Matthew Kelly: On Faith and Fatherhood

Matthew Kelly: On Faith and Fatherhood

I had the pleasure of interviewing internationally known author, motivational speaker and lifelong Catholic Matthew Kelly for the August issue of St. Anthony Messenger

Many know the Australian-born Matthew as a dynamic and impassioned voice in the Catholic world, but I was disarmed by how grounded he was. Though he spoke at length about his worldwide travels and best-selling books, Matthew seemed more enlivened talking about his wife, Meggie, and his son, Walter. (They are expecting a baby girl this month.) 

Below is a snippet of our interview. 

Q. You have a huge appeal with younger Catholics. What advice do you give them in regard to their faith and potential?

A. I give the same advice to people of all ages: Explore the faith, read great Catholic books, listen to great Catholic speakers. If you have a question or a doubt, explore it rather than letting it fester. Dive in deep to an issue that you have questions about or disagree with. It is there that you will discover the genius of Catholicism.

Q. Do you feel young Catholics are disengaged from the Church and from their faith? If so, how can they be energized?

A. Disengagement is a huge problem in the Church across all age groups. When 70 percent of Catholics don’t go to church on Sunday, isn’t it time we did something? I think it is. The most successful program we have for reengaging disengaged Catholics is our parish book program. In 2008 we started making copies of Rediscover Catholicism available in bulk to parishes for just $2 a copy so they could pass them out at Christmas Masses. It is our opportunity to re-engage them, and we didn’t want them going home empty-handed. Books change our lives. It’s amazing how a good book can bring someone back to the Church. Only one percent of American Catholics read a Catholic book last year. That has to change if we are going to energize Catholics and increase the level of engagement in the Church. 

Q. What do you love most about being a dad?

A. What I love most is the privilege of watching my son, Walter, grow and develop. The development of a child is a wonderful testament to the loving genius of God that exists in every aspect of nature, but especially in the human person. 

Matthew Kelly and son, Walter


Q. What message do you want to convey to your son?

A. That his mother, Meggie, and I love him, that we live for him, that in small ways each day we are willing to lay down our lives for him. Through this I hope he develops an appreciation of our faith and God’s dream for him to become the best version of himself.  

Q. What words of encouragement can you give to fathers today?

A. The same words of encouragement I speak to myself from time to time in my work, in my marriage and in my parenting: Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do. 

On 7.22.2011, the rest of the article will be found here

Featured image: Arvind Balaraman
Inset image: Ronald S. Riegler


About the Author

Christopher Heffron is the associate editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine and the editor of its digital edition. He is also the social media editor at Franciscan Media and the editor of,, and this blog site. A seeker at heart, he's a student of pop culture and a lover of good movies, good wine, and good times spent with family and friends.