airing in the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia and state-wide in less than a month.  The Augusta Chronicle  reports, below:

By Kelly Jasper
Staff Writer
Friday, Nov. 19, 2010

Twenty years ago, Cristine Bays left the Catholic Church. There was no big pronouncement or public protest.

“I had just drifted away,” said Bays, an Evans mother of three.

Cristine Bays spent most of her adult life going to church off and on, but after an illness about three years ago she committed to attending church full time. "I've always felt at home in the Catholic Church. I wish all people felt it was their home."  Corey Perrine/Staff

photo: Corey Perrine/Staff, Cristine Bays spent most of her adult life going to church off and on, but after an illness about three years ago she committed to attending church full time. "I've always felt at home in the Catholic Church. I wish all people felt it was their home."

The same is true for millions of Catholics who don’t attend weekly Mass, or who have fallen away from religion entirely or become Protestant.

A new program — half evangelism effort, half public relations campaign — issues an invitation to out-of-practice Catholics across Georgia.

Television commercials created by the nonprofit lay organization Catholics Come Home will air on network and cable television from Dec. 17 to Jan. 23. The commercials, in English and Spanish, will air during prime time. Some celebrate church history; others show the testimony of Catholics who have “come home.”

The Catholic Diocese of Savannah raised $160,000 to air the commercials throughout its 90 counties, including Richmond and Columbia.

The Catholics Come Home ad campaign will air in prime time cable and network television from Dec. 17 through Jan. 23 in the 90 counties of the Diocese of Savannah. Watch the commercials and learn more at catholicscomehome.org

The Catholics Come Home ad campaign will air in prime time cable and network television from Dec. 17 through Jan. 23 in the 90 counties of the Diocese of Savannah. Watch the commercials and learn more at catholicscomehome.org

The average American watches four hours of TV a day, making the campaign one of the most effective ways to bring Catholics back to the church, said Tom Peterson, a former marketing executive who founded Georgia-based Catholics Come Home in 1998.

He was “nominally Catholic” until attending a retreat in Arizona, which renewed his faith.

“God was calling me to use my advertising talents to serve him,” Peterson said. “The light bulbs went off, and the adventure began.”

He moved to Roswell, Ga., to grow the ministry. Since its founding, some 200,000 Catholics have returned to the church. When the commercials were launched in the Phoenix market, 92,000 Catholics returned. “That was just in one city,” Peterson said.

On average, each diocese sees Mass attendance increase 10 percent.

Most, like Bays, don’t have serious issues with the church but have fallen out of the habit of regular church attendance, Peterson said. Catholics Come Home’s research has shown that the average Catholic who leaves then returns to the church has been away for nine years.

It took a personal invitation for Bays to return, she said. During a hospital stay three years ago, she was visited daily by churchgoers.

“It was the push I needed,” said Bays, now a member of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Grovetown, where her husband, Brian, will soon convert to Catholicism.

Augusta parishes were recently visited by Bishop J. Kevin Boland and other leaders in the diocese. They’re traveling the state to deliver workshops on how to deal with the influx of members.

“We know we have to be more welcoming. It’s everything from opening doors to saying hello and offering a doughnut or two. It’s the stuff Protestants figured out years ago,” Joe Soparas said with a laugh. He and his wife, Mary, are coordinators of St. Teresa’s Catholics Come Home program.

Priests are also setting aside time to meet with those returning to the church or grappling with issues, said the Rev. Michael Lubinsky, the parochial vicar of The Church of the Most Holy Trinity in downtown Augusta.

“Catholics Come Home is a process for all Catholics, inactive and active, by which all are invited to come to the Lord by the holy sacraments of love and mercy and affection and forgiveness,” he said.

From 2000 to 2010, only 22 percent of U.S. Catholics attended Mass on a weekly basis, according to a poll by CARA, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a nonprofit Georgetown University-affiliated research center that studies the Catholic Church. That speaks to the millions of Americans who identify as Catholic but aren’t practicing Catholics, Peterson said.

“This is an invitation for them, too,” he said.

With at least 68 million members, the Catholic Church claims more adherents than any other American denomination, about 22 percent of the U.S. population. With membership waning, 1 in 10 Americans identifies as a former Catholic, according to the most recent Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, compiled in 2008.

“For the most part, it’s really the secular lures of the world that pull people away. Life gets busy,” Peterson said. “Ninety percent say they’d come back if someone invited them.”

Catholics Come Home usually runs its six-week campaigns through the Christmas season or Lent.

“It’s a great time to issue an invitation,” Peterson said.

“Most people see the ad on TV and say, ‘I started to tear up. I felt like God was personally calling me home.’ ”
read entire article

Please Keep the Diocese of Savannah, and all of our CCH Diocesan Partners in Your Prayers as they Prepare for these Important Evangelization Initiatives!
Learn more about bringing CatholicsComeHome.org TV commercials to your diocese

2010 Georgia Catholic Men’s Conference

GA Catholic Mens ConferenceCatholic Men of Georgia and surrounding areas: Join hundreds of other men for the 2010 Georgia Catholic Men’s Conference on Saturday, November 6th! It’s a day of motivational speakers and spiritual enrichment. For information and to register, go to: www.gacatholicmen.org. Tom Peterson, President and Founder of CatholicsComeHome.org will be the lunch time key note speaker! Don’t miss this great event!

Archdiocese of Atlanta Ready to "Welcome Home" Catholics!…

The Archdiocese of Atlanta’s official newspaper, The Georgia Bulletin, announces that CatholicsComeHome.org TV commercials are kicking-off in Atlanta, and all of Georgia, this December:

GA Bulletin


Catholics Come Home Campaign Kicks Off

MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff Writer

Published: September 30, 2010

ATLANTA—“An extraordinary undertaking” is how Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory describes Catholics Come Home Georgia, a program of evangelization to welcome people to the Catholic Church. The program will kick off in December with a statewide media campaign and a plethora of parishioners ready to welcome home inactive Catholics and non-Catholics to their church communities.

Archbishop Gregory said, “During Advent … the Church in the Archdiocese of Atlanta is undertaking a dramatic initiative to invite and welcome back our brothers and sisters who have been away from the church.”

This collaborative effort between the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Diocese of Savannah, and nonprofit CatholicsComeHome.org incorporates compelling, professionally produced television commercials about the Catholic faith, airing on major television networks in the state, combined with parish programs preparing people to welcome those returning to or seeking information from the Catholic Church. A website, www.catholicscomehomegeorgia.org, has been created in support of parish efforts.

The commercials, created by the CatholicsComeHome.org, were developed with a particular emphasis on encouraging people to come back to the Catholic Church or to learning about the church for the first time. The ads are set to air from mid-December through late January, with the goal of reaching millions of viewers during that time.
read entire article

Please Keep Atlanta, Savannah and all of our CCH Diocesan Partners in Your Prayers as they Prepare for these Important Evangelization Initiatives!
Learn more about bringing CatholicsComeHome.org TV commercials to your diocese

Steubenville's "Defending the Faith" Conference – Tom Peterson's Talk Now Available Online

Tom PetersonCatholicsComeHome.org founder and president, Tom Peterson, was honored to be included among the presenters at the 2010 “Defending the Faith” Conference in Steubenville, OH:

Tom Peterson’s talk, “Love Someone to Heaven: Today’s Need for Authentic Catholic Heroes” is now available at the online Franciscan University Book Store.

About the Conference:

Defending the Faith
Be Transformed By the Renewal of Your Mind

“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

“When friends and colleagues find out we’re Catholic and ask us, ‘Do you really believe all that?’ and we respond, ‘Yes, I do,’ a new moment begins,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.  “Our yes inherits all the grace of every yes uttered throughout salvation history.  Our ‘yes’ is an echo of the fidelity of faithful men and women in every time and place.”

Nearly 1300 conferees packed Finnegan Fieldhouse at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 20th annual Defending the Faith Conference “Be Transformed By the Renewal of Your Mind,” July 30-August 1.

Co-hosted by Franciscan University theology professors Dr. Alan Schreck, founder of the conference, and Dr. Scott Hahn, founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and serves as a member of the CatholicsComeHome.org Theological Advisory Board, the conference attracted people from 39 states and 8 foreign countries, including India, South Africa, and Portugal. Participants were drawn by a unique opportunity to sit at the feet of some of the greatest apologists laboring in the world today.

Speakers were clear eyed about the challenges facing the Church.

“We simply cannot confine ourselves to strategies of neutrality,” said Cardinal Rigali, who opened the conference with a keynote address titled “His Name Is Jesus. “The skepticism of today arises out of a lost sense of meaning.  Our friends and family are told the undeniable yearning in the human heart is only a superficial emotional affect.”
read entire article

Many Catholics “don’t know what they don’t know” regarding their Catholic faith.  Visit the CatholicsComeHome.org website and explore the most common misunderstood Church teachings and questions about the faith.

And remember to:  “keep the faith….but not to yourself!”