Learning to Tell the Stories of Grace That Illumine Our Lives

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: December 5, 2016

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Beginning with the apostles themselves, Christians have practiced the art of telling their stories to bring others to faith. Leonard J. DeLorenzo, theology professor and director of Notre Dame Vision—a program designed to help youth and young adults find their true vocation—presents seven guiding principles to help you share your faith in a genuine way and teach others to do so as well.

Unlike many evangelical Christians, Catholics often find it difficult to tell their faith stories. Leonard DeLorenzo has taught thousands of teens and young adults to relate their moments of grace in a way that is compelling, convincing, and free of clichés and vague generalizations.

The seven guiding principles he includes in Witness are:

  • Tell it as a story
  • Begin with what happened
  • Express it in style
  • Modify it for your audience
  • Ensure there is sufficient closure
  • Embrace natural emotions and
  • Pray and practice

DeLorenzo includes literary examples of writers such as C. S. Lewis and Flannery O’Connor, the conversion stories of St. Paul and St. Augustine, and real-life accounts of grace told by young adults he’s worked with. Their stories are born out of battling an anxiety disorder, struggling with a loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease, dealing with the effects of alcoholism, learning from people with mental disabilities, and overcoming an eating disorder. DeLorenzo teaches us that  by paying close attention to particular aspects of these stories, we can attune ourselves to the surprising and specific ways that grace moved through their experiences—as it does in our own. DeLorenzo provides a model for the kind of attentiveness we should foster when crafting our own stories of grace, and lead others to do so by providing an example of God’s presence in our everyday life.

Witness is a unique resource for faith-formation ministers and adults of all ages to appreciate the ways that grace is at work in your life, to inspire hope, and to build community by telling your own faith story.

Product Details

Pages: 160

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781594716874

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

  • “What a blessing this will be to so many!”

    “Here is a rich resource for anyone seeking to pass on the faith with clarity and conviction—whether in the pulpit, in the classroom, or in daily life. Witness reminds us of the power in our stories, and offers tools for telling them in ways that convey God's grace at work in our lives. Leonard DeLorenzo is a gifted storyteller himself, and makes us eager to put his ideas to work. What a blessing this will be to so many!”

    Deacon Greg Kandra
    Catholic blogger and journalist at Aleteia

  • “This book will help readers to bring their formation efforts to a whole new level.”

    “Incorporating 'stories of grace' in catechesis, sacramental preparation, youth and young adult ministry, retreats, and theology classes is a powerful way to pass on the faith as a living and dynamic reality, an encounter with the true God who in not an unknown impersonal deity, but the God who showed us his face in Jesus Christ. He enters into our lives and speaks to us as truth, beauty, goodness, mercy, and love. Leonard DeLorenzo teaches us to form disciples who are able to see God’s grace in their lives, and, like Pope Francis, discover their identity as persons 'looked upon by the Lord.' This book will help readers to bring their formation efforts to a whole new level, leading to a deeper and more personal engagement with the mysteries we teach—most importantly—the mystery of God who touches our lives with his grace.”

    Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades
    Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend

  • “I highly recommend this book.”

    “Many concerned Catholics are working hard to reconsider how to re-evangelize Catholic young people faithfully and effectively. Leonard DeLorenzo is one of the best I know who is devoted to this challenge. I highly recommend this book as an important contribution to the larger conversation.”

    Christian Smith
    Coauthor of Young Catholic America

  • “A remarkable and well-researched book.”

    “The bad news is that emerging adults are leaving the Church. The good news is that Leonard DeLorenzo has written a remarkable and well-researched book full of personal stories about how the lost art of storytelling can bring them back. Telling one’s story in front of others can be uncomfortable, but it can also work miracles. DeLorenzo has decades of experience forming disciples by helping them to move beyond clichés and sound bites to identify the messy work of grace in their lives.”

    Anna Nussbaum Keating
    Coauthor of The Catholic Catalog

  • “A resource for preachers and teachers alike.”

    “Witness provides readers not only with impassioned stories of God’s grace in daily life, but also helps to better articulate those movements as a means of evangelization. This book is a resource for preachers and teachers alike.” 

    Rev. Pete McCormick, C.S.C.
    Director of Campus Ministry
    University of Notre Dame

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Infographic: 7 Principles for Telling Your Faith Story
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