Catholics are Coming Home!

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer
Powerful new television ads encouraging Catholics to return to the Church are being run in major cities across the United States with astonishing results.

Catholics Come Home, Inc. (CCH) an independent, non-profit organization, created the ads which were initially shown in the Dioceses of Phoenix, Arizona and Lexington, Kentucky during the three weeks leading up to Easter. The result was more than 6,000 Catholics returning to the Church.
The ads are expertly created and very moving. For instance, in one ad, several men and women whose lives have ended come into a large room and watch the story of their lives play on a giant screen. They see their sinfulness and are shown how their selfish behavior has hurt others.

The ad ends with a voice saying, “You can ask God to help edit your life story and create the ideal ending. No matter what you’ve done, there is good news, since Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it . . . Imagine hearing God say after your life story has ended, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. . .’”

Another ad documents the glorious history of the Church and lists all the ways that it has contributed to the advancement of mankind through the centuries such as establishing the university system, caring for the sick in its hospitals, and being the largest aid organization on the planet.
The commercials direct viewers to the organization’s website to find answers to their questions about the faith, and to utilize the site’s parish-finder feature to locate their local parish community.

Thousands of visitors to the website find a bold but gentle invitation to come home.

“We sincerely pray that you will not shy away from a careful examination of the biblical and historical facts presented here, and that you will sincerely and prayerfully consider that there may be much more to the case for Catholicism than you may have ever realized,” the site says.

“God loves you so much that He will not stop searching for you, reaching out to you, and seeking you, so He can bring you safely home to a big, warm, and loving Catholic family. But God is gentle… the choice is yours.”

The campaign began as a multi-media program created for the Diocese of Phoenix Arizona in 1998. In a matter of only a few weeks, the ads helped 3,000 inactive souls return to their Catholic faith. Eventually, the same ads were shared with other parishes and dioceses around the country such as St. Louis, Lincoln, Colorado Springs, Sacramento, and others, where they have met with the same success.

During the Phoenix campaign, one priest wrote Catholics Come Home to say: “I have heard more confessions this Lent than ever before!” crediting the commercials with the dramatic rise in Catholics returning to the sacrament. “Many have mentioned the commercial. I gave someone a tour of the Church who hasn’t attended since the 1950’s. He saw the commercial, showed up and said ‘I’m home’.”

Another priest related, “I heard 16 confessions that first week as a direct result of those commercials.”
Personal testimonies sent to the Come Home team are powerful. “I’ve been away from the church for over 35 years,” said one viewer, “and over the past 20 years I have become agnostic . . . For me to actually look this site up from a TV ad says a lot! I even looked up the Mass times at my local parish!”
Tom Peterson, CCH Founder and President informed that the ads are slated to air in major US markets this year, including Atlanta, and Chicago, and eventually on National networks and possibly even the Super Bowl.

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