Catholic Group Fires Back at Newsweek Cover Story -- Nearly One Hundred Thousand Flock Home to Catholic Church

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An estimated 92,000 inactive Catholics in the Phoenix Diocese have come home to the church in the last year. Take that Newsweek!

they are reminded that while God is always there for us, we, in our humanity, often tend to forget about Him.

An estimated 92,000 inactive Catholics in the Phoenix Diocese have come home to the church in the last year.

Take that Newsweek!

CatholicsComeHome.org, an international apostolate welcoming fallen away, inactive and non-Catholics home to the church, has the real facts about the state of Christian America. While Newsweek magazine prints yet another doom and gloom article on Christianity and its future in the April 13 article proclaiming "The End of Christian America," CatholicsComeHome.org is witnessing the greatest return to the Catholic faith in recent times.

How did it happen? Simply by airing TV commercials inviting people to come home.

In a three-week prime-time TV Campaign aired during the Lenten season last year, the promotional spots featured people and locations from around the world depicting and promoting the universality of the Catholic Church including scenes from an African Mass, Tongan Island baptism, Mexican celebration, Vietnam aid workers, Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican and more. The spots detailed the good works of the Catholic Church throughout history. They also offered real-life testimonials of fallen-away Catholics explaining how they were distracted from faith and what drew them back.

"Phoenix was supposed to be this quiet little test," said Tom Peterson, president and founder of Catholics ComeHome.org. "Word spread worldwide as soon as we launched," he said in an interview with the Phoenix diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Sun.

The cornerstone of the campaign, the CatholicsComeHome.org Web site, addresses often misunderstood aspects of the faith. "Questions that I have were addressed on the website. Very helpful," wrote one visitor to the site. More than half a million different visitors from all 50 states and 80 countries have visited the Web site http://www.catholicscomehome.org since the spots first aired.

The response was so positive that other dioceses around the country have joined in. The Corpus Christi diocese has already run a similar campaign in both English and Spanish (http://www.catolicosregresen.org) adding brochures answering common-faith related questions and listing Mass times and ministries. The CatholicsComeHome.org spots will appear in more than a dozen other dioceses around the country later in 2009 or early 2010 including Seattle, Sacramento, Colorado Springs, Lincoln, Charlotte, Springfield, Providence, Harrisburg, Green Bay, Chicago and Venice Florida. By the time Advent rolls around in 2010, organizers say they'll go national on major networks. Internationally, the various dioceses of Australia are working towards possible plans for a CatholicsComeHome.org TV ad campaign.

Six months after the Phoenix media campaign ended, a comprehensive analysis of its impact revealed a 22 percent increase in Mass attendance at nine sample parishes. Throughout the diocese, the average increased Mass attendance - returned and new Catholics - was 12 percent. That's despite a flat population growth in the diocese during that period.

Peterson said the CatholicsComeHome.org campaign has "the potential of re-Christianizing our society and even evangelizing the world." When asked, 90% of the people said they drifted away from the Church simply because "the world got in the way," and returned to church and a life of faith "because you invited me!" Don from Phoenix who returned to the Catholic faith in response to the television ads commented, "I didn't take my faith seriously, which probably means I never really 'got it' to begin with."

Peterson believes that in today's turbulent economic climate, more people are humbled and receptive to restoring their relationship with God than when they are distracted by the lures of the world during "good times". "They are looking for answers and for hope," Peterson states, adding "they are reminded that while God is always there for us, we, in our humanity, often tend to forget about Him."

This search for Truth in response to the TV ads is also reflected in the statistic that 25 percent of CatholicsComeHome.org web visitors are non-Catholics considering joining the Catholic faith. Thousands of emails have been received at the Phoenix Diocesan office since the commercials first aired. One reads: "I felt peace and I needed that. Thank you for reminding me where I belong."

Looks like Newsweek's projected 'end to Christianity' might in actuality be a new beginning - a very familiar Easter story!

CatholicsComeHome.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local and national television networks.

Media Contact: Susan Gerdvil, Program Director, 678-585-7886 x106,
Catholics Come Home Inc., 560 W Crossville Rd, Suite 101, Roswell, GA 30075

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