Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bishop Olmsted Is On A Roll

CNA has the story of a mass media campaign designed to bring lapsed Catholics back into the fold. Phoenix, which is Bishop Olmsted's diocese, was the starting point.

An estimated 92,000 inactive Catholics have come back to the Church in the last year thanks in large part to the groundbreaking Catholics Come Home television advertising campaign.

The promotional spots featured people and locations from around the Phoenix Diocese to promote the Church during prime time television. The cornerstone of the campaign, the Catholics Come Home Web site, addresses often misunderstood aspects of the faith.

“For those who had fallen away from the practice of their faith, it let them know that we want them to come home,” Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said.

The commercials, which ran this time last year, detail the good works of the Catholic Church throughout history. They also offer real-life testimonials of local fallen away Catholics explaining what turned them away and what drew them back.

“Phoenix was supposed to be this quiet little test,” said former Phoenician Tom Peterson, president and founder of Catholics Come Home based in Georgia. “Word went worldwide as soon as you launched.”

92,000. That's pretty good numbers. It also bears out the whole "If you preach it, they will come" cliche. There are a lot of folks who left the Church simply because they were driven away by the laxity of the faithful and the lack of sound doctrine taught from the pulpit. Get rid of that stuff, and folks will return.

Take a look at the breakdown.

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

So it's not all bad news. God bless all those who are working on this project.

Here's the web site. Check it out or email it to those you know who have need of a reversion to the Faith.

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