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.

Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


Guest Commentary by Ken Blackwell: Houston's Mayor is Endangering Civil Rights

Image of Ken Blackwell

By Ken Blackwell

In Houston, Texas, we have seen a bizarre twist on traditional Civil Rights play out. The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, has been waging an uncivil war on people who oppose the far-reaching homosexual rights ordinance she powered through the City Council. That ... continue reading


Suspected Indiana serial killer foiled by text messages Watch

Image of Darren Deon Vann is suspected in the death of a woman in Hammond - and possibly six more in neighboring Gary, possibly even more.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Darren Deon Vann told Indiana Police he "messed up" and expressed surprise that he was found so quickly, in the biggest understatement in recent memory. Vann is suspected in the death of a woman in Hammond - and possibly six more in neighboring Gary, possibly ... continue reading


United States developing quick-strike team to deal with Ebola Watch

Image of The U.S. Ebola strike team will include five doctors, 20 nurses and five trainers, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In response to the crisis in Dallas, the United States is developing a 30-person "quick-strike team" in order to attend to the needs of Ebola patients within the U.S. The team will be under orders to deploy within 72 hours at any time over the next month. The ... continue reading


After 21 days, the family of Thomas Eric Duncan are Ebola free Watch

Image of Thomas Eric Duncan's family, including his fiancee and her son and nephews, are nearing the end of their 21 day quarantine. So far, none of the four have developed Ebola like symptoms.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fiancee of Thomas Eric Duncan-the first man diagnosed with Ebola in the United States-is nearing the end of a 21 day quarantine, and she and her son and two nephews are grateful that this period is coming to an end. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - If ... continue reading


Supreme Court backs Texas' war on voter fraud Watch

Image of The U.S. Supreme Court has backed a 2013 Texas law that requires voters to show ID before they submit a vote.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Supreme Court has given Texas the go ahead for a law that requires voters in the state to show certain forms of identification before they are able to cast a ballot. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The October 18 decision came from a majority of ... continue reading


Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Synod on the Family: Duc in Altum

Image of Lorenzo Lotto's depiction of the Holy Family's rest on the flight into Egypt.

By Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Christians today in most parts of the world find themselves in a world much like the one inhabited by the first Christians - rampant sexual license, abortion, contraception, family break-down.  Those early Christians took a counter-cultural stance, echoing ... continue reading


(Video) Nina Pham's incredible goodbye will bring you to tears Watch

Image of Supporters of Nina Pham, the nurse who was infected with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has released a video which shows the goodbye between Ebola-patient Nina Pham and her doctor, as she leaves Dallas for treatment in Maryland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 26-year-old nurse was infected with Ebola after ... continue reading


(Video) South Carolina's shocking SHARKNADO! Watch

Image of A rare shark feeding frenzy was caught on video in North Carolina, as hundreds of sharks attacked a school of Blue Fish.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing video has appeared on YouTube which shows 100 of sharks engaged in a feeding frenzy just feet from the shore in Cape Lookout, North Carolina. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The bizarre video was taken on October 9, but was not made public until ... continue reading


Fed takes in record of over $3 trillion in taxes Watch

Image of A Treasury Department report has revealed that the U.S. government has taken in a record amount of tax revenue for the 2014 fiscal year, at over $3 trillion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest Monthly Treasury Statement has showed that inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues and tax revenues have reached their highest point even as of the 2014 fiscal year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The inflation-adjusted tax revenue reached ... 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, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... 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