Innovative CD Distribution Program Gives Dramatic Results
Lighthouse Catholic Media's free CD distribution program is reclaiming fallen-away Catholics and increasing the zeal of ordinary parishioners.
"It's an extremely effective tool for evangelization. The speakers are articulate and enjoyable to listen to, and people want to learn from the insights of others who have experienced the same questions. People need spiritual nourishment during the week, and these CDs enrich their understanding not only of the sacraments, but also of prayer and of the devotional life."
Father Thomas Aschenbrener, Associate Pastor of St Alphonsus Parish.
The need it meets
Many Catholics do not appreciate their faith simply because they do not know it in depth. This resource makes adult faith formation attractive and accessible.
Where it came from
Lighthouse Catholic Media was created by three men who pooled their resources and expertise to re-evangelize fallen-away or undercatechized Catholics:
- Mark Midendorf (a top sales representative and then successful manager of a leading software company)
- Terry Barber (the founder and president of St Joseph Communications)
- Dave Durand (best-selling author, executive of a $250 million company and trainer of over 100,000 individuals in sales, marketing, and business management)
The apostolate began when Mark set up a display stand of free tapes at St John Cantius parish in Chicago, with the permission of Fr C. Frank Phillips, CR. The display of tapes (from St Joseph Communications) quickly became a popular resource. Noticing the increase in distribution, Terry Barber contacted Mark for the first time. The two men began brainstorming together, and with Dave Durand's input later on, Lighthouse Catholic Media was born.
How it works
Lighthouse Media distributes faith-formation CDs to parishes through the following easy steps:
- Parish chooses one of 3 possible distribution plans (priced according to parish size).
- Lighthouse Catholic Media will send a Starter Kit with CD selections, pamphlets, a display stand, full instructions, and a Faith Raiser Success Plan.
- The stand is set up in the atrium or common area of the parish with a donations box.
- Parishioners come and take whatever CDs they would like to listen to. They can take them for free, or with a voluntary, suggested donation.
- Every 3 months, Catholic Lighthouse Media sends subscribing parishes a new selection of CDs.
- Following the program instructions insures that the voluntary donations more than cover the initial investment and ongoing subscription costs. This has been the case in more than 1000 participating parishes.
There is also a complete set of CDs and brochures in Spanish.
Since its foundation in December 2005, Lighthouse Catholic Media has reached over 1,400 parishes and distributed over 1.3 million CDs.
At St Alphonsus parish, Fr Tom has observed these good results since starting the CD distribution two years ago:
- The CDs are popular and many people are actively using them. Every 4-6 months, he has to restock the supply with 300 new CDs.
- Conversions and deepened faith. One parishioner told him, "Father, I want to tell you that those CDs have brought me back to the Church. They have really helped me in my belief in God and in my relationship with Christ and the Church." Father Aschenbrener observed that another priest in a separate parish had heard similar remarks from one of his own parishioners.
- The CDs are especially effective in RCIA programs. Since many of the RCIA candidates are coming to the Church from a Protestant background, they especially identify with testimony talks by speakers like Scott Hahn.
"The CDs and brochures are a welcome addition to the faith life and continuing education of our people. I heartily recommend your program to all the pastors in the Archdiocese as a way to rekindle the faith of Chicago's Catholics and help fulfill Pope John Paul II's call for a New Evangelization."
Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago
- Promotion by word of mouth, Church bulletin, from the pulpit, etc.
- A prominently located place for the display.
- A lay person to restock the stand as needed, gather donations from the collection box, and set up the new selection of CDs every 3 months.
How to implement it
The web site http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.com has detailed instructions on how to set up a stand in your parish.
There are 3 start-up package options explained at: http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.com/FLASH.php
1. CD and brochure packages for parishes with less than 500 families.
2. CD and brochure packages for parishes with more than 500 families.
3. CD reorder options.
Fr. James Hurlbert is pastor of
St. Alphonsus Parish.