Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By David Hartline

7/9/2008 (6 years ago)

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

Tom Peterson, founder of Catholicscomehome.org, has found television and the Internet to be just the place to reach out to those wishing to come back to the Church.

Highlights

By David Hartline

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

7/9/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in U.S.


PHOENIX, Arizona (Zenit) - For many who have left the Catholic Church, there is often a great desire to come home.

However, fear and guilt often lead many to put off the gnawing decision to return to the Church. Not knowing where to turn, many who were once faithful feel lost and ashamed.

Tom Peterson, founder of Catholicscomehome.org, has found television and the Internet to be just the place to reach out to those wishing to come back to the Church.

Earlier this year Peterson tested his methods and ideas using an advertising campaign geared toward the 3.5 million who live in the Diocese of Phoenix.

More than 6,000 people inquired and came back to the Church via the Catholicscomehome.org Web site, and many more came back to Catholicism by reporting directly to a parish near their home. One priest reported that 16 people came to him for confession after they saw the television ad.

“One of the biggest surprises for us was the amount of inquiries from those who are not Catholic," said Peterson.

"About one quarter of those expressing an interest in the Catholic Church are from those who have seen our commercials or visited our Web site and want to better understand the Catholic Church, or have actually made the decision to become Catholic.”

Reasons

When sorting out what caused many to leave the Church, Peterson said “about 90% of those who left the Church can’t give a good reason."

He also explained that many can't express why they want to come back. Many simply say they felt something was missing.

"They often want to come home but don’t know how. They feel uncomfortable about coming back and don’t know what to do -- when to sit and when to stand, and what to pray. We try to ease those fears and remind them of God’s desire to see them come home,” the director said.

Once they come back to Church, he added, they feel renewed. “They experience the Eucharist again and the power of confession. They feel their hunger for the truth has been met and a feeling of joy overcomes them."

When asked why he thought his brief television commercials had such an impact, Peterson said: “Our commercials are a basic reminder of who we are, the Church Jesus founded, the Church that Jesus entrusted to Peter and every pope who followed him.

"We are the Church that gave the world the Bible. When we quickly explain these facts and use the Bible to do it, people really respond. They admit that either they never really knew this or simply forget."

Testimonies

Peterson said he is often greeted with surprise as to how well Catholicscomehome.org has done. Several testimonies sent to his site show the impact it has had on viewers.

After seeing the commercials on Phoenix television, a visitor named Michael wrote, “It is highly effective and so very much needed at this time.”

Another from an Angela said, “I’ve been away from the Church for over 35 years and over the past 20 years I have become agnostic. [...] For me to actually look this site up from a TV ad says a lot.”

For some the commercials brought a great sense of joy. David wrote, “I wanted to commend you on the commercial. Wow. That was really well done. I’m so proud to be Catholic!”

Even non-Catholics wrote into the Catholicscomehome.org Web site to praise their efforts. Jean said, “I am not Catholic, but I think your commercials are extremely well done, tasteful and persuading.”

Still another e-mailer, Deborah, was so impressed that she wrote, “I am interested in the Catholic Church. What do I have to do to convert?”

Beginning

The project has even caught the attention of the Holy See. Recently, Peterson said, he discussed the initiative with Cardinal John Foley, prefect of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, and Archbishop Claudio Celli, prefect of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

While the results have surpassed his expectations, Peterson explains that this is only just the beginning. The group has plans to launch similar campaigns this winter in St. Louis, Lincoln, Colorado Springs, Sacramento, Atlanta and Fargo.

“We are ramping up to 2010," he added, "when we hope to start a national advertising campaign starting with the 2010 Super Bowl."

Peterson takes no credit for his success. He simply says: “The world needs Jesus. We need to remind others how much they are loved by Jesus and needed by our Church family.”

--- --- ---

On the Net:

Catholics Come Home: www.catholicscomehome.org



Comments


More U.S.

'We are coming for you!' American Islamic jihadist suicide bomber gleefully shouts to Americans on chilling final video Watch

Image of American terrorist Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha smiled and talked about dying and going to paradise.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new video shows an American smiling as he prepares to kill himself and dozens of others in a suicide bombing. In the video, made just before his death, Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha, 22, ripped, chewed, and burned his American passport before climbing into an ... continue reading


Malinformed much? Ninety percent of your information now comes from just 6 media sources Watch

Image of Small media outlets are consumed by the large, limiting the variety of expression.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Have you ever tried to describe something, but lacked the vocabulary to do it? This is the concept behind Newspeak, a fictional language in George Orwell's 1984. Orwell proposed that by limiting expression, thought itself could be limited. Today, as media companies ... continue reading


Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage struck down Watch

Image of The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a dramatic reversal of a voter-based 2006 decision, U.S. appeals court this week struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, the latest in a string of court rulings to back gay marriage. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit ... continue reading


Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter