"There is nothing more exciting than breaking open the Gospel of Jesus Christespecially to a congregation engaged in the homily. Connecting Pulpit and Pew not only reinforces this essential mission, but confronts directly the Loud Silence that impedes the preachers effectiveness. We are reminded that preaching matters, that people hunger for an encounter with God, and that the Gospel is most powerful when connected with our lived experiences. Good preaching connects the Sacred Scriptures with the scriptures of peoples lives and Karla Bellinger breaks open the underlying passion, message, and methods that make for genuine encounter. Through the lens of young Catholics, Bellinger enables us to re-tool in order to better connect with this generationand all generations. This resource assists preachers in connecting pulpit to pew . . . and teachers, catechists, and pastoral leaders in connecting lectern to listener."
Robert J. McCarty, D.Min.
National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry
"Feel like there is a huge cavernous divide between the pulpit and the pew? If you want to close the gap, this is the book. It's historical and contemporary, it includes quantitative and qualitative research, you hear what preachers want and pew sitters desire. Gather a group of parishioners, share the questions in the back, become a listener who gives feedback and feel the love grow. This is adult faith formation at its finest."
Leland Nagel, Executive Director
National Conference for Catechetical Leadership
"With her passionate desire to connect pulpits with pews, Bellinger opens the dialogue by interviewing countless parishioners young and old and by giving voice as well to Catholic priests and deacons. Doing so she provides the models and sets the pace for what needs to happen to bridge the gap between parishioner and preacher long before they enter their churches. Her academic research, together with her pastoral understanding, contributes well to her suggested directives inviting others to enter the dialogue that may produce Catholic preaching that is truly conversional."
Msgr. James T. Telthorst
Archdiocese of St. Louis
"This book grew from the authors national empirical study of Catholic young people who said Preaching Matters. How to make preaching better is about connecting. Whether pew-sitter or preacher, read and share this book if you want to open the conversation about how important preaching is to the spiritual life of your community."
Fred A. Baumer
Adjunct Professor of Preaching, St. Johns School of Theology, Collegeville, Minnesota
"The core of the new evangelizationwhat is heard and not simply what is proclaimedinforms the central thesis of Connecting Pulpit and Pew. Written in an accessible and practical style, this book invites the homilist to enter the world of the listener and explore ways to be heard better through constructive dialogue, which is so important and yet rarely pursued. This study will assist all in the Church as we answer the call of Pope Francis to make good preaching a true encounter with Jesus Christ and a vital part of the new evangelization."
Most Reverend Joseph Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
"Bellinger has travelled the nation trying to crack the loud silence that exists between Catholic preachers and their parishioners, with a special attentiveness to youth. In this book, she reports her discoveries, but perhaps even more important, she shows us how to continue the conversation in our own communities. The discussion questions posed at the end of the book are - alone - worth the price of the whole. They promise to provoke meaningful conversations at the local level that could substantially bolster the quality of preaching in the U.S."
Ann M Garrido
Associate Professor of Homiletics
Aquinas Institute of Theology
"Connecting Pulpit and Pew effectively engages one of the most frequently discussed topics pertaining to Catholic liturgiesthe quality of preaching. Appreciating the significance of the homily, Karla Bellinger offers both critique where improvement is needed and praise for preaching that truly connects with the faithful. Her compelling narrative includes positive examples of outstanding preaching as well as symptoms of disconnection that illustrate her central argument: the necessity of the preacher understanding the world of the hearer. Her tough questions apply to everyone from the novice preacher in seminary homiletics classes to the most experienced Christian ministers in a variety of settings. Karla Bellingers byword is connection and her book definitely connects with the serious reader, both preacher and listener."
Sister Katarina Schuth, OSF
Professor of Pastoral Ministry
St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity
When high school students listen to preaching, do they hear a word of life that speaks to them? Does the proclaimed Word reach a generation that is plugged into social media? Karla Bellinger decided to find out. The students' honest replies about what touched their hearts, what challenged them, and what they wish they had heard may surprise you. Anyone who is eager to learn more about how the gospel transforms the lives of younger hearers of the Word, and the role of the preacher in that process, will find rich insight and concrete suggestions in this valuable volume.
Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame