They used to be called “fallen-away,” but these days they are a focus in what is called the “new” evangelization.
My main problem with this section is the reliance on programs. Programs are best thought of as structures in which the true evangelization, one-on-one contact is achieved.
Programs or support mechanisms that support reconciliation–in the Church, to the Church, and in the sacrament–these all have positive aspects. I’ve witnessed that over time they tend to run out of steam. And they don’t always encourage a wide participation among parishioners.
A “professional survey” is suggested. Information is good. But a faith community has to be prepared to do something with the information it collects.
For the bishops to strategize about “divorced and separated and … those who feel alienated from the Church” is fine. Quite often a simple invitation and personal contact will do more than any programmed event.
Parish missions, though, are a very positive component. These days, they tend to be shorter due to busy modern life. They are usually focused internally, to the members, to the already-saved.
All this being said, reaching out to inactive Catholics is one of the biggest needs. There’s also a lot of material available to help a parish. But the task requires persistence, tenacity, gentle listening, and the personal touch. No program substitutes for any of these.
(Remember to reference this chapter devoted to goal number two (GMD 104-116) at the USCCB web page.)