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Our diocese has almost 1 million Catholics, but only 136,000 attend weekly Mass. Where are the other 850,000 Catholics?
In our parish alone, we have 1700 registered families, around 4000 individuals, but our last mass count showed that only an average of 950 attend mass. Where are the other 3,000?
The truth is that many are not attending church at all, and some are even attending fundamentalist churches.
Through the wisdom of our bishop, there is something exceptional that is about to occur throughout our diocese. Something with such power, that it is going to bring strayed and fallen away Catholics back to our church by the thousands.
The Diocese of Sacramento has committed to begin airing thousands of prime-time TV commercials in English and Spanish on networks and cable TV stations inviting Catholics to return to the Catholic Church.
The advertising campaign called “Catholics Come Home” will take place during Advent and includes 3 different commercials that will air more than 2,900 times in the Chico-Redding media markets.
Did you know that the average American watches 5 hours of TV per day? And with the number of ads planned, airing from December 18th through January 31st the AVERAGE person in the Redding area will see these ads 54 times.
Last year, a diocese similar in size to ours, the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, which has 1.1 million Catholics, tested these Ads for 3 weeks during Lent, and they experienced 92,000 Catholics returning to The Church.
Yes, you heard me correctly, 92,000 fallen away Catholics returned.
The studies show that from this campaign, 90% of those returning to the church “just show up,” no calls, no questions, they are just back at church sitting in the pews.
So what is your part in all of this?
I can think of 2 ways that you can help.
FIRST: Be aware that these commercials are going to hit the public, are going to hit the fallen away Catholics when they don’t expect it. I ask that you pray God speaks to their hearts and that they follow God’s invitation to return home.
SECOND: Be aware that 100’s of fallen away Catholics will be returning to our parish. Look out for them, be aware of just how welcoming, inviting, and loving we can be to them.
I am so excited about this opportunity for evangelizing so many of our separated brothers and sisters and our inviting their return back to the church.
Let us never forget, that we have been directed by Jesus to evangelize the world by spreading the good news, the message of repentance, forgiveness, hope, and everlasting life.
I thank you for your prayers, your help, and the love you are going to show to these ever so special individuals and families.
Let us pray for them…
Dear Lord, may our hearts and minds be nourished by your sustaining love,
may our words and actions be guided by your ever present grace,
That all who seek to know you; encounter you here,
That all who seek to serve you; be welcomed to the vineyard
That all who seek to love you; know that they are loved.
That all who seek to return to their Catholic faith may be welcomed and received.