“COME and Celebrate Christmas”, a campaign to reach the more than 500,000 people who identify as Catholics in Brisbane archdiocese but who do not have close contact with the Church, has been launched in the local media.
Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, in a series of half-page advertisements in print media, is inviting all Catholics to take part in Christmas celebrations in their local churches.
The campaign is the prelude to a major outreach initiative being launched as part of the 150th anniversary of the archdiocese in 2009.
The archbishop also outlined the strategy in his recent 2007 Advent pastoral letter published in The Catholic Leader on December 2 and which is now on the archdiocesan website.
Archbishop Bathersby has also sent letters to individual parishes outlining a range of initiatives to welcome non-practising Catholics at Christmas, as well as including plans for a 2008 pilot scheme in 20 parishes.
This would pave the way for complete parish involvement in 2009.
In the letter, Archbishop Bathersby asks all priests and parishioners to make a particular effort to extend a personal welcome to those who respond to the invitation to join Christmas celebrations.
The letter says that the archdiocese will develop a page to include Mass times and church locations on the archdiocesan website. This address will be included in the newspaper advertisements.
The archbishop also invites any parish that wishes to be a “pathfinder for the wider initiative” to contact his office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on (07) 3131 5500.
The “Come and Celebrate Christmas” advertisements will appear in the print media on Saturday, December 22 and also in newspapers this coming week.