ROGERS — Best-selling author and internationally acclaimed speaker Matthew Kelly will bring his own brand of dynamic evangelization to two churches in the state for back-to-back, one-day engagements.
St. Joseph Church in Conway and St. Raphael Church in Springdale will host Kelly as he presents his “Passion and Purpose Live” with musical guest Eliot Morris. On Friday, March 6, from 7-10:45 p.m. he will appear in Conway and Saturday, March 7 from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in Springdale.
“We really wanted to reach out to families and to evangelize to them where they are at,” said Dawn Pajor, director of youth ministry at St. Joseph and organizer of the one-night event. “Kelly is relatable and he can step into everyday challenges as a Catholic, and he makes his stories humorous and interesting for everyone.”
Born in Sydney, Australia, Kelly is probably best known for his books that have been published in 25 languages and have sold more than seven million copies. But, as well as being a New York Times best-selling author and a speaker in more than 25 countries, Kelly is also a partner at Floyd Consulting, a Chicago-based management-consulting firm.
Kelly is also credited with establishing the Matthew Kelly Foundation in 1995 to help young people discover their mission in life and most recently initiated a grade-school program titled, “Why Am I Here?” He has also written programs for students being confirmed and is currently writing a program for those receiving their first Communion.
Raised a Catholic, Kelly is married and a father of three children. His background also inspired him to begin “The Dynamic Catholic Institute” to research why Catholics engage or disengage in their Catholic communities.
Two of his books, “Rediscovering Catholicism” and “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” have been instrumental in making his name recognizable in the both the Conway parish and the northwest Arkansas deanery.
In 2013, St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers gave “Rediscovering Catholicism” as gifts to parishioners at Christmas. Later, during Lent of 2014, the church also gave out “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.” Then in August, the parish hosted the deanery’s inaugural event, the Ozark Liturgical Conference with great success.
“We can see God’s hand in all of this,” said Judene Kuszak, director of religious education at St. Vincent de Paul. “This event was already planned to happen at St. Raphael’s when we hosted the conference, so people knew about it and are now excited to see Kelly in person after reading his books.”
St. Raphael’s Women’s Council in Springdale also bought “Rediscovering Catholicism” books as an outreach program and gave the books to parishioners at the Our Lady of Guadalupe festival and at Christmas in December.
“I know this event will be a huge success and recharge a lot of people in their faith and help kick-start their journeys,” said Nancy Phillips, youth director at St. Raphael.
Both events have sold already about 550 tickets. Organizers in both cities expect to reach at least 800 in ticket sales in the coming weeks, but say the churches can seat 1,000 and that is their goal.
Pajor said Bishop Anthony B. Taylor challenged the confirmation candidates back in 2013 to “get out of the boat” like the disciples were asked to do.
“I hope we as a parish can ‘get out of the boat’ and reach out and evangelize to families and that people will understand the gift of their faith,” she said.
This one-day event is about living every day with passion and purpose, according to event planners, and it gives participants a clearer understanding of God’s plan in their lives in a real and practical way.
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