Grassroots effort drawing thousands of Catholics back
Television viewers across Western New York will begin to see "evangomercials" beginning in mid-December, offering inspiring stories of faith and hope, as the Diocese of Buffalo embarks on its latest "New Evangelization" initiative, inviting inactive Catholics and others home to Jesus and his Church.
Catholics Come Home, Inc., an independent, nonprofit Catholic apostolate, is the lay Catholic group that created the upcoming Christmas television outreach, airing Dec. 12 through Jan. 18, 2015.
Since 1998, CCH initiatives have aired in more than 37 archdioceses and dioceses from Phoenix to Sacramento, Atlanta to Boston and Chicago to Seattle, helping to increase Mass attendance an average of 10 percent, and welcoming home more than 500,000 inactive Catholics and others seeking more joy, peace and meaning in their lives. Buffalo will be the 38th diocesan partner of this outreach initiative of faith.
"This represents a great opportunity for each of us," said the Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, Buffalo Diocese bishop. "We all know a family member or friend who no longer practices their faith. We hope and pray that those who see our 'Catholics Come Home' messages come back to our Catholic family, home to a local parish community this Christmas season and into the new year.
"Portraying the beauty, spirituality and history of the Catholic Church, these television messages reach out to inactive Catholics and others on their faith journey, encouraging their return to the Church. The 'evangomercials' direct the viewer to the 'Catholics Come Home' website (www.CatholicsComeHome.org) to explore answers to questions of faith and to utilize the site's parish-finder feature to locate their local parish community and diocesan resources."
"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," said Tom Peterson, CCH founder.
"The 'evangomercials' are being funded through the contributions of thousands of Catholics in hundreds of parishes as well as the support of the Bishop's Council of the Laity," he added. "For the past several months, preparations have been underway for the commencement of 'Catholics Come Home.' Workshops are being offered to help parishes with methods of welcome. Catholics are being encouraged to share their faith with enthusiasm, as well as to explain Catholic teachings on important faith issues that have not always been fully understood by some who have left the Church."
"Starting this Christmas, we will send the message loud and clear that we want Catholics back home with us," Malone said. "How appropriate that, through Christmas, we have a chance to share the greatest gift of all: our faith."