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.
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.