David Thorp, local coordinator of the Catholics Come Home program, speaks at a service held Aug. 31 to pray for the success of efforts to bring lapsed Catholics back to active participation in the Church. Pilot photo/Jim Lockwood
BRAINTREE -- About 50 local Catholics gathered Aug. 31 to pray for the success of evangelizing Catholics who have strayed from the Church as part of the Catholics Come Home initiative, a nationwide effort recently adopted by the Archdiocese of Boston.
The service at the archdiocese's Pastoral Center was led by David Thorp, who is spearheading the Catholics Come Home effort in Boston.
"It's a way to say we need to be praying in a public way," Thorp said.
The service consisted of Christian hymns, Scripture readings, an excerpt from Allesandro Manzoni's "The Betrothed," and a reflection offered by Thorp.
Thorp reminded the crowd of the need to be ambassadors of the Catholic faith.
"We have to go together to shine for those who feel tossed on seas that may destroy them, to guide them to a harbor that is safe," he said.
Following the service, Thorp said that through the initiative, practicing Catholics could extend invitations to friends, family, and acquaintances who have been away from the Church to return to the practice of the faith.
The Catholics Come Home effort in the archdiocese would also include television commercials, Thorp said.
"People will begin to see it and hear it in a variety of ways," he said.
The archdiocese is launching Catholics Come Home at a time when 17 percent of Boston-area Catholics attend Mass weekly.
"There are many people who have drifted," Thorp said. Skipping Mass "one Sunday led to five Sundays led to others."
"This outreach will probably touch those folks the most," he added.
Yet, Thorp also acknowledges the effort may not be effective with people who are at odds with the Church doctrinally.
Beverly Good, a pastoral associate in Lexington, is hopeful the program will succeed.
"The time is right for people to be invited to take another look," she said.