.- The Catholic Church in Australia is working on a campaign to bring 4.2 million lapsed believers back to the fold.
The Australian bishops have set up their first national office to develop strategies to revive evangelization, revitalize churchgoers and bring back lapsed Catholics.
By December 2009, each parish in Sydney will develop a strategy for contacting and welcoming people, especially families not actively involved in the church. The bishops are also calling for "reintegrating" divorced and civilly married couples and their children into parish life.
Parish outreach will be done through community notice boards in cafés, on streets and in shopping centers. A video and website are also being considered.
People would be invited to meetings, where they could talk about their past experiences with the Church. Later, they would be reintroduced to Church rituals.
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney asked that World Youth Day (WYD) 2008 be held in his archdiocese with the hope that it would increase church attendance among young people, bring more men to the priesthood and precipitate a new evangelization on the continent.
He intends to set up an archdiocesan youth website, organize regional Sunday night Masses, and train youth ministers for WYD.
One recent effort that has met with success is a newspaper ad campaign that offers an explanation of the principles of Catholicism. In three weeks the ads have drawn 700 inquiries. The ads were placed by the Catholic Inquiry Centre which will be placing follow-up ads in bridal magazines.