As a young teenager, when many youth are likely to enter a rebellious stage, internationally-acclaimed Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly started examining his spirituality with renewed interest and vigor and “really began to embrace Catholicism,” thanks to the guidance and support of a special mentor.

“When I was 15, a very powerful spiritual mentor came into my life,” Kelly recalled recently. “He encouraged me to explore Catholicism in new ways. He taught me to pray, encouraged me to read the Scriptures and helped me find answers to questions that I had.”

Since then, there’s been no looking back. Today Kelly, a native of Sydney, Australia, is founder and president of The Dynamic Catholic Institute, which strives to be an innovative leader in the New Evangelization by “developing world-class resources that inspire people.”

In addition, Kelly has authored more than 10 spiritually-based books that have been published in over 25 languages and have sold more than 10 million copies, as well as visiting at least 50 countries as a speaker, “helping Catholics and their parishes become the best version of themselves.”

“My life as a speaker and author just happened,” said Kelly. “I was in business school and some people invited me to speak at a small gathering. Someone there invited me to speak at something else. … People would hear me speak and say, ‘You should write about these things!’ So the writing emerged from the speaking.”

Kelly will share his wisdom and suggestions as a speaker during the 2015 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, March 12-15 in Anaheim, where he will present two workshops: “The Four Questions” (#1-13, presented 10-11:30 a.m., on Friday, March 13), and “Confirmation: Winning Young Hearts for Jesus and His Church” (#4-12, presented 10-11:30 a.m., on Saturday, March 14).

In “The Four Questions,” Kelly will discuss four common questions many people tend to grapple with most along their spiritual journey: Who am I? Why am I here? What matters most? What matters least? He will explore how to pursue meaningful answers to these questions and how to help others to do the same.

“Most of us say yes to things all the time we know we should be saying no to. In order for our yes to be a firm yes and our no to be an unwavering no, we need to develop a growing sense of who we are, what we are here for, what matters most and what matters least,” explained Kelly, regarding his first workshop.

In his second presentation, “Confirmation: Winning Young Hearts for Jesus and His Church,” Kelly will share an overview of The Dynamic Catholic Institute’s new confirmation program, “Decision Point,” which features a mobile app and online resources, and resulted from five years of research and development.

“The biggest project I have ever worked on is Decision Point [and] we learned so much about engaging young Catholics today,” said Kelly. “This knowledge is invaluable. … I am so excited to share these discoveries at Congress.”

The 2015 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress — themed “See” (“Ver”) — will begin with Youth Day on Thursday, March 12, and will run through Sunday, March 15 at the Anaheim Convention Center. According to Kelly, “There is nothing like [the Religious Education] Congress anywhere else in the world.”

“It is incredibly unique; it was visionary when it began and it remains visionary today,” said Kelly. “People from every state and dozens of countries attend because they know they will discover new ways to engage in the [Catholic] faith for themselves and new ways to enrich their parish communities.”