Saturday, July 16, 2016

Archbishop Aymond hits the big screen in New Orleans

New Orleans Catholic archbishop hits big screen with church invite

Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond is shown in a still from the 15-second spot that will begin playing at area movie theaters on July 22. The spot depicts young Catholics participating in the life of the church, and concludes with the archbishop encouraging viewers to learn more about the faith. (Archdiocese of New Orleans)
Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond is taking to the big screen with an invitation to all local moviegoers: "Come join us!" Before each movie starting on July 22, New Orleans area theaters will show a 15-second spot depicting young Catholics participating in the life of the church, and concluding with the archbishop encouraging viewers to learn more about the faith.
For the next 12 months, the commercials will run in all local movie theaters in rotation with other advertisers, said Sarah McDonald, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. "We don't know of any other diocese that has undertaken this type of campaign," McDonald said. "We're excited, and we're hopeful and we are looking forward to seeing what God can do with this."
The campaign comes against the backdrop of what has been described as a modest decline in church attendance and participation around the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, the share of U.S. adults who say they believe in God, while still remarkably high by comparison with other advanced industrial countries, has declined from about 92 percent to 89 percent since 2007.

The number of Catholic "adherents" in the New Orleans area fell 29 percent between 1980 and 2010, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives. Adherents include all full members, their children and others who regularly attend services.

Some national critics less than enthused by live event from New Orleans

McDonald said the idea for the advertising campaign grew from goals discussed during the archdiocese's Ninth General Synod last year. One of the goals is to engage the disengaged in the life of the church.
"We want to reach beyond the people we talk to regularly and issue an invitation to those who may not be familiar with the church or who have stopped attending Mass to take another look," McDonald said. "Perhaps they will see someone or something they relate to in the spot."
Using the synod theme of "Encountering Jesus, Witnessing with Joy" the staff of the archdiocesan Communications and Evangelization offices worked with producers to create an inviting commercial. Its theme is built around the words of fellowship, service and faith.
McDonald acknowledged that the spots might precede movies not aligned with the morals of the Catholic Church. She said that possibility is not a deterrent: "It's our role as evangelizers to get out our positive message and spread the good news and the Gospel before the whole world, not just to those who agree with us."
For moviegoers using a website or mobile application to find movie times, the archdiocese is running a shorter, more targeted digital campaign. The goal is to get the invitation out as many times to as many people as possible, McDonald said.

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