Sister Linda LaMagna was surfing the Internet about a year and a half ago when she came across a site called, Dynamic Catholic.
"It just kind of popped up," she said. Wanting to learn more, she ordered one of the recommended books, "Rediscover Catholicism" and listened to the CD, "Becoming the Best Version of Yourself." Both are by Matthew Kelly, international Catholic speaker and New York Times bestselling author.
Her website encounter has led to an event with Kelly that is being sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown through Dynamic Catholic.
(Courtesy photo) Matthew Kelly makes a point while addressing a crowd at one of his seminars. He will speak on “Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose” Sept. 27 at the Maurice Stokes Building at Saint Francis University, Loretto.
Kelly of Cincinnati will speak about "Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose" from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Maurice Stokes Building at Saint Francis University, Loretto. He will be accompanied by singer/songwriter Eliot Morris of Memphis, Tenn.
Cost is $39 for adults and $15 for high school and college students. Tickets may be purchased by visiting dioceseaj.org or calling Sister Linda at 674-3712 or emailing her at llamagna
@dioceseaj.org. Full-price tickets also may be purchased at DynamicCatholic.com.
If you go
Who: Matthew Kelly
What: Dynamic Catholic Seminar "Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose"
When: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 27
Where: Maurice Stokes Building, Saint Francis University, Loretto
Cost: $39; $15, students
Tickets: Visit dioceseaj
@dioceseaj.org or call 674-3712
Materials from Dynamic Catholic - a CD, a book and a journal are included in the price. Complimentary snacks and light refreshments will be served during the two breaks. Participants should take a lunch.
Sister Linda of the Carmelite Community of the Word, said reading and listening to Kelly's materials renewed her enthusiasm for her faith and she wanted to share her enthusiasm with others.
"His message is about loving God and making him the center of our lives," she said, adding that it is also Pope Francis' message.
As ministry coordinator of evangelism, a part of the Parish Life Office for the diocese, Sister Linda thought a seminar led by Kelly would encourage Catholics to share their faith as well as enrich their spiritual growth.
She approached Monsignor Robert C. Mazur, who directs the Parish Life Office, about the idea.
She and Mazur received received approval from Bishop Mark L. Bartchak for the diocese to host the event and Sponsor-finance Marketing and Matthew Kelly Event committees have been formed to work out the details.
Sister Linda said Kelly "takes the basic Catholic traditions and puts energy underneath them."
"His message fits in well with Pope Francis calling us to step up our faith a few notches and to impact the world with our faith," she said.
Kelly, a husband, father of three and a partner at Floyd Consulting, offers ways to do that which require a few minutes a day or weekly.
A Catholic who has learned to make some of those ideas part of her life is Mary Beth Schmidhamer of Altoona, who traveled 500 miles to hear Kelly two years ago.
She learned about him when someone gave her "Rediscover Catholicism."
"I read it and I wanted more,"she said.
She went to the Dynamic Catholic website to locate Kelly's speaking engagements. She was willing to travel to Hudson, N.H., or Savannah, Ga., to attend an event and commited to the nine-hour trip to the New England retreat.
"I made it part of my summer vacation," she said. "I went to Cape Cod for a few days, then on to Hudson."
Although Kelly shares some of the material that can be found in his books or CDs at his speaking engagements, Schmidhamer is glad she saw him in person.
"He's very energetic, very informative and he's funny. It was well worth the trip," she said.
She continues to apply his tips, such as spending 15 minutes a day reading the Bible or a good book, as part of her everyday life.
She said the seminar enhanced her faith and she is more involved in her parish and does volunteer work for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Schmidhamer also is a society member of the Carmelite Community of the Word and belongs to the Cathedral Charismatic Prayer Group.
Kim Kline of the St. Augustine area did not travel as far as Schmidhamer to attend a seminar, but she, too, was impressed with an event.
She and a friend traveled to Collegeville last fall to hear Kelly speak.
"I was really intrigued by his message," she said. "He's a very charismatic speaker. He draws the audience into his topic. It's not a lecture. He makes the audience part of the presentation."
Kline said she uses the Mass journal she receive at the Collegeville event to record a point that she learned at the Mass that helps her to grow or improve her thinking and reviews it during the week.
She is looking forward to hearing Kelly speak again.
Sister Linda said, "His message is about loving God and making him the center of our lives."