Nancy H. C. Ward’s “Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story” has been in print and available on Amazon.com since April, 2019.
Back cover blurbs include Lisa Hendey’s “an enjoyable template for the challenge of evangelization” and Gary Zimak’s “a book that needed to be written.”
“Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story” is a big deal for me, too. It’s the first time I’ve had a byline in print since I wrote articles for the Red River Valley Historical Society’s Heritage Press. That was in the 1970s.
As the title says, Nancy H. C. Ward’s book gives you “tools, tips and testimonies.”
The first half opens with a definition of “faith story” and discussion of why evangelizing matters, and ends with an “Ask Yourself” section. So do the rest of Part 1’s chapters.
‘Tools and tips’ start with Chapter 4, “Start with Your Spiritual Journal.” This chapter has two “Ask Yourself” sections, one at the end and another before the “Best Practices for Keeping a Spiritual Journal” section.
I’m one of those folks who hasn’t kept a journal: spiritual or otherwise. Journaling seems like a very good idea. That’s why I’ve tried keeping a journal. “Tried” being the key word. So far, journaling is something that I haven’t been able to do.
That’s a tad frustrating, since Spiritual Journal is the first of five points covered in Chapter 7, “Five Tools for Stirring the Waters of Christian Testimony”. The other four are Timeline of Faith Events, Faith Biography, Formal Testimony and Elevator Speech.
But it’s not all that frustrating, since Ward explains why the five tools are important. Basically, they’re — for most folks — pretty good ways of organizing ideas.
As she says: “…You don’t need to memorize word-for-word the facts of your faith story or your elevator speech. Just spontaneously give the highlights of how you became a Catholic, or why you returned to or remain in the Church. Be ready to elaborate….”
We run into another list in Chapter 9, “Gentleness and Reverence: Tips for Sharing Your Faith Story:”
- Be specific, not vague
- Speak in the listener’s language
- Speak with substance, not just emotion
- Speak the truth
- Keep focused
- Avoid self-righteousness
- Don’t pick apart other people, churches, or ministries
- Stick to your part of the story
- Discretely avoid sordid details
- Relax. Speak matter-of-factly
Those ten points make sense to me: not just for sharing why I’m a Catholic, but in almost any sort of conversation.
I’ve run into Catholics, and others, who did pretty much the opposite of what’s recommended here. And that’s another topic.
“Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story’s” Part 2 is thirty “testimonies:” including mine.
A few of the other 29 folks have a “faith story” that’s a bit like mine, more intellectual than emotional.
Others are, by my standards, brimming with bubbly effervescence.
Like I said, we’re a motley bunch. What we have in common is a love for and acceptance of Jesus.
I plan on reviewing “Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story” after what I’ll call a cooling-off period. Who knows? I might even start a spiritual journal: and stick with it.
(Adapted from my GoodReads review. View all my reviews)
Each testimony in “Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story” ends with a biographical sketch; maybe a hundred words. Some sketches include the person’s blog.
After a little checking, I found that 16 contributors have blogs or other online content. 17, counting the one you’re reading, my A Catholic Citizen in America:
- A Body Prayer
- A Catholic Newbie – One woman’s journey toward Catholicism
- Cheryl Ann Wills
Writer & Entrepreneur
- House On Fire Publications
Where Spiritual Books Warm Your Heart
- Jeannie Ewing
- John Chomistek
- joy of nine
melanie jean juneau
- Michael Fraley — Fine Art
- Musings of a Missionary in the Modern World
Sr. Anne Marie Walsh
- Parish Dynamics
- Riparians at the Gate + Jennifer Fitz
- Robert Kurland
- Theology is a Verb
- Tima Borges
Catholic Wife, Mother, Friend, Writer, Speaker
- Virginia Lieto
- Virginia Pillars, Author
And here are the inevitable links to more A Catholic Citizen in America posts: