Why you want to know the Kellermans: Lifelong Catholics Austin and Laura Kellerman grew up in Texas, about 20 miles apart, but did not meet until college. For the past four years, Austin has been the news director for television stations KARK 4 and Fox 16 in Little Rock. Laura is the community service awards producer for the station on a freelance basis and is a portrait photographer for Lyndsey Sullivan Photography in Little Rock.
Laura brought the Focolare movement (or “Work of Mary”) to Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church in Little Rock. Originating during World War II in Italy, the movement is focused on making God the center of a person’s life. Laura’s uncle, Bishop W. Michael Mulvey of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, introduced her family to Focolare, which her parents passed along to her.
For more than a year, the Kellermans and about eight others have met twice a month to focus on specific Scripture verses and the movement’s core value of unity with others.
Names: Austin, 34, and Laura Kellerman, 35
Parish: Our Lady of the Holy Souls
City: Little Rock
Family: Married 11 years; they have one daughter, Kate, 4, who attends pre-K at Holy Souls.
Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “Grow in your Family of Faith.” What are some ways you learn about Jesus and Church teachings?
Austin: Laura leads a Word of Life group, which is based on teachings of the Focolare movement.
Laura: It’s about putting the Gospel into practice one verse at a time so that really does help us grow because there’s a different verse every month.
How do you try to live out your faith in everyday life?
Austin: I think when it comes down to it it’s just about how you treat people and being supportive, yet stern, treating people the way you want to be treated.
Laura: I grew up with the spirituality of the Focolare movement, which is the spirituality of unity … kind of the goal is from John 17:21; “Father may they all be one.”
What is the best part about working in journalism?
Austin: Being there when they need someone, whether it’s a severe weather issue and you’re giving them lifesaving information to protect themselves or whether it’s educational things that help them make decisions on where they take their kids to school or safety trends; I enjoy that aspect of it. For us, it’s something new every day.
Laura: We get kind of defensive … when people say the news is all bad. And it’s like, pay attention to the good stuff. It’s not all bad; it’s probably 60 percent informational or positive.
What do you do with the Focolare movement at Holy Souls?
Laura: We read a sentence of the Gospel and kind of talk about what that means to us individually. We try to talk about how we put it into practice over the last two weeks … a lot of times we’ll read more meditative writings from Chiara Lubich (founder of Focolare) on that particular topic or verse. … It’s really a discovery of the joy of the Gospel. It’s fun to live out your faith.
How has being a part of this group strengthened your marriage?
Laura: We’re the only married couple that attends. … Being able to share your spirituality in front of your spouse is difficult sometimes for some people.
Austin: We learn about each other because you’re so busy during the week and when you get home at the end of the day you’re not going to sit there and ask, “What did you do nice today?” … You’re focused on living a certain way together.
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