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Reinvigorating Lapsed Catholics


Our Lady of the Way, Petrie Parish
Petrie, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Archdiocese of Brisbane

More Info

For more information, email Jan Heath.

Tested program takes the initiative in bringing distant Catholics back to the Church.

"The Catholics Returning Home program provides a very practical strategy to welcome Catholics back to full and active participation in the life of their local faith communities. In the spirit of Jesus the Good Shepherd, we need to be proactive as a Church in inviting them to return.... My desire is that every parish community would have a welcoming heart for returning Catholics and train a team who can run this proven USA program which has already been tested in many parishes here in the Brisbane Archdiocese with marvelous results." -John Bathersby, Archbishop of Brisbane

The need it meets

This program is a simple and effective way to bring passive and estranged Catholics (like those who are part of the Christmas and Easter influx) back into a conscious, active living out of their faith.

Where it came from

Catholics Returning Home (CRH) Program was written and developed by Sally Mews over the course of the past twenty years. Sally, a wife, mother, tax consultant and herself a returning Catholic has a heart to help other Catholics rediscover the riches of the Catholic tradition. She has tested and modified this program in her own Chicago parish and many other parishes over two decades and now spends much of her time introducing it to other dioceses.

In August 2002, Sally trained Jan Heath and Kathy Robbie from Petrie Catholic Community in Brisbane and gave them her blessing to promote and introduce this program throughout Australia and the Oceania region. Jan and Kathy are available to assist parishes in conducting this proven program and in training team members.

How it works

The results

Key elements

  • A small team of two or three compassionate, non-judgmental people can run this program.
  • Those who have been returning Catholics themselves or have experienced the marriage annulment process are often ideally suited to this ministry.
  • The book "Inviting Catholics Home" by Sally Mews and a supporting team training video/DVD and resource kit provide all the necessary input for this program.

How to implement it

Practical tips to help get started in the Catholics Returning Home program:

  • Visit
  • Read "Inviting Catholics Home: A Parish Program," by Sally Mews (Liguori, 2002)
  • Get the support of your parish priest and parish leadership team.
  • Purchase and become familiar with the Team Training Video /DVD and Resource Kit.
  • Recruit team leaders (note needed qualities above).
  • Organize a training session for team members (recommend one five-hour session, e.g. Sat. 9am-2pm).
  • Plan the best times to offer the program in your parish.
  • Invite parish support through prayer, practical support and above all a welcoming attitude and smile.
  • Begin promoting the program six weeks before the course begins - utilize a variety of media.
  • Have a reliable contact person who can respond gently and quickly to tentative inquiries.

Very Rev. Peter McCartin PP is pastor of Our Lady of the Way, Petrie Parish.

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