by Gordon Nary
Gordon: In 1990, you had a “religious reawakening” that resulted leaving a successful corporate career to be involved in an amazing series of faith- focused projects., What constituted this “religious reawakening” and inspired you to direct your talents to a faith-based marketing career.
Alan: At the time I was a senior executive with a large company and to tell you the truth, loved my job and was doing quite well. However, I had not practiced my Catholic faith since leaving for college and was living a sinful life. My awakening occurred in a “split second” when I suddenly realized that I was a child of God and that I was not living the way God intended for me and all His children. At that point I simply walked out of my career with the sincere intention of utilizing whatever skills I had for the kingdom of God. I’ve had a very blessed 30 years since that day!
Gordon: When and why did you launch Catholic Marketing Network ?
Alan: About 5 years after I experienced my “awakening.” I was president of a Catholic company that produced beautiful animated stories on the lives of the saints and realized that we needed to improve distribution of Catholic materials. I founded the CMN to help in that effort.
Gordon: How do you promote the Catholic Marketing Network?
Alan: We do so through all means of media and new media but we have developed an excellent reputation over the past years and probably our strongest promotion comes from word of mouth.
Gordon: What have been you most popular books in 2018?
Alan: Children’s books have been particularly strong this past year and we’ve also seen a revival in Catholic fiction.
Gordon: What has been you most effective marketing resource to promote Catholic music?
Alan: Catholic music is one area where we have not done a very good job. One of the primary reasons for this is that we have been a B to B organization and music purchases are very weak with Catholic stores. As we become more active in B to C activities, I think you’ll see our music outreach greatly improve.
Gordon: What have been some of your most rewarding experiences to date at Catholic Marketing Network?
Alan: There have been so many it’s hard to pinpoint any particular instances but I would say that the “networking” element of our organization has been the most rewarding part of the CMN for me. Countless times peoples and groups have told me that they are now working together and that their newfound relations were through an activity associated with the Catholic Marketing Network. These efforts are advancing the Kingdom of God and knowing that the CMN has played a part in this gives me an enormous amount of satisfaction!
Gordon: What marketing techniques are most effective in evangelization?
Alan: I think scripture gives us the answer to this question when Saint Paul instructs us to “meet people where they are.” Many people are hurting today and need the healing power of Christ in their lives. The state of catechesis has been very poor for the past 40 or 50 years and many people, even many Catholics have a misunderstanding as to who Christ is and what His church teaches. People want to see others living their faith with enthusiasm and joy which I believe is much more powerful than any homily or book.
Gordon: We are losing many young people from the Church. How can we more effectively market Catholicism to teenagers and young adults?
Alan: There are excellent efforts and initiatives in the church that are effectively reaching young people. I think of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students)
who have experienced explosive growth of the past couple of decades. I also think Mathew Kelly and his Dynamic Catholic organization has had a big impact with his excellent resources. Two other great examples with be the explosive growth of both Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) and Catholic Creatives , both started and headquartered here in Dallas.
There are also religious orders like the CFR’s and Dominicans who are attracting many young vocations and the more exposure to these success stories I believe the more young people will want to get involved. As an example, I go to the March for Life in Washington every year and there are hundreds of thousands of young people full of enthusiasm for Life and their Catholic faith and the numbers continue to grow each year.
Gordon: When did your devotion to our Lady of Guadalupe being and how has she inspired you in your career?
Alan: It’s interesting, but within a short period of my awakening I found myself in Mexico City at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe organizing a conference there. In the subsequent 30 years I have visited the shrine perhaps a hundred times and it would be impossible to separate any aspect of my life from Our Lady of Guadalupe. She has been a great blessing for me and all my activities involve her in some way.
Gordon: What interested you in addressing pro life challenges?
Alan: Probably my devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe was the beginning. When she appeared to Juan Diego in 1531, she quickly ended the outrageous practice of human sacrifice that was so prevalent in the pagan Aztec culture. I believe that somehow she is going to play a major role with ending the atrocious abortion scourge of today. We’re building a pro-life facility at the shrine to help in this work and you can follow our activities at www.VivaGuadalupe.org
Gordon: Thank you for this great interview