I met Tom Peterson, the founder of the Catholics Come Home project when I was in Atlanta leading a parish mission last month. He gave me a copy of his book, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about his fantastic apostolate, Catholics Come Home--which produces and distributes television ads encouraging Catholics to return to the faith.
Tom tells his own story in this book. Coming from a Catholic family, he graduated from college and jumped straight into a highly paid job in the marketing and advertising industry. Before long he had it made: the wife, the kids, the beautiful house, a garage full of cool cars and a fast paced, successful American executive life style.
Then the Lord got hold of him and turned him around. He began to simplify and deepen his spiritual life. He began to look again at his values and check again what he was really living for. God called him to use his experience, brains and expertise in the advertising industry to beckon Catholics to return to the church. He downsized, learned to live by faith and now works full time spreading the gospel.
With ads going out on television across America the Catholics Come Home enterprise has been a terrific success. Tom’s book, however, does not trumpet that success like a glitzy media celebrity might. His own down to earth, humble style comes through in his writing. Filled with real life stories of how God touched his life and used him to help others, this book is a perfect giveaway to someone you know who is following the American Dream without ever dreaming of anything bigger or better than the American Dream. Tom’s life is an illustration of the point that the problem with many affluent Americans is not that they dream big, but that they don’t dream big enough.
God has greater things for you than the American Dream. Tom shows how a reduction in your lifestyle, new spiritual disciplines and a fresh reliance on prayer and Catholic devotions can transform your life. He calls ordinary Catholics to embark on an extraordinary adventure, and the fact that he has gone on this great adventure himself shows that it can be done.
Tom Peterson witnesses to the world in a way that a priest never can. He shows what great things can be done by laypeople because they have lived the life in the world and can relate to the world and it’s values and witness to something greater in a way that the clergy cannot.
This is a fine little book in the great tradition of humble devotional personal works. There doesn’t seem much that’s new here, but that’s okay. It’s what I call the old, old story–a story that is always new as it comes alive in a real person’s life. Read Tom’s story and allow it to inspire and motivate you to go on that same adventure of following Christ.