Catholics Come Home leader hopes message can combat hostility

Tom Peterson, president of Catholics Come Home.
CNA photo

ROSWELL, Ga. (CNA) — The evangelization group Catholics Come Home says its “hopeful and faith-filled” messages can help combat rising hostility against U.S. Christians.

“It appears that the amount of hostility is increasing and the amount of anti-Christian sentiment is growing. At least, it’s getting more visibility,” the Georgia-based organization’s founder and president Tom Peterson told CNA Sept. 12.

“We praise God that Catholics Come Home has been a tool used by the Holy Spirit to put out good news, truth and hope for a world in desperate need of Christianity and of a savior in Jesus.”

The newly updated Survey of Religious Hostility in America, released in August 2012 by the Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute, found increasing animosity towards religion. It cited several incidents, such as a Manhattan hospital that forced a nurse to participate in a late-term abortion procedure despite her religious objections. It also noted other problems like public schools that prevent parents, teachers or students from speaking about their faith.

Petersen said Catholics should respond to such reports by remembering “Christ is our hope.”

“When we are persecuted as Christians, Christ in his Gospel teaches us to not seek revenge,” he said. “We need to commit to prayer. We need to pray for those who persecute us, and we need to reach out with love to spread messages like Catholics Come Home is doing to help a wounded world in great need of hope.”

Catholics Come Home ads have run in 33 dioceses over the last three years. The most recent campaign aired spots on all of the major television networks and cable in December and January, reaching 125 million viewers according to Nielsen ratings data.

“Christ commands us to spread the good news to the ends of the earth,” Peterson said. “We’re called to do that not only in our personal lives but also by using the modern media to spread the message of the new evangelization.”

Peterson said that the organization is developing three new ads. It plans to launch new campaigns in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, the first diocese outside the U.S. to have a Catholics Come Home campaign.

He said the campaign has seen results in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where Archbishop Robert J. Carlson credits the campaign with helping 37,000 people return to the Church or become Catholic.

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