The Bismarck Tribune reports CatholicsComeHome.org TV Commercial Initiative Kicking-off in the Diocese of Bismarck

POSTED ON: December 3, 2010 by

The Catholics Come Home® TV Commercials will be airing in the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota and state-wide in less than two weeks.  The Bismarck Tribune  reports, below:

Bismarck Tribune

Campaign asks Catholics to come home

By LEANN ECKROTH/ Bismarck Tribune | Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010 2:00 am

The Bismarck Catholic Diocese will unveil a multi-faceted welcome mat next month for those who have drifted away  from the church.

The “Catholics Come Home®” TV commercials will air statewide from Dec. 17 to Jan. 30 for both the Bismarck and Fargo dioceses; they are financed separately by each diocese.

Stuffing envelopes for the Catholics Come Home campaign in the basement of Saint Anne Church in Bismarck on 11-18 morning are volunteers Kathy Schumacher, left, and Berneice Famias, right. In back are Karen Gainsforth, left, Georgia Keller, center, and Roy Nagel. Deacon Tony Finneman said the group would be filling 5000 envelopes. "These will go to all of the parishes in the Diocese of Bismarck," said Finneman "and they are intended for people who want to learn more about the Catholic faith and those who have been absent from the faith."

Stuffing envelopes for the Catholics Come Home campaign in the basement of Saint Anne Church in Bismarck on 11-18 morning are volunteers Kathy Schumacher, left, and Berneice Famias, right. In back are Karen Gainsforth, left, Georgia Keller, center, and Roy Nagel. Deacon Tony Finneman said the group would be filling 5000 envelopes. "These will go to all of the parishes in the Diocese of Bismarck," said Finneman "and they are intended for people who want to learn more about the Catholic faith and those who have been absent from the faith."

Other parts of the project take it to a more personal level.  Priests and congregations are trained how to welcome  those who have returned or want to.

On Nov. 18, several volunteers spent the day stuffing informational packets and  DVDs for those who left and church members who want to deepen their faith. The packets include material about  confessions,  the rosary, and a DVD.

The local ad effort is an offshoot of the national Catholics Come Home® program, started by ad executive  Tom Peterson, based in Roswell, Ga.

“He wanted to promote the faith,” said Mary Tarver, canon lawyer for the Bismarck Catholic Diocese. “It’s been run successfully in 20 dioceses.  Phoenix saw a 15 percent increase in Mass attendance. It is just advertisements.”

Tarver said the ads give examples of why people leave the Catholic Church and what happened when they returned. “Each of the commercials … says , ‘If you’ve been away from the church, give us another chance, take another look at the Catholic church.’” Tarver said.

The Rev. Tom Richter said most of the ads are testimonies. He said they are true stories from people who share why they left the church and why they came back. Another  two-minute ad shows people who watch the story of their lives. “They’re meant to inspire the heart  to   be close to Christ again with the church.”

Tarver said most who left said they just wanted an invitation to return after they drifted away. “That’s all we wanted to do — invite them back.”

She said specific dioceses are doing the television commercials, but they will go national in 2011.

Richter, who is a member of the Catholics Come Home® Committee , said the ads typically target the  Advent and the Christmas-New Year’s and Lent-Easter seasons, “when people’s sentiments and desires come back to church are the highest ”
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Please Keep the Diocese of Bismarck, and all of our CCH Diocesan Partners in Your Prayers as they Prepare for these Important Evangelization Initiatives!
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