The big Catholics Come Home national ad campaign officially launched today and is scheduled to run through Jan. 8, airing more than 400 times and reaching 250 million potential viewers.
Tom Peterson, the founder and president of the Catholics Come Home organization, which was created with the purpose of bringing former Catholics back to the fold, recently spoke with The Christian Post about the campaign. He revealed that never before has the Catholic Church produced such an ambitious and far-reaching ad campaign, and that the time was right to use modern media to its full capacity to “spread the Good News and answer Jesus’ call.”
Peterson shared that more than 35,000 families helped raise $3.5 million for the ads, which will air on many of the big networks during both daytime and prime-time shows, as well as sports games and events. He explained that the goal was to reach as many people as possible, because now especially during the hard economic times people were “down on their knees” and searching for answers.
There is both a short one-minute version of the ad, as well as an extended two-minute one, which describes the vast diversity in the Catholic Church – “We are made up of every race, young and old, rich and poor, sinners and saints,” it says. The ad also claims that the church is the largest charitable organization on the planet, and reveals that it has built hospitals, orphanages and schools.
The video continues by describing how the Catholic Church was guided by the Holy Spirit to compile the Bible, and how it has been grounded in sacred Scripture and tradition for over 2,000 years. The ad includes a quote by Jesus, who said to Peter (the first pope, according to Roman Catholic doctrine) : “You are rock, and on this rock I will build the Church.” The narrator goes on to express how the Church has always been there to provide guidance “in a hurt and confusing world.”
Peterson shared that on the main page of the official website of the campaign, there is an article titled “The Truth Behind Our TV Commercials,” which offers a point-by-point breakdown of every claim made in the video, and links to essays, statistics and encyclopedias that back each one up.
The ad concludes by urging those that have been away from the church to come back and give it another try, and ends with the message: “Ours is one family united in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We are Catholic. Welcome home.”
The website has comprehensive information on the Catholic faith, including the beliefs and history of the church, its practices, and its stance and advice on various worldly issues, including marriage and divorce, confession, death and grieving. It also features video testimonials of people sharing their experience of why they have joined or come back to the fold, from the perspective of former atheists, believers of other faiths and denominations, and those who have strayed from the church.
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a nonprofit research center affiliated with Georgetown University that often coducts studies related to the Catholic Church reports that in 2011, there were 64.5 million Americans listed in The Official Catholic Directory; 77.7 million self-identified as Catholic according to survey results.
Watch the full-length video of the "Catholics Come Home" campaign below: