The path back to Rome

Sean Ryan

This little red book of 132 pages is a gem. While telling the story of Tom Peterson, founder of the Catholics Come Home organisation, it also emphasises the duty of every baptised Catholic to use their talents to spread the Good News.

Peterson was a marketing and advertising guru, whose practice of his faith had slipped to the ‘take it for granted’ stage. Then, at the prompting of friends, he went on a retreat and there he received the inspiration to turn his life around.

Instead of prioritising work and acquisitions, he put the emphasis on faith and family, reaped the immediate benefits and decided to tell the world. As a result, two new media apostolates were born: VirtueMedia, dedicated to promoting the pro-life cause, and Catholics Come Home, dedicated to advancing the New Evangelisation, called for by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.


Within months of VirtueMedia airing its first commercials on local stations in the USA, many babies had been saved after their mothers called the toll-free number. When the commercials were aired on national stations, MTV and BET, within one month approximately 22,000 pregnant women responded, asking for help. As Peterson writes: “All those phone calls were evidence of God’s mercy at work in the world.”

Catholics Come Home is Peterson’s answer to Pope John Paul’s request to the lay faithful “to participate fully in their vocation to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the world, especially through the modern media”.

Founded in 1997, this apostolate has been a huge success in the United States. As Peterson describes it: “Once again, we saw the Lord guiding us. Led by the Holy Spirit, within the first few years after Catholics Come Home ran its first messages, over 350,000 souls returned to the Catholic faith, based on reports from partner dioceses.”

In the wake of the ads, many dioceses reported notable increases in Mass attendance, averaging 10% in most dioceses, rising as high as 18% in others. When parishes asked returnees, “Why did you come home?” the vast majority answered, “Because you invited me”.

With falling Mass attendances and declining faith in Ireland, this is one book that should be read and studied by all Catholics, from the hierarchy to the laity.


This title is also available directly from the website for $US20 (which includes postage) which comes to about €16.50.