More than just a how-to or helper’s guide to some practical, ministerial end, DeLorenzo’s book is a theology of grace, and, as such, it becomes meaningful on a deeply personal level for the reader.
— Ryan Dainty, Dean of Students, Marian High School
Magnificent volume to ground a genuine ‘conversion model’ of discipleship in your parish. Lively and engaging, it creates an insightful faith awareness on a pilgrimage of, ‘Now I See’...
Cannot recommend highly enough!
— Fr. Rex Curry, Diocese of Broken Bay, Australia

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.


The Witness Evangelization Plan enables communities of faith to share their Stories of Grace, forming witnesses who reveal Christ's light to others. This customizable plan is ideal for parishes, dioceses, and schools, whether for adult faith formation, catechist enrichment, faculty in-services and days of reflection, parent outreach and engagement, college campus ministry, young adult ministry, or ministry to teenagers.

 

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Praise for Witness

“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.”
— Dr. Christian Smith, Lead Researcher of National Study on Youth and Religion
This unique resource helps Catholics of all ages witness to their faith by sharing with their families, neighbors, and colleagues ‘stories of grace’—ways God is acting in their everyday lives.
— Sr. Theresa Rickard, O.P. , President of RENEW International
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 Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Witness is truly a masterpiece—The treasures in this book serve as an excellent resource for people in Ministry, especially those mentoring young people as their prepare reflections. The stories of GRACE shared in this book are so very powerful. These stories truly provide a mirror into one’s own soul and brings the reader to a deeper understanding of the power of Grace in their individual story.
— Helen Steve, Campus Minister, Mater Dei High School
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 Kendra, Catholic blogger and journalist
Reading this book was like opening a treasure chest of wisdom for the faith formation of youth and young adults. It gives something of a behind-the-scenes look from the director of Notre Dame Vision, the most formative program I’ve been graced to be a part of. It provides helpful insights into how crafting and sharing stories of grace can be part of Christian formation, and gives practical advice on how this might be accomplished.

Reading this book re-energized my own ministry on a college campus and gave me lots of fresh ideas to incorporate into my work with young adults. Perhaps more importantly, it gave me insight as a new parent into the challenges faced by young people in their journeys of faith and how the discipline of storytelling might play a role in facing those challenges.

When I finished this book, I was convinced of the importance of a certain kind of storytelling that helps us to see our lives in the light of God’s grace. I also felt equipped to introduce this practice to both the students with whom I work and my family.
— Jessica Kimmet, Campus Minister, Saint Mary's College
Leonard DeLorenzo has written a book, which if followed, would transform youth ministry and evangelization in the Church in general. Too often, evangelization programs in the present want people to “tell their story.” But, this approach risks becoming an exercise in over-sharing, a kind of pornographic obsession with self-revelation. As you read through Witness, you’ll discover that the art of story-telling is really a way of understanding the subtle work of grace in our lives. Thanks to Dr. DeLorenzo, you’ll see that “witnessing” to faith requires a deep theological and spiritual formation. This book is an essential read for everyone in ministry.
— Dr. Timothy O'Malley, University of Notre Dame
For anyone who is in the business of pastoral formation work - whether it be designing retreats, forming servant leaders, preparing seminarians or others for professed religious life, training volunteers, teaching high school theology, and many more - this book will quickly become an essential read.

Personally, for years I have been working with young people preparing to lead retreats. One of the topics we always touched on was writing witness talks, and more broadly, learning how to talk about your faith in an engaging and relevant way with your peers. I honestly wish I would have had this book to help shape our formation program. Throughout the book, Dr. DeLorenzo touches on several best practices that could be easily implemented directly or translated quickly to help in the formation of young men and women.

Dr. DeLorenzo’s simple, yet deeply theological, road map for graceful storytelling is a must read for all those in ministry!
— John Paul Lichon, Founder, Verso Ministries
This small book on learning about sharing the presence of grace in our lives is a very good introduction to the graced art of revealing God’s presence in the details of our lives.

I found some of his suggestions - including the importance of sharing a story not to relieve one’s unfinished stories but to open up our stories so that those who hear us can see God’s grace at work - as very helpful.

I worked with young people in campus ministry for many years, helping with retreats and retreat talks. I wish this volume had been available then to help young people craft their stories not for emotional impact but for opening up the channels of grace. I’d recommend this to campus ministers and all involved in retreat ministry.

Our style of retreats here in Honduras is somewhat different - except for some groups that tell personal stories very often for their emotional impact.

But this books is helping me craft my homilies as well as my blog posts, where I try to share stories of grace. It will also help me in sharing my story to others. This past year, I shared my discernment process (toward the permanent diaconate) at the national seminary. As I look back on that story in the light of this book, I found that in some ways I had written it with some of what Dr. DeLorenzo has in mind, although my talk was an hour-long presentation of my life and not a short story of grace of one moment. Re-reading this book will help me in any future presentations.
— Deacon J.A. Donaghy
DeLorenzo has the incredible gift of educating people of all backgrounds to seek and articulate the grace encountered in the extraordinary - but more importantly in the ordinary - everyday moments of life. The guidance offered in Witness does not limit the Christian faith to a 7-step process, but rather it liberates the believer through attentiveness, prayer, and practice to encounter God’s presence in the particularities of life. DeLorenzo identifies and responds to the malformation of Christian faith in the modern world, and he provides a practical response for the re invigoration of faith among teenagers, young adults, and even adults through the gift of storytelling. Furthermore, DeLorenzo’s understanding of grace as both elevating and healing is deeply rooted in the Tradition of the Church while made relevant and tangible to readers. He leaves readers with a willingness to see their lives in a new light - along the light of grace. DeLorenzo gives credence to the importance of every life, and invites our particular stories to be conformed to the Gospel and offered as the foundations for building communion. His humble guidance as offered in Witness - and the stories of others he included in this book - is surely a gift to people every where, at every stage of their spiritual life.
— Kathryn Thompson, Med Student, Creighton University
As a high school campus minister, I often talk with students who are struggling to see how the Lord could possibly work in their own lives. Even if they recognize God’s grace, it can be even more difficult to communicate it. Dr. DeLorenzo’s book provides the vocabulary and framework necessary to recognize my own life as being illuminated by grace and has helped me to walk others through that process as well. A balance of prayerful meditations, personal stories, and practical steps has made this one of my favorite and most recommended resources for campus ministers, teachers, clergy, or anyone who desires to see God’s grace working in and through their lives.
— Lauren Schmidt, Campus Minister, Marian High School
Read it today! Well done; outstanding text for anyone who teaches, preaches or participates in any way in ministry today. I particularly enjoyed DeLorenzo’s overarching metaphor and frame of light as well as his varied use of scripture and text. I also enjoyed his references to Marilynne Robinson and Flannery O’Connor throughout. I think it’s a very suitable response to the very real problems presented by Christian Smith and Kenda Creasey Dean in their national study of religion as well as the call for joy by Pope Francis. I like that it’s a paradigm for ministry that can be applied in all aspects of ministry in the church but it’s not really a “how to” but more a “why” with a bit of loose rubric.
— Stephanie Clouatre-Davis, Teacher and Minister
I loved this book. As a writer and also as someone who teaches middle school religious education (CCD) classes, it was wonderful to learn more about how storytelling can help teachers to connect with and inspire their students. The blueprint DeLorenzo offers is incredibly helpful in crafting our own stories as well as helping others to do so. I loved the examples he used in the book, but especially appreciated how DeLorenzo’s explanations of how the authors got from point A to point B with their witness talks. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who works with young adults and particularly for anyone who is crafting a retreat talk or coaching retreat teams to give witness talks—it’s an invaluable resource.
— Jennifer Monahan, CCD Teacher
As a student in Professor DeLorenzo’s theology class, this book has helped me to more deeply understand learning how to see the wonder of grace in my own life. As a first-time theology student, this book gave me a wonderful insight into how to think in a disciplined, clear, and concise manner about the stories of grace in my own life, and how I can relay these stories to others in a meaningful way. Even to someone who has never been in an organized theology class, the book was very accessible yet challenging in reflecting upon my own faith journey. His references to notable Catholic works and established catechism provides a strong basis for the entirety of his teaching during the course of the book.
Professor DeLorenzo is an expert in what he does, and I believe that this book is perfect for anybody looking to relay their faith story to others, or even to simply reflect upon their own faith stories more.
— Lucie Moore, Class of 2019, University of Notre Dame
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, CSC, Director of Campus Ministry, University of Notre Dame
Through praxis and story, Leonard DeLorenzo reimagines the traditional “witness talk” as an illuminating means of evangelization. These stories of grace open storyteller and listener alike to the loving presence of God, beautifully manifest in the ordinary moments of our Christian discipleship. DeLorenzo’s insights into the value of particularity in storytelling have enriched not only my pastoral formation of student ministers, but also my liturgical preaching. I offer his work my fullest recommendation.
— Rev. Patrick Reidy, C.S.C., Rector of Keough Hall, University of Notre Dame
I’ve been pregnant with the notion of witnessing on the subject of Grace for quite some time. For New Year’s 2017 I made a commitment to put myself to work writing a talk entitled, “Look for the Graces” on the chance of presenting at a Women’s Encounter weekend this summer. I was elated to find De Lorenzo’s book, Witness, advertised in the back of the Notre Dame Magazine just a few short weeks after making this commitment. I ordered it immediately just based on the title. I have to say, it is exactly what I’ve been looking for for a long time. It was a surprisingly timely gift, a little grace in itself.
You need not be a catechist or in ministry to benefit from reflecting on your own stories of grace and working toward being articulate about them. Witness opens with some rich examples about ways of seeing, provides principles to guide you in your pursuit and leaves the reader with a new awareness that, like Pope Francis, you are also, “One who has been looked upon by the Lord”.
— Ellen Kyhl, Mother and Volunteer Minister
“The practice of telling stories of grace is like letting God tell you that you are loved” (Witness, 13). While reading Witness, I became more attentive to moments of grace in my own life. I felt a bit more prepared to pause, give thanks, and speak about those moments of grace to friends and family. DeLorenzo’s “Witness” offers a rare combination of theological and pastoral substance, delightful story-telling, and practical suggestions to practice the art of storytelling. This is an important book that has shaped me personally and professionally.
— Tim Pisasich, Assistant Director, Echo Faith Formation Leadership Program
I initially picked this book up for use in my ministry. As someone who works in Catholic education and is interested in the faith formation of young people, I was intrigued by the approach of teaching young people to tell stories of grace, and, in so doing, help to form their imaginations Biblically and theologically. And it is great for that. Dr. DeLorenzo’s 7-part approach for crafting such stories is practical, and he is always keen to illustrate his points through stories.

Thus, the book itself is a story of grace, and that is what I found most rewarding. More than just a how-to or helper’s guide to some practical, ministerial end, DeLorenzo’s book is a theology of grace, and, as such, it becomes meaningful on a deeply personal level for the reader. Being confronted with the reality that we are looked upon by the Lord with love, that God’s grace appears as a subtle interruption in our lives (in our ways of seeing, in our relationships, in our self-understanding), and that God enters into to even the smallest, seemingly most insignificant aspects of our lives and personalities, is a live-saving message.

I am ever grateful for DeLorenzo’s “witness.”
— Ryan Dainty, Dean of Students, Marian High School

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