Hello everybody. Sorry about the delay between posts, but today’s book review should be worth it. I read a little while ago but never got around to talking about Matthew Kelly’s “Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.” Matthew Kelly is the head of the Dynamic Catholic group, which is working to make a difference for Catholics around the country and the world. The book is 215 pages, and written in a quick and easy-to-read style. Bishop Donald J. Hying recently wrote a blog for the Catholic Herald on this book and how to pray and that made me think that I could give my two cents on this excellent work.

According to Kelly, this book was a result of some research that his Dynamic group did in order to find out what the difference was between “the highly engaged and disengaged Catholics.” The numbers are rather incredible. Instead of the business model 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work, his group discovered that in many parishes 7 percent of the people donate 80 percent of the funds and time to their parish. Now, these people were highly diverse in many ways, however they found four things that almost all held in common: prayer, study, generosity and evangelization.

He then breaks down these four signs, and shows small simple ways for somebody to actively work on them. Big changes can be very difficult to make, but small incremental changes have a way of growing into something amazing. For instance, for prayer he suggests that, if you do not have regular daily prayer right now, to try to just take a minute or two out of a day and pray. He also gives suggestions for these simple prayers. Once this becomes routine, add a minute or two more, and all of a sudden you are at 10-15 minutes of daily prayer. He said the same with studying. Generosity is not just about money but also being generous with your time and other gifts. These common sense and simple efforts can help change.

This book examines how a person can make changes to become more involved in his or her parish and faith. Once you do this, you can then help others increase their spirituality as well. In the final part of the book, Kelly hits the reader with some harsh realities of the numbers of Catholics participating in weekly Mass and their parishes. He then makes a rather interesting point that, although Catholicism is the number one religion in America, it has not been as much by evangelization but rather by the immigration to this country of Catholic groups, such as the Italians and the Irish, and because their offspring remain Catholic. He challenges us to change that, to evangelize more, and says that any changes in the percentages of Catholics highly engaged in the church can make a world of difference.

One other thing about Kelly’s book; it’s dedicated to helping parishes help their parishioners. But if an individual is interested in purchasing more than six copies of the book, they are then $3 per copy. That’s it. So this would make a great gift to get for a group of people. Go to www.dynamiccatholic.com for more information under the Book Program tab. Otherwise you would be able to purchase the books available individually as well.

As always, if you have any ideas and comments for things I could change, please let me know. If you have any books that you have read or have read the books I mention, please leave a comment. We here at Salzmann also want to know what people are reading. Comments are always appreciated – anything I can do to make this better I will strive my best to accomplish.

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