News Release: With School Year Underway, Catholic Church Launches Statewide Education Commercials

Freedom to Serve Project Has Promoted Catholic Charity Agencies, Catholic Health Care Advertising Expected Later This Fall

Children participating in classroom activities

September 8, 2017

(Lansing, Mich.) — Earlier this spring, television commercials and online advertising ran across Michigan highlighting the Catholic Church’s freedom to serve others through its charitable organizations. Beginning today, September 11, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) announced that new commercials will begin running through December, highlighting the teachers and health care professionals that personify the Church’s educational and health care settings. Commissioned by MCC, the Freedom to Serve advertising project will last through the end of the year using both sixty and thirty second commercials on more than two dozen cable and network television stations across Michigan.

“The Catholic community in Michigan has an extensive tradition of educating children in the faith with a focus on service toward others and the broader society,” said David Maluchnik (Muh-looch-nick), Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Communications. “This advertising project aims to reinforce the notion that faith-based schools, health care, and charitable entities are an inclusive and diverse component of our local communities that serve all in the spirit of ‘loving thy neighbor.’”

The Freedom to Serve commercials — which can be viewed at — address the right for Catholic organizations to provide services to the general public in accordance with their faith-based mission, without unnecessary or burdensome intervention from the state or federal government. Starting Monday, September 11, and running concurrently with digital advertising, a sixty second television commercial will run across the state highlighting Catholic schools and their mission to educate students in the faith and foster in them a desire to serve the greater community. A Catholic health care TV spot is expected to begin in October, with sixty and thirty second versions, featuring the religious and lay persons who provide care for the sick and elderly as part of their daily lives. Earlier this year, two commercials ran on network and cable television drawing attention to a Catholic end-of-life home and a Catholic Charities agency that exists as one of the largest providers of free water to children and families impacted by the Flint water disaster.

“Catholic schools and health care centers are administered and staffed by persons who do not leave their faith at the doorstep when serving others — it is who they are from morning until night,” said Maluchnik. “This rich tradition of service to others is only possible when faith-based providers are able to operate in concert with their long-standing faith tradition and mission. Regrettably, government mandates in recent years have made the Church’s efforts to serve others unnecessarily difficult.”

Across Michigan in 2016 Catholic elementary and secondary schools educated approximately 52,500 students in 222 schools; some 480,000 Michiganders received charitable care from Catholic social service providers; and over 5.5 million Michigan citizens received health care services from 22 Catholic hospitals — all without regard to race, religion, or income.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. The MCC Board of Directors, which commissioned the Freedom to Serve effort, includes five laypersons, one religious sister, a diocesan priest, and the seven Catholic arch/diocesan bishops: Most Reverend Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit; Most Reverend Steven Raica, Bishop of Gaylord; Most Reverend David Walkowiak, Bishop of Grand Rapids; Most Reverend Paul Bradley, Bishop of Kalamazoo; Most Reverend Earl Boyea, Bishop of Lansing; Most Reverend John Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette; and Most Reverend Joseph Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw.

There are approximately two million Catholics in the State of Michigan, which represents some 19 percent of the total population of the state. To watch the short videos and television commercials produced for the Freedom to Serve project, visit

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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