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Catholic Church Seeks To Boost Attendance In Brooklyn, Queens With New Ad Campaign

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Hip and trendy may not be the words you would use to describe going to church, but they may be appropriate for a new campaign aimed at attracting visitors.

Signs with slogans like, "Everyone's on the list" -- accompanied by a graphic showing the front doors of a church with velvet ropes that might be seen outside a nightclub -- will soon be scattered across Brooklyn and Queens, CBS2's Weijia Jiang reported.

"It includes me," laughed Brooklyn resident, Marie Thelusma.

Residents are chuckling because the ads look like they could be for a cool, new club, but are actually for church.

"That's what's relatable to people, We wanted to look and see what is it people understand," Monsignor Kieran Harrington, Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, said.

The Diocese of Brooklyn launched the campaign to remind parishioners they have somewhere to go for the holidays, reaching out to young people with social media and technology.

A poster that reads, "It's never just a selfie," shows a image of Jesus Christ in the background of a picture of a woman taking a selfie. Another reads, "His line is always open," with a smartphone perched atop a Bible, and yet another references Christmas -- and an old Prince song -- with the tag, "Party like it's 1 A.D."

"It's a nice try, a good way to relate to younger people," Thelusma said.

An estimated 1.4 million Catholics live in Brooklyn and Queens, but only 250,000 go to mass every week.

One of the goals of the campaign is to bring that number up, not only on Christmas.

"It's a knock on the door to let people know they have a family here that very much wants to see them," Monsignor Harrington said.

Some Catholics worry that it crosses a line.

"I don't know how to call it other than a materialistic hustle, and that's taking away a piece of the message that is part of the reason people come," Charlie Peterson said.

"I think it might be in poor taste," John Michael added.

But they are talking, and maybe even posting about it.

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