Catholics Come Home

Lenten TV ads lead to 7.4 percent increase in Mass attendance in the Diocese

cch_logoGREEN BAY, Wis. (Oct. 21, 2010) -- Increases in Mass attendance and the willingness of Catholics to talk about matters of faith were among positive outcomes from a series of TV ads the Diocese of Green Bay aired for six weeks last February and March.

Parish leaders also reported a more welcoming environment, the launch of Web sites, and a desire to continue what was started, including another media campaign.

The Diocese measured the success of the Lent 2010 Catholics Come Home campaign based on Sunday Mass attendance counts, online and telephone surveys, and conversations with parish leaders, said Dr. Kristina DeNeve, diocesan director of Spirituality and Evangelization and coordinator of Catholics Come Home.

Mass attendance up

A Mass attendance census, taken on two weekends in over 150 area parishes last April, found a 7.4 percent increase compared to an October 2009 census. While First Communions in 44 percent of the parishes are partially responsible for the increased attendance, it’s important to remember that less active Catholics, who are most likely to respond to TV commercials, are the same folks who are most likely to join family and friends for a First Communion celebration, DeNeve said.

Online survey

The online survey was completed by 354 people -- 40 priests/parish directors, 162 parishioners, and 152 parish staff members -- representing all parish sizes and geographic regions. Findings include:
  • more than 95 percent said Catholics Come Home had a positive affect on their lives
  • 55 percent said they talked more about matters of faith in public places
  • 57 percent talked more with family and friends about matters of faith
  • 44 percent saw the commercials 11 to 30 times and 10 percent saw them even more
  • 53 percent of pastors and parish directors reported increased reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation; 65 percent saw increased Mass attendance and 33 percent reported the parish received more phone calls and/or requests for membership information.

Gratitude dinners

At dinners held throughout the Diocese, where attendees discussed their experiences and what they would do differently, participants reported the following:
  • Catholics Come Home brought parishioners together, fostered awareness and pride in the faith, enhanced welcoming, and involved the entire parish. Attendees said nearly all parishioners told them the commercials were uplifting, diverse, and well liked.
  • More should be done to build a warm and welcoming parish, including reaching out and inviting people to return and to be more involved in their faith, and listening to nonmembers.
  • Continue media coverage, including repeating the commercials, sponsoring billboards, and providing journalists with positive stories about the Church.
  • Provide parishes with resources and encouragement to continue the momentum.

Random calls to parishes

Parishes were grouped by size based on average Sunday Mass attendance (under 300, 300-750 and more than 750) and then random calls were made to 20 percent of parishes in each group to discuss their experiences and the impact of Catholics Come Home. The random calls confirmed the other findings and also found:
  • Smallest parishes: Helped them become more open, receptive, welcoming, and less “territorial,” and provided incentive to add more greeters or launch a Web site.
  • Medium-sized parishes: Many of these parishes recently merged, so it helped in the healing process and to unify the community.
  • Largest parishes: Paid staff felt more empowered to evangelize as part of their daily work and to interact in a more holistic way with people seeking services.

Pointing to the future, DeNeve urged parishes to sponsor outreach programs off parish grounds for inactive Catholics or those who do not attend Mass regularly. National studies of Catholics and Protestants have found that such outreach programs should be designed for 6-12 people and should take place within people’s homes, a restaurant, coffee shop, or bar and grill.

More information

Contact: Dcn. Ray DuBois
Director of Communications
Phone: (920) 272-8213 or 1-877-500-3580, ext 8213
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Contact: Dr. Kristina M. DeNeve
Director of Spirituality and Evangelization
Phone: (920) 272-8304 or 1-877-500-3580, ext 8304
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .