Weaving our shared stories together

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - Updated: 1:31 pm

By William Cone Editor

Driving home from Downtown Pittsburgh, I like to listen to recorded books I get from the public library. The one I’m listening to now is about public speaking. Specifically, it’s about TED talks, which are relatively short presentations about hugely diverse subjects. The best TED talks are put on YouTube and shared for free on social media.

In the book, the author, Chris Anderson, curator of the nonprofit TED organization, talks about the value of storytelling, how the right story, told the best way possible, can help you connect with your audience and present a message that is compelling, informative, inspiring and entertaining.

That’s exactly what we strive to do at the Pittsburgh Catholic. On the most basic level, we are storytellers, informing readers about what their neighbors near and far are doing. As Catholic journalists, we focus on the message of Jesus and his church.

Telling stories, whether in a newspaper or with the spoken word, is a lot like weaving a fabric. Emphasizing the human thread that binds us to everyone makes great stories. Someone who understands that is Pope Francis. He said as much in his message for the 54th World Communications Day, which will be celebrated in the church May 24.

He said that, as humans, “We weave not only clothing, but also stories: indeed, the human capacity to ‘weave’ (Latin texere) gives us not only the word textile but also text. … By immersing ourselves in stories, we can find reasons to heroically face the challenges of life.”

The pope called God “the great storyteller” who weaves together individual stories to become part of one great, big story. “Human beings are storytellers because we are engaged in a process of constant growth, discovering ourselves and becoming enriched in the tapestry of the days of our life,” Pope Francis said in his message.

Newspapers gather fragments of history (fabric) in the stories told in their pages. It’s an honorable task, and one we don’t take lightly.

For almost a year, we at the Pittsburgh Catholic have been celebrating (rather quietly) the past 175 years of this newspaper. It’s a legacy that is truly extraordinary. Next month we will unveil an initiative called the Next Century Campaign that we hope will help us to connect with and serve readers in new ways. Look for a special front page of the March 20 issue.

As February is Catholic Press Month, we give thanks to our readers for the privilege of accompanying them on this journey. The tapestry we are weaving is breathtaking.

This is also an opportunity to ask you to help us tell your stories of humanity, faith and inspiration. Your assistance can help make us better storytellers. Simply e-mail me with your ideas at wcone@pittsburghcatholic.org.

The world is far from boring these days. Good stories are everywhere. In fact, our Christian faith is all about good news — that God loves us, that our Savior died for us and rose from the dead, and that he is with us until the end of time. Even when evil appears, as it occasionally does, we know that God will be victorious. There is no better story and no better news.

The Pittsburgh Catholic strives to connect with you, our valued readers, and help you build a relationship with God and your fellow human beings. What an honor it is to serve you.

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