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Catholic Group Launches Ad Blitz Featuring Cardinal Dolan To Lure Faithful Back To Pews

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An unusual Easter week invitation is on the airwaves.

A radio ad on CBS 2’s sister station 1010 WINS features New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan inviting Catholics back to church.

As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the Archdiocese of New York has its own channel on subscription satellite radio, which carries Cardinal Dolan’s weekly Catholic radio show.

But his message is expanding to mainstream media, with minute-long advertisements sponsored by Catholic Voices airing during morning drive on all-news radio.

“Pope Francis talks about reaching out to the peripheries and the periphery is our drive time, commute time. And so this is the first time we ever bought an ad,” Kathryn Lopez, director of Catholic Voices, told Aiello.

Lopez said she believes the pope’s message of serving others – and his humble demeanor – has many lapsed Catholics considering a return to the pew, Aiello reported.

“Come see for yourself,” said Lopez. “There’s a great big church out here in the city and you’re welcome to join.”

“Catholic Voices said ‘if you can simply issue an invitation that we love you, we need you, you’re welcome in the church, something, someone is missing when you’re not with us, come on back.’ And what’s a better time to do that than Holy Week and Easter,” Cardinal Dolan said.

Despite the pontiff’s popularity, surveys show church attendance has not increased in the year Francis has been pope.

“Pope Francis has brought a lot of excitement to the church but what we aren’t seeing is that excitement go back to the church,” Chuck White, a Roman Catholic, told Aiello.

“I think that there’s probably still a bit of hesitation in a lot of people in coming back to the church,” Roman Catholic Therese White added.

The people who paid for the ads say they’re rolling out the welcome mat via the radio waves.

Cardinal Dolan will be at the Vatican this weekend for the rare dual canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

CBS 2 will have live reports on the rise to sainthood from Rome beginning on Thursday.

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