The successful Roswell, Ga.-based apostolate Catholics Come Home has utilized its award-winning television ads and website with several dioceses around the country since 2008. According to the organization, the campaign has been responsible for bringing nearly 100,000 inactive Catholics and converts home to the Church during Lent 2008.
Parishes in the Diocese of Phoenix reported a 12% increase in weekly Mass attendance during and after the campaign. The Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, witnessed a 17.7% increase.
Following the lead of so many other dioceses, the Diocese of Sacramento has announced that it will be launching a Catholics Come Home advertising campaign this coming December and January.
“There’s a large number of people who have left the Church and are waiting for an invitation to come back,” Msgr. James Murphy, vicar general of the diocese, told The Sacramento Bee. “This is their invitation.”
The diocese has an estimated population of 950,000 Catholics, but only about 136,500 attend weekly Mass.
Msgr. Murphy said he was bothered to see so many Catholics filling fundamentalist churches.
“I’m glad they’re going to church … but we want them back,” he said.
Mike Halloran, executive director of the Catholic Foundation, told The Sacramento Bee that nearly 60% of the money for the $380,000 campaign had been raised. The money will go to the commercials only.
The ads will run in the Sacramento market 1,200 times over the six weeks from Dec. 18 to Jan. 31. Officials hope they will encourage 100,000 Catholics to return to church.
Eight other dioceses are running “Catholics Come Home” ads. They feature Catholics talking about why they returned to the Church and what it means to them.
Though Catholics make up an estimated 23% of the U.S. population, only 33% of them attend Mass on a weekly basis.