Here’s a key point from Mark Gray’s post (which I linked to in my earlier post):
Did Catholics Come Home bring people back to parishes? One indicator of interest from Alexa is that nearly one in five who visited the CCH website (18.3%) went looking for a Mass time by immediately visiting masstimes.org. Seven percent of CCH visitors go to divorcedcatholic.com for their next site. Also, since writing a previous blog on this topic, the CCH YouTube channel has increased its subscribers by 10% and its video views by 16%.
Of course, previous research evaluations of the CCH program have suggested that they create an initial boost in Mass attendance but are unable to maintain interest over the longer haul. As Mark noted in a previous blog post, when Catholics come home, it may only be for a visit.
Here is what he noted previously:
Michael Cieslak, Ed.D., Director of Research and Planning in the Diocese of Rockford has presented evaluations of the CCH program for his diocese last year and again at this year’s Religious Research Association annual meetings. Cieslak has noted that the ads appeared to boost Mass attendance during and shortly after the campaign in Advent of 2009. But this bump in attendance has largely dissipated and two most recent headcounts indicate that Mass attendance has returned to pre-CCH levels.
Here is hoping that this time is different! But if it is not, then we need to consider more carefully what helps to keep folks who return– research on commitment over the longer term is the next step in such efforts. Exploring how returnees are integrated (or not) and provided a role and responsibilities (or not) in their parishes seems like a logical next step.