Mass attendance went up more than 8 percent in most parishes between October and February according to a count taken after a “Catholics Come Home” advertising campaign, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.
The evangelization effort, which ran between Christmas and Super Bowl Sunday, featured a series of 2,000 ads that aired on 16 channels. The ads included testimonials from lapsed Catholics who had returned to the church and mini-documentaries of the church’s historic presence around the world.
The message was that no matter what mistakes have been made, people can find forgiveness by going back to church.
The Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Evangelization released the report on the attendance increase with the caveat that its Office of Research and Planning conducted the count at the beginning of Lent, when traditionally more people attend Sunday Mass.
Additional surveys distributed to pastors showed that 88 percent think the archdiocese should use media to evangelize in the future; 71 percent thought the initiative benefited their parishes; and 52 percent reported an increase in confessions.
The Catholics Come Home campaign was a collaborative effort of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Dioceses of Joliet and Rockford.