PRESS RELEASE: Rave Reviews From Readers Keep Rolling In For StoryTel’s New Catechism!

OMAHA, Neb., June 27, 2018 – StoryTel Press is thrilled to announce that people across the land are buying and applauding its new LEGO®️-illustrated “Catechism of the Seven Sacraments” by Kevin and Mary O'Neill!

"We've had little time to get out there and promote our new catechism up till now because we've been overwhelmed with fulfilling orders for the book from individuals, online resellers and nearly 100 brick and mortar store owners," said Don Carney, president of StoryTel Foundation and publisher of StoryTel Press. "Sales thus far have all come from a few emails sent through Catholic Marketing Network, reviews from mom bloggers, a Catholic priest’s blog and a few Catholic radio interviews with the authors."

"With nearly 6,000 books sold in three months, families across the country are letting us and others know what they think of our colorful, new hardback book, and so far it's all good!" said Phil Halpin, managing editor of the book and vice president of operations at StoryTel Foundation. A sampling of what people are saying on Amazon and other sites about “Catechism of the Seven Sacraments” illustrates this point:

"I wish I could give this book 10 stars! The attention to detail, the solid Catholic teaching, the sacraments are all beautifully presented using Legos. Legos. If someone had told me two weeks ago that I would be raving about a book about the sacraments that used Legos as a teaching tool, I would have thought they were crazy. But what a great idea!! And even better, it works!!" —Maureen Martin, Amazon reviewer

"This book has captured the ageless beauty of God's action in human history and paired it with amazing modern visuals. I can't wait to share it with the pre-teens I teach in my parish!"  —Shannon Hejkal, homeschool mother and catechist

"A visual feast, theologically sound, and very thorough! I love how it captures and brings to life the truths of our Faith through a child’s imagination via the use of LEGO. I shared this with my third grade students and they loved it! They were engaged and it held their attention. I am already using this book as a supplemental resource in the classroom. God bless you and your efforts!" —Aimee Gabel, 3rd grade Catholic school teacher

“Catechism of the Seven Sacraments” is indeed a visual feast; 750 bright, colorful photographs laid out in vivid, modern, comic-book style fill to overflowing the 292 pages of this well-constructed, hardbound, built-to-last book with dynamic scenes from the Old and New Testaments and current day, as well.

All scenes are populated and portrayed by a multitude of three-dimensional "LEGO" and other toy figures, surrounded and supported by a plethora of "LEGO" bricks, other plastic set pieces, traditional religious statues, handmade costumes and props. Every scene was conceived, sculpted, arranged into place and photographed for the book by Kevin and Mary O'Neill and their seven children.

And the really great news about this unique new catechism is that the inspired and highly entertaining visual look of the book is just the beginning of the "GOOD NEWS." Once pulled inside by the pictures, readers of the work discover that the teachings are there, the truth is proclaimed and the content is solidly Catholic in every way:

"We are thoroughly loving this giant, comic-strip, LEGO-illustrated, sacrament-themed, scripture-rich, brand-new book from StoryTel Press. Almost 300 pages tell the story of the sacraments through the eyes of two kids, Fulton and Cynthia. Exploring the connecting typology of the sacraments as found in the Old Testament and the Church today, the book also weaves in saints, morality, prayer, and more. My students are fascinated by the details in the LEGO scenes that tell the story and enjoy finding bricks that they have at home to recreate the pictures. I love the richness of the faith that is shared in such a multifaceted manner throughout the book, and how they use the sacraments to weave together the story of salvation history. The graphic novel style compels you to keep picking it up, flipping to a new section, and reading more. There is also a handy glossary in the back, color-coded sections by sacrament, and frequent Scripture and Catechism references in the margins. We look forward to more books from the O'Neill Family!" —Katie Bogneron, Amazon reviewer

StoryTel, a non-profit media foundation on a mission to restore the sacred, was developing and filming a short TV documentary on the O'Neill family and their catechism project when the two entities agreed StoryTel would publish this outside-the-box catechism.

StoryTel Foundation then spent a year translating its high-end filmmaking skills into high-end book production and created StoryTel Press. They expanded their team to include layout artists, editors and printing experts. They learned the imprimatur and large-scale printing processes. The imprimatur was granted by Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, on February 3, 2018, and printing was completed on April 9.

"It’s been a whirlwind year," said Carney, "and we look forward to an even busier Christmas season."

The book can be ordered here: RESELLERS - INDIVIDUALS - CANADA - INTERNATIONAL

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Disclaimer: LEGO®, the brick configuration, and the minifigure are trademarks of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor,  authorize, or endorse this book.

StoryTel's First Book Coming in 2018!

Our newly established StoryTel Press has discovered new authors Kevin and Mary O'Neill, and together we have created a book unlike any other about the seven sacraments of the Catholic Faith illustrated completely with LEGO® bricks and toy figures!

Catechism of the Seven Sacraments guides both children and adults on a one-of-a-kind biblical journey through the sacraments using dozens of elements and true stories from the Old and New Testaments to explain and elaborate on each sacrament. Young readers will love the fun characters and story scenes, while more advanced readers will appreciate the biblical connections and precise explanations of Catholic teaching.

This unique, new catechism is jam-packed with no less than 731 colorful pictures designed to hold your attention as you read this comprehensive, 293-page, coffee-table-size, hardcover book. Every page is artistically illustrated in comic-book style with intricate LEGO® brick scenes conceived, constructed and photographed by the two authors and their children.

Sneak peek:

Backstory

Early last year, we received a call from a supporter in Chicago who gave us a story lead on a married couple – a landscaper and his teacher wife – with seven children who were working on a fascinating book project.

Kevin int.jpg

Our friend thought we should cover their story for our On Assignment Magazine TV show on EWTN. We investigated, agreed with our friend and decided to film this couple’s amazing story.

Mary int.jpg

The deeper we delved into this story and the book the O'Neills were creating, the more we realized God not only wanted us to tell their story, but he was also calling us to publish their book.

So we gathered all of our resources and began molding this exceptional work into publishable form and giving it the StoryTel touch. Our entire team worked closely with the O’Neills throughout the editorial process to create a fun, engaging and spiritually stimulating book for all ages. 

Months of refining the scripture-rich text, re-framing and enhancing hundreds of photos, and crafting a spectacular comic book-style layout has resulted in an impressive pairing of faith education and entertainment. Currently, this thorough, orthodox catechism on the sacraments is under nihil obstat and imprimatur review. Once we receive the Catholic Church’s seal of approval, we’ll be ready to print and promote this new book!

Printing and promoting Catechism of the Seven Sacraments will be expensive but worth it. And, as always, we need your prayers and financial support. There are millions of Catholics across our country searching for a fresh approach to teaching, learning, and practicing the sacraments God has given us to help us get to Heaven. This fun new catechism will be an answer to their prayers!

Your Christmas gift today will put this amazing sacramental teaching tool into countless homes and classrooms tomorrow! So please help us if you can.

May God continue to bless you abundantly during this holy holiday season! 

Don Promotes Holiday Edition on Radio

Listen to Don Carney's ten-minute guest appearance earlier today on the radio, promoting the premiere of the Holiday Edition of On Assignment Magazine.

On Assignment Magazine is our new on-the-road TV series investigating stories of hope around the country. These are true stories, which both entertain and inspire the audience to take action and do work for God in their own lives. Click below for a trailer for the Holiday Edition, and more information about the new series.

 
 

Back to School, Back to the Sacred

As students head back to school this month, we at StoryTel are reminded of our quest to always keep learning new ways of restoring the sacred. Through the stories we share, we learn how God is working through ordinary people to make extraordinary things happen. 

One story of hope is our 2009 documentary Salem Christian School: All Things Are Possible. It chronicles one small school's courageous battle to keep bringing Jesus Christ and high-quality education to the children of inner-city Chicago. As you watch the film, you'll be inspired by the faith and dedication of the faculty and students as they pray for a miracle – and receive one. 

This true story reminds us that Christ-centered education is the first step in creating a Christ-centered life. There is perhaps no better way to restore the sacred than by teaching our children to love God and to integrate Him in every learning opportunity. As adults and parents, we can all have an impact on the next generation by providing and supporting authentic Christian education, whether in the classroom, in the home, at our churches, in the suburbs, or in the inner city.

Like an eager child on the first day of school, we at StoryTel are poised and ready to learn new lessons from courageous people across the country who are cooperating with God to restore the sacred, one school day at a time. 

Watch the full film:

Saving America One Soul at a Time

“When I sent the first priests to the United States, I gave them $4000. I told them, 'I have no more.' It was a trust in providence.” —Father Roberto Yannuzzi, Founder of Miles Christi Religious Order

As we celebrate Independence Day, we revisit our 2014 film about the Miles Christi Religious Order, an order dedicated to helping lay Catholics grow in holiness. Miles Christi: Soldiers of Christ in America tells the story of the order's founding in Argentina and how its "soldiers of Christ" were sent to the United States to inspire Americans to fight for holiness in the midst of a secular culture.

“We see a huge thirst around the United States. A thirst for something solid, sound doctrine, a spirituality that really reaches the soul.” —Father Yannuzzi

As highlighted on the film, the priests and brothers of Miles Christi lead silent retreats and other related activities based on the teachings of St. Ignatius all over the United States. By the end of the film, we learn that if we make Jesus first in our lives we will always be home.

“The spiritual exercise and the teaching of the [Ignatian] Spiritual Exercises is at the heart of their work. But clearly that expresses itself in a number of different ways in the work with youth, in individual spiritual direction and family-centered programs.” —Cardinal Raymond Burke

Much like the priests and brothers of the Miles Christi order, we at StoryTel are also trying to restore the sacred and thus restore our country, one viewer at a time. We are trying to bring hope and inspiration to individuals across the country through our films and videos, praying our nation will always be a land of freedom and faith. 

Watch the Miles Christi trailer below, or visit the film's page on our website to watch the whole thing online. 

If you can, please help StoryTel help our country!

Spiritual Fatherhood

Here at StoryTel, we think a lot about fatherhood. Perhaps it's because some of us are fathers, but it's also because we get to work with amazing priests who are spiritual fathers to us. We're grateful for their example of faith and respect for the sacred, which we try to illuminate through our films.

In honor of Father's Day, we'd like to share three short videos with you about the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood. We produced these with Father Paul Hoesing, former Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, when working on a past vocations project for the archdiocese. Father Hoesing is currently Dean of Seminarians and Director of Human Formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.

Watch and share! You never know who needs to hear this message.

Please consider reviewing more information about this kind of fatherhood, if you think you may be hearing the call. 

Jesus in the Streets: Corpus Christi

This weekend Catholics will celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi with processions all across the country. 

If you happen to be in Omaha, Neb., you won't have to look very far to see Jesus in the streets. Jesus, in His Eucharistic Presence, will leave the confines of several churches in Omaha and be carried into neighborhoods and city streets.

One parish continuing the centuries-old devotion of Eucharistic procession is St. Peter Catholic Church, the subject of StoryTel's documentary Where Heaven Meets Earth: Restoring the Sacred at St. Peter Church. On Sunday May 29, St. Peter will host its 11th annual Corpus Christi procession from Our Lady of Lourdes Church to St. Peter Church, a distance of 1.4 miles.

Decorated altars will provide places for benediction at points along the route, which winds through a historic residential area and park. At the end of the procession, fireworks and flower petal showers will greet the Blessed Sacrament and participants as they climb the steps of St. Peter Church. An ice cream reception will follow final benediction. See their website for more details.

StoryTel Film Inspired New Corpus Christi Devotion
To document this public display of faith, StoryTel filmed the St. Peter Corpus Christi procession and made the video available online, where it could serve as a model of this devotion and an example of faithful people restoring the sacred.

After viewing the video online, members of Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin, Mo., decided to host a Eucharistic procession of their own last year. On June 4 the parish will again bring Jesus into the streets of Ballwin. StoryTel's work formed a direct link between the two parishes and spread a vision of the sacred to another community hundreds of miles away.

See for Yourself
Watch the short video below to preview the St. Peter Corpus Christi procession and prepare to walk with Jesus in the streets this weekend.

Happy Mother's Day from StoryTel

Today we celebrate our mothers, grateful for the love they've shown us and the sacrifices they've made for us. We also celebrate adoptive mothers and spiritual mothers. Finally, we celebrate mothers who have courageously chosen life despite nearly impossible circumstances. 

The film below is our favorite of our five pro-life films from the StoryTel archives. Today we offer you the chance to view the film in its entirety for the first time online. Although filmed 16 years ago, its message of hope is still relevant today. 

As you watch the film, discover the wonderful work being done at The Women's Center in Chicago. Witness the courage of these young women who chose life for their children despite opposition from all involved. And meet the kind and generous staff and volunteers—ordinary people collaborating with God to do something extraordinary for these beautiful mothers and their babies.

We know you will enjoy this film. Happy Mother’s Day.

Don promotes upcoming TV series on Spirit Catholic Radio

Check out this clip from Don's in-studio guest appearance on Spirit Catholic Radio this morning. He talks about StoryTel, working with family members on film shoots, and our upcoming series, On Assignment Magazine.

At around 12 minutes, they play an audio clip of a sample of our in-development story about the annual Thanksgiving feast. Bruce, the co-host, said the clip gave him goosebumps. Check it out.