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Spreading the Faith with Audio Pamphlets | The Story of Lighthouse Catholic Media | IgnatiusInsight.com | August 20, 2006

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The church pamphlet rack was, for many years, a staple of Catholic houses of worship. Lighthouse Catholic Media president Terry Barber is bringing pamphlet racks back -- with a twist -- as audio CDs in a custom display stand placed at the back of the church.

His brainstorm is definitely meeting a need, Barber says, because orders have increased 40 percent a month for six months and counting.

"It's just out of control. We're talking almost 75,000 CDs a month," says Barber." I believe Lighthouse is reaching a market of Catholics that traditional publishing fails to touch. We're reaching the rank-and-file Catholic right in the back of the church where they're looking for answers to questions about the Catholic faith."

A parish sets up the display, which is self-funding: those who take a CD are asked to place a $3 donation in the box, Barber said. Lighthouse Catholic Media replaces the CDs as needed.

Why is it working so well?

"In general, Americans probably don't read as much as they should. But, let's face it, we're in our car a lot, listening to CDs," Barber says. Because the program is self-funding, there is minimal paperwork, cost, or hassle for the parish, and the CDs reach busy people who want to learn more about their faith, but don't know how to squeeze another thing into their busy schedules.

"We're solving a problem most parishes know: How do we do Catholic adult formation when most parishioners can't come to the classes? Answer, we bring the classes to them. Our Lighthouse program has something for moms, dads, and the kids. When Sunday comes, they can go pick up a CD at the back of the church."

Barber says the response to the CDs has been overwhelmingly positive. The Lighthouse website has received hundreds of encouraging e-mails from around the country.

One letter from a listener in Michigan reads, "I was in such doubt about the Eucharist and there you were with the answer. I have listened to the CD by Dr. Scott Hahn called The Fourth Cup over and over again. Its effect has been unbelievable. I believe! Now the consecration has become so beautiful to me because I know what's happening."

One Catholic mom, Yvette, relates how her family has responded to the Lighthouse CD she picked up at church: "I was driving my three teenagers, two boys and a girl (ages 13-17), back from school and put in Fr. Calloway's conversion story CD. I was amazed at how transfixed the kids became. We even got home and parked in the garage but no one got out of the car. Twenty minutes later my husband came out to ask us what we were doing. The next morning when we got back into the car to go to school, my daughter, who usually fights me over the radio, said, 'Mom, quick! Put that CD back on so we can hear the rest of his story before we get to school.'"

John from Haymarket Virginia relates that the CDs have given him, "the strength to face my weaknesses and remind me of the Covenant I have with my Lord Jesus Christ." Daniel in Tulsa Oklahoma, who holds a master's degree in theology, writes to relate how the Lighthouse CDs have enriched his faith "tremendously" and how he now shares the fruits of these presentations with others.

Listener's from Illinois, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Ohio, New York, Texas, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and even Alberta Canada have also written with inspiring stories of conversions to Catholicism, changed lives and increased faith.

Since its inception in 2005, Lighthouse Catholic Media has also received an impressive stream of Episcopal endorsements including Bishop Weigand of Sacramento, Bishop Carmody of Corpus Christi, and Francis Cardinal George who has recommended the program to all the pastors of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

"We know from experience that people share these CDs," says Barber, "and that's how we hope to reach the 'second largest denomination in America,' namely, fallen away Catholics. We're like Pepsi Cola, we want to give them a taste of their faith."

Since founding Saint Joseph Communications, Inc., in 1979, Barber has been selling Catholic audio retail. But the innovation of the display has had a mind-boggling effect, he says. During March 2006 alone, Lighthouse Media shipped over 70,000 CDs to nearly 500 parishes.

For more information about setting up a Lighthouse display at your church, go to the Lighthouse Media website or to order the CDs or DVDs individually, go to the Saint Joseph Communications website. Included are such topics as Which Came First, the Bible or the Church and Anger and Forgiveness, as well as talks by such luminaries as Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and best-selling author Dr. Scott Hahn.

Related IgnatiusInsight.com Articles:

Liturgy, Catechesis, and Conversion | Barbara Morgan
Understanding The Hierarchy of Truths | Douglas Bushman, STL
Evangelization 101: A Short Guide to Sharing the Gospel | Carl E. Olson
Discovering the New Faithful | An interview with Colleen Carroll Campbell
Evangelizing With Love, Beauty and Reason | An Interview with Joseph Pearce
Approaching the Sacred Scriptures | Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch

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