More than 400 people have reconnected with their Catholic faith, following a unique two-month advertising blitz across south east Queensland featuring cricket legend, Matthew Hayden.
During February and March, Evangelisation Brisbane (EB) targeted radio and newspapers, shopping centres advertising spaces and billboards, with the former test batsman and other featured churchgoers, inviting baptised Catholics across the Brisbane Archdiocese to find out more about what it means to be baptised.
Churches also hung fence banners and displayed posters promoting the campaign, aptly named “Call to all Catholics”, after recent census figures showed only about eight to 10 per cent of more than 700,000 people across the Brisbane archdiocese who identify as Catholic, actually come to Mass.
EB claimed two months of advertising aimed at encouraging Catholics back to church reached more than a million south east Queenslanders, while “more than 400 people personally responded to the call, and many more engaged on social media”.
Those who responded personally received a copy of ‘More with Jesus’, a 30-day faith exploration resource that explains what it means to be baptised.
The EB team assisted each person who responded, noting that for some respondents “‘More with Jesus’ was a refresher in their faith, solidifying what they already knew to be true, while for others, it was the beginning of finding their faith again and reconnecting with God.”
As one respondent noted: “I was trying to find a way back to the Catholic Church after many years of being away. I had attempted several times over the years to return to my faith but always seemed to hit a brick wall, so I gave up… When I noticed the recent Matthew Hayden banners outside some Catholic churches, it immediately caught my eye and I felt that this just might be a way of finding another way. This is how I ended up enrolling for ‘More with Jesus’ as I hoped this may help me find a way back to the Church… I’ve enjoyed the course and it has challenged me and rewarded me equally.”
For Catholics in the pews, EB said the advertising campaign “meant a new energy in the Church and pride in being Catholic, with parishioners thinking creatively about how they could connect with those in their area who identified as Catholic but didn’t regularly attend Mass.”
In Rochedale parish, efforts culminated in a street gathering, with residents bringing a plate of food to share.
Yeronga Parish initiated a letterbox drop reaching out to residents.
Springfield Parish used an Easter weekend video as a springboard to invite visitors to their Alpha program.
“With COVID-19 impacting Mass attendance, the Call to all Catholics initiative became a timely reminder that God has called us all to more,” EB communications manager Michaela Pang said.
“To some, it was a call to reconnect with Him. To others, it was an invitation to go deeper. And to others still, it was a reminder to use our sphere of influence to spread the Good News.”
Building on this unique evangelisation advertising outreach across south east Queensland, Evangelisation Brisbane intends to use its campaign banners and distribute copies of ‘More with Jesus’ at Christmas, and to run another advertising campaign in a few years’ time.
By Mark Bowling. Reproduced with permission from The Catholic Leader, the news publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.