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By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/26/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I just received some more good news from Tom Peterson about the newest missionary work of Catholics Come Home

I just received some good news from Tom Peterson about the newest missionary work of "Catholics Come Home". They are following Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico and Cuba. While many are "questioning" this papal journey, Tom recognizes that this Pope, like his beloved predecessor, Blessed John Paul, is a missionary Pope. He understands that, like Jesus Christ, His Vicar should travel anywhere He has been invited to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel. After all, Pope Benedict XVI has made the "New Evangelization" the foundation of his Pontificate.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/26/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Catholics Come Home, New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI, Tom Peterson, Mission, missionary, apologetics, Pope Benedict XVI, Blessed John Paul II, St Jose Maria Escriva, Eduardo Verástegui, CatolicosRegresen.org, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Today, I spent a good amount of time with a young man with whom I have shared the ancient but ever new Catholic Christian faith for several years. Raised a Catholic, he fell away from the practice of the Catholic faith in his teenage years. He never received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

He will be confirmed the week after Easter by my dear friend, our parish priest, Fr Brian Rafferty. It will happen on the same day I have the privilege of Baptizing the first born son of this man and his wife. He specifically requested the date so that every year his son remembers his Baptism he will also remember the day his father made public his full embrace of the ancient but ever new Catholic Christian faith as an adult. 

I first met this man several years ago when I helped to prepare he and the wonderful woman who is now his now wife, for Christian marriage. I knew back then that he was a man who hungered for the fullness of the Christian faith. I also knew that the Holy Spirit was at work in him and would bring him home. It was only a matter of time.
 
I learned long ago, we can't "convince" people to come home to the Church - or "argue"other Christians into becoming Catholic. Only the Holy Spirit can lead them on this journey to the fullness of truth. We are simply roadsigns along the way.We need to be prepared to "give a reason for the hope that is in us." (1 Peter 3:15)  

When this man and I first crossed paths, he was a participant in a "non-denominational" church here locally. However, like many "former" Catholics, he was not at home. In a naturally supernatural way I simply offered him the bread of life which I have had the privilege of receiving over all these years since I came home to the Catholic Church. His questions were all sincere and his genuine hunger did the work. It was a joy for me to simply be a roadsign and to offer him the fullness of Christianity found within the Catholic Church. 

I am a re-vert to the Catholic Church. I returned to the faith of my childhood after a search for truth as a young man. That search led me home to the fullness of truth which subsists within the Church into which I was baptized as a child. As the years have passed my love for the Lord continues to grow. My greatest joy in life is to help others, like the young man I mentioned above, to find Him and the fullness of His life lived within the Catholic Church. Over these years I have come to understand my own vocation as living in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world.

I am an evangelizer at heart. My service as a Deacon has been deeply involved in the New Evangelization. Perhaps because I am a re-vert, I have often had the joy of sharing the Catholic faith with many "former" or "fallen away" Catholics. Helping them find their way home is one of my greatest joys. I have also had the joy of helping Christians from other communities come into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

I am certainly not alone in experiencing the joy of participating in the New Evangelization. One of its greatest advocates is a very gifted man named Tom Peterson. I met Tom several years ago at a Catholic Leadership Conference. I use to attend the conference regularly when it was chaired by Deal Hudson. I had seen my first "Catholics Come Home" commercial months earlier and became immediately convinced that the work of this non-profit media apostolate was going to become one of the most important resources for the New Evangelization in my lifetime.

Anyone reading this article who has not yet seen a "Catholics Come Home" commercial should go to their outstanding interactive web site by clicking here. Watch these beautifully produced commercials! Read about this fruitful New Evangelization Apostolate. Be encouraged in your own faith and find the courage to give it away to others. Learn to feel good again about being a Catholic Christian. We are living in a new missionary age and we are the missionaries.

I just received some good news from Tom Peterson about the newest missionary work of "Catholics Come Home". They are following Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico and Cuba. While many are "questioning" this papal journey, Tom recognizes that this Pope, like his beloved predecessor, Blessed John Paul, is a missionary Pope. He understands that, like Jesus Christ, His Vicar should travel anywhere He has been invited to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel. After all, Pope Benedict XVI has made the "New Evangelization" the foundation of his Pontificate.

Tom Peterson has also made the New Evangelization his Life's mission. He is a man who lives to share the good news of the Christian life as found in its fullness within the Catholic Church. Tom, who refers to himself as an "advertising guy...simple and not a scholar," has built "Catholics Come Home" into an evangelization effort which is unmatched in the Catholic Church today.

Like the little boy with the loaves and the fish in the Gospel account of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish (John 6), Tom Peterson has offered what he had and the miracle continues through the hands of Jesus Christ. This "advertising guy" is utilizing the best quality offered by the integrated media of our age to reach real people with the real hope they need in an age that has lost its soul.

I am 57 years old, approaching my sixties. I love this time of my life. I am far from "retirement". In fact, I do not believe in such a concept any longer. How can I when an 85 year old holy apostle like Pope Benedict XVI keeps traversing the globe to share the good news! I also think I am finally getting to the point in my life where I might have something worth sharing. That "something" is "Some One", named Jesus Christ.He is found in His fullness in the Church He founded.

However, in my matured and suitably tempered zeal for ministry, I do not "join" many Boards these days. I made an exception when Tom Peterson invited me to join the Theological Advisory Board of Catholics Come Home. It is nothing short of extraordinary, in both its fruit and in its quality.

I look for those works, ministries and apostolates which, in imitation of the Lord Himself, "do all things well" (Mk 7:37). That passage was one of the favorites of one of the heroes of the Church who has greatly influenced my life, St. Jose maria Escriva. He, and Blessed John Paul II, are my guiding lights as I seek to spend my remaining years fruitfully for the Lord and His Holy Church.

Blessed John Paul wrote in "The Mission of the Redeemer" (#3), "God is opening before the Church the horizons of a humanity more fully prepared for the sowing of the Gospel. I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization." I agree. I can commend "Catholics Come Home" as a wonderful example of that New Evangelization.

Here is a recent Press Release I received today, after meeting with my friend. It shares their newest effort in Mexico and Cuba. They are following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI, and in the footsteps of the Lord whom we all follow. After all, He still continues His Mission through His Body, the Church, of which we are members:

*****

Atlanta (Roswell), GA, March 22, 2012-Pope Benedict XVI travels to Mexico and Cuba, from March 23-28, a trip based on the Pope's conviction that "this is a precious time to evangelize" in Latin America and the Caribbean. In his homily during the December Mass which honored Our Lady of Guadalupe and celebrated Latin American and Caribbean independence, the Pope called for the New Evangelization to reach these countries and beyond.

Catholics Come Home® and its Spanish language television evangomercials have also just arrived in Mexico, answering the Holy Father's call for the New Evangelization. Catholic evangelization messages are appearing on TV screens in Mexico, inviting viewers to "come home" to the Catholic Church and to visit the CatolicosRegresen.org website to learn more.   This month alone, CatolicosRegresen.org has been airing various commercials from their Spanish language portfolio, about one hundred times in Mexico, and more airings are planned for the near future.
 
The Catholic evangelization commercials direct viewers to the CatolicosRegresen.org website, which features a welcoming message from Eduardo Verástegui, a popular Mexican actor, producer, and star of the movie Bella.  Verástegui shares his personal testimony (English / Spanish) of his journey back to his Catholic faith, after many years outside the Church pursuing a life of  "fame and material success". The website CatolicosRegresen.org provides catechetical information and a parish finder for those in Mexico, the United States, and elsewhere.

Univision's popular television program Primer Impacto (March 22, 2012 - 5:30 to 6:00 pm EST) features Verástegui sharing his insights on the upcoming Papal visit to Mexico and his role in helping Catholics Come Home® to spread the messages of CatolicosRegresen.org and the New Evangelization in his native country of Mexico.  Now a resident of Los Angeles, Verástegui shares his conversion story in English on the Catholics Come Home® website as well.

During the recent Christmas season, most Americans witnessed a first in television and Church history: the national, prime-time network debut of empowering bilingual Catholic
evangelization messages in English and Spanish, from Catholics Come Home®.  Spots feature the history, spirituality, and accomplishments of the Catholic Church.

These inspiring evangomercials were broadcast 546 times from December 12, 2011 to January 13, 2012, reaching viewers across the entire United States and airing in every diocese, on popular television networks including NBC, CBS, Univision, and numerous national cable networks.  Many ads aired in prime-time.  Nielsen data indicates that as many as 125 million viewers in the United States were exposed to the ads, an average of 9.7 times each. 

Catholics Come Home® has also launched successful evangelization initiatives in 33 US dioceses and archdioceses, from Seattle to Chicago and Boston to Phoenix, helping to increase Mass attendance in many dioceses an average of 10%.  In dioceses with high Hispanic populations (Sacramento, Phoenix, Corpus Christi, etc.), Mass attendance has increased as much as 17.7% following the airing of Catholics Come Home® bilingual campaigns.

Catholics Come Home® continues to work in partnership with various dioceses to air local TV evangelization media campaigns during the seasons of Advent and Lent.  Future plans for the apostolate include developing and airing new commercials in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and internationally.

To receive a copy of the ad for media broadcast or to schedule an interview with Tom Peterson, President and Founder of Catholics Come Home®, please contact Yvonne Marchese, Executive Director, at 678-585-7886 x101, or by e-mail to yvonne@catholicscomehome.org.  For interviews in Spanish, contact Veronica Esquivia-Lee, at 678-585-7886 x104, or by e-mail, veronica@catholicscomehome.org.

---


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