I’ve been speaking about the Catholic faith for more than a decade…and I love it! There’s nothing like seeing someone’s jaw drop when they finally understand the mind-blowing opportunities God lays before us, or watching tears running down the cheeks of a person overwhelmed by His love. The same things still happen to me, even when I’m the speaker!

I’m honored to be considered for any event. But while I’ve given hundreds of talks to thousands of people, I’ve been on the other side of the equation, too.

I know arranging speakers for an event is no easy task. So to make things easier, allow me to fill in a little of my background so you or your committee can make a good decision. But please don’t just take my word for any of the following. Read the endorsements to the right  from people who’ve hired me, or just listened to me as an audience member.

A Little About Me

I’ve been speaking and writing about the Catholic faith for more than a decade and am the Founder of Next Level Catholic Academy, an online membership community designed to instruct, inspire, and ignite a fire of love for God.

I’ve published several books and have more in the works. For more than a decade I served as the executive director and executive producer at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and was a vice president at Ave Maria College before that. A former radio host, I now blog and host a popular podcast show titled, “The Art of Catholic”.

In addition to my own show, I’ve been on CBS, Relevant Radio, Redeemer Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio, Guadalupe Radio, EWTN, and Shalom Media, to name a few. Additionally, I’ve published a number of articles, two books, and am a featured by Lighthouse Catholic Media and have appeared in the Magnificat.

What to Expect?

I’m a professional. Every time I step up to a microphone I’m fully aware of the responsibility God has put in front of me. I know my material and deliver it to the very best of my ability. I believe that content plus presentation equals transformation. So I strive to create dynamic talks that inspire people to seek God above anything else.

Professionalism doesn’t only happen on stage, of course. I’m also very prompt with regard to any necessary communications or materials leading up the event. I’m not a high maintenance guy, and want to make it as easy possible for all involved. I’ll be where I’m supposed to be on time, will gladly sign every book put in front of me, and really enjoy mingling with the crowd.

Are My Talks Highfalutin?

I speak for regular Catholics. While I’m often seen sporting a bow tie (which I think are cool), I’m not an academic. Yes, I have a master’s degree in theology (with Highest Honors) from Franciscan University, but all of my talks are geared for Joe and Judy Catholic – those people sitting in the pew next to you at Mass. Over the years I’ve become very adept at taking “deeper” topics and making them accessible and inspiring for all Catholics.

I’m not exaggerating. Not since Fulton Sheen have I heard a speaker so effective at motivating ordinary Catholics to step up their prayer lives and take their faith more seriously.” Mike Aquilina – EWTN Personality & author of more than 40 books

I’m also a fun-loving guy and tend to use a lot of humor. The Catholic life is a joy, so even when discussing serious topics I like to keep people chuckling (or flat out slapping their knees).

At What Types of Events Do I Speak?

20130927_ven_bible study_03I get around a fair bit, speaking all over North America, and sometimes places where an ocean must be crossed. While I often speak for retreats or parish missions, I regularly address conference audiences of more than 1,000 people.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of men’s conferences, women’s conferences, family events, young adult gatherings, and everything in-between. (Not sure what else is in-between, but I’ve done it.) As long as your event is for humans, I can do it.

I’m often asked to give more than one talk at an event, which is fine by me. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to give three talks for a one-day event when I’m the only speaker.


My wheelhouse is prayer, the interior life, and all other aspects of Catholic spirituality. My heroes include Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, and Fr. Jean Pierre de Cassaude…along with a host of other spiritual greats. (I named my first son after St. John Paul II, though we call him Jack so as to not confuse anyone.)

My driving passion is to ignite a fire within people’s hearts for holiness. And I don’t just talk about prayer and spirituality, I teach how to do them – how to go deeper. I’m very practical.

I also have a deep background in Sacred Scripture. In fact, I’m the host of the Journey Through Scripture video Bible study series, a program from the St. Paul Center. I’m a firm believer, along with Pope Benedict XVI, that Scripture is the “soul of theology.” I mix a lot of the Bible into my talks.

My Most Requested Talks

Below are a list of some of my most requested keynote presentations, which can be combined when multiple talks are requested. I’ve written my talks so that they easily build off of one another when I’m giving multiple talks at one event. I have other talks in addition to what you see below.

MatthewLeonard_Retouched - Version 2My Conversion Story – How does a Protestant pastor’s kid and former missionary to Latin America preaching to Catholics end up Catholic himself? Matthew describes his road into the arms of Mother Church, including many of the issues he had to deal with. It’s a journey filled with study, a few tears, and some big laughs.

Pray Like a Saint: Wisdom For Growing Closer to God – According to Scripture, every one of us is called to “be perfect” and to “pray without ceasing.” Prayer is the path to God and we’ve been doing it all our lives. But are we really praying? Are we really progressing toward holiness, perfection, and a deep relationship with God? In this talk we’ll define and discuss the three traditional stages of prayer as taught by spiritual greats like St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Francis de Sales. We won’t just talk theory, but lay out the practical steps to achieve union with God through deep prayer even in the midst of this busy, distracting world. Because if you’re not praying, you’re not living.

Spiritual GPS: The 3 Stages of the Spiritual Life – Many spiritual writers refer to the “science of sainthood.” It’s the defined process by which we achieve union with God, our ultimate destiny – a mode of life beyond what anyone can imagine.

This talk explains the three traditional stages of Catholic spiritual life
as taught by spiritual greats like St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, and so many others. I also explain how to achieve a life of true peace and happiness in the craziness of this world as you move through the stages of the spiritual journey. This is what life is all about – now and forever!

Love Hurts: The Truth Behind Redemptive Suffering – Unfortunately, no one can escape suffering. But don’t be discouraged! Christ proclaims a new idea of love that gives meaning to human suffering, penance, and ultimately, death. In fact, there’s a powerful secret that unlocks how we can “rejoice in the Lord always” just like St. Paul, no matter what happens! After all, there is absolutely no reason Catholics shouldn’t be the most joyful people on earth regardless of earthly circumstances.

Heaven Our Beautiful End: Exploring the Timeless Mystery of Heaven – It doesn’t do any good to tell people they must die to themselves to be good Catholics if we don’t also tell them what they’re dying for, namely, a heaven that is beyond our wildest imaginations. True, Scripture tells us straight up that we can’t know, or even imagine the depth of the joy and pleasure of eternity spent with God. That being said, divine revelation and human experience do provide us with some clues that can help motivate us to achieve the Beatific Vision. We’ll discuss the nature and role of beauty in this life, particularly how it sheds light on the nature of God and assists us in achieving our glorious, beautiful end.

The priestNo Regrets: The Art of Living as a Catholic – “If only I’d done this!” “If only I’d done that!” These are not statements we want to make at the end of our lives, especially when we face our Maker. But in a world that presents us with an almost infinite number of options, what are the things that make up a “Catholic” life? What makes us different? How are we supposed to live?  This talk provides the answers.  While our paths can certainly go in any number of directions, God provides foundations upon which we can build and enjoy a full, purposeful, adventurous life that is both satisfying now and prepares us for eternity. There’s no reason to settle for less and every reason to perfect our “art of living.”