Archdiocese of Toronto reaches out to lapsed Catholics

  • April 7, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - The archdiocese of Toronto is launching a new, multi-media outreach campaign for lapsed Catholics.

The public awareness campaign, launched this month, includes radio ads, a web site and an online video message from Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins.

On the web site , Collins talks about the work of Catholics in the city, including teaching at 500 schools and caring for the sick.
“We're mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends,” Collins said in a YouTube posting. “If you've been away from the church or would like to learn more, there's a place for you.”

There are close to two million Catholics in the Greater Toronto Area, with 225 parishes where Mass is celebrated in more than 30 languages every week.

Neil MacCarthy, the archdiocese's communications director, said the initiative comes at a timely period during Holy Week because there is a focus, even in the secular media, on the Easter season.

“We know there are many Catholics who wish to return to church but don't know where exactly to start. Most importantly, we want these people to know they're welcome now and always,” MacCarthy said.

“These resources give visitors a chance to dip their foot in the water before they consider diving back into full, active participation in the church,” he said in a statement.
 The campaign also allows non-Catholics in the city “to gain a better appreciation of the extensive work the Catholic Church undertakes to strengthen our entire community,” MacCarthy added.

Just one day after the campaign's launch, the archdiocese's web site recorded its second biggest day of user traffic this year, second only to Ash Wednesday.

The number of hits was up to 52,000 on April 6 compared to a daily average of 32,000 this year. MacCarthy said the office has also received several calls and e-mails expressing support for the campaign.

The initiative cost less than $5,000 and was mostly produced within the archdiocese, with some help from Salt+Light Television.

This year, more than 1,000 adults, graduates of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults program, were to be welcomed into the Catholic Church during Easter Vigil Masses on April 11.

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