METUCHEN, NEW JERSEY – This Lent, as people drive through the Diocese of Metuchen in the US, it is likely they will see a billboard with this invitation, Lent: A Good Time to Come Home.

Through a pilot programme in five parishes, the diocese is inviting non-practising Catholics back to the Church and back to a relationship with God by posting billboards and handing out invitations door to door.

Titled Inviting All Catholics Home, Ms Jodie D’Angiolillo, director of the diocesan Office of Evangelisation, said Lent “was chosen for the programme because it is traditionally a time of returning and conversion; it is also an ideal time in terms of the liturgical cycle”.

The diocese’s development of the programme was inspired by www.catholicscomehome.org, a non-profit organisation that airs TV commercials in different dioceses around the country either during Advent or Lent, Ms D’Angiolillo said.

The programme’s focus is a weekly parish mission scheduled to begin on the week of March 14.
To ensure its success, Ms D’Angiolillo said members of all five parishes were making every effort to invite people to attend, with volunteers distributing invitations in their respective communities.

“If you ask the average Catholic if they know someone who is not practising their faith, invariably the answer is ‘yes.’ So we know that with this programme, outreach is very important,” she told The Catholic Spirit, Metuchen’s diocesan newspaper.

Parishioners receive invitation cards to pass on to “family members, co-workers, neighbours, as well as others”, Ms D’Angiolillo said.

She noted that the mission event “is not threatening” and would not require people “to have to sit down in small groups and share their personal insights. The mission consists of a presentation followed by question-and-answers with some fellowship”.

Parishes also were using car magnets, lawn signs and door hangers as other types of invitations.

The programme has a website (www.invitingallcatholicshome.com) that explains the outreach. n CNS

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