Three-year Catholic outreach initiative will include Christmas pilot campaign

A three-year outreach campaign is being led by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, including a pilot campaign to get people back into the pews for Christmas.

Christmas campaign: to get people back into the pews
Christmas campaign: to get people back into the pews

As revealed on The Guardian's website yesterday, the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales launched the campaign in York at the weekend, with ‘Crossing the Threshold’, a national tour of talks and workshops to help clergy and parishioners re-evangelise friends and family.

A spokeswoman for the Church also revealed to PRWeek that it is launching a Christmas pilot initiative aimed at speaking directly to those who are non-church-goers, named ‘Come Home For Christmas’.

The Church believes that there are one million mass-goers in England and Wales, while five million have been baptised. The target audience is the remaining four million, which the Church hopes will join the Church community in some way.

The Christmas campaign will include three different sets of resources that can be used by parishes to reach out to lapsed Catholics, including posters.

The initiative is being led by Bishop Kiearn Conry of Arundel and Brighton Diocese, who is the chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis.

Conry said: ‘I would like to encourage every parish within easy travelling distance to send at least one representative to the tour day closest to them, with the initial focus the day in York.’

‘Crossing the Threshold’ is aimed at getting Catholics who attend mass to support them to reach out to and minister to non-churchgoing Catholics.

Other elements of the campaign will include the publication of a step-by-step manual in 2013, which every church in the country can use to help them to ‘welcome and reach out to these groups of people’.

An external agency is not being used. The initiative is being co-ordinated on behalf of the Department by the Bishops’ Home Mission Desk.

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