The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Matthew Phillips: Finding his stride

At 23, Phillips became faith formation coordinator, PRE director for IHM

Published: August 31, 2019   
Dwain Hebda
Matthew Phillips admits he had some apprehension about joining the staff of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in North Little Rock.

Many new graduates feel nervous reporting to their first “real world” job after college. Matthew Phillips of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in North Little Rock (Marche) is no different.

Phillips, faith formation coordinator and PRE director for IHM, didn’t know what awaited him in his first class.

“I was expecting it to be very difficult, being so young, to work for the Church,” he said. “But everyone in the parish has been so supportive and they’ve all looked up to me, actually.”

Part of Phillips’ apprehension had to with his age — he’s 23 — and some of it had to do with the fact that he hadn’t planned on leading others to the Church as a profession. The Booneville native attended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., where he earned degrees in foreign language and history.

“I started applying to several different things throughout the diocese,” he said. “I do enjoy working for the Church, and I wanted to do something that was meaningful, not just a normal desk job.”

Pastor Father Rubén Quinteros reached out to Matthew’s mother Catherine Phillips, diocesan respect life director, and inquired if he’d consider the faith formation job. He was such a natural at it; he also got the chance to teach religion and seventh- and eighth-grade religion at Immaculate Heart of Mary School last year. This fall, he’s again in the classroom, this time with North Little Rock Catholic Academy. 

“What I enjoy about teaching is having the opportunity to actually help people grow,” Phillips said, “For me and my faith life, knowledge has been the strongest force.”

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