TELLING the story of how he found Jesus in his small country town, renowned author and podcaster Matt Fradd left the Real Talk Australia annual dinner in fits of laughter at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor on May 23.
Sponsors, clergy, seminarians, Catholic professionals and faithful flocked to support Real Talk – a Catholic organisation that engages young people on God’s plan for relationships, sexuality and love.
The highlight of the evening was Mr Fradd’s story of conversion and discovery at the age of 17.
And his true-blue style retelling his painfully passionate encounter with the faith hit the mark.
One story was from when he had just found God in his teenage years and went to a school fundraising day, raising money for a third world country with different stalls.
Mr Fradd said one of the stalls there was a face-painting stall.
“I went and I sat down on the chair, and, you know, everyone was getting different things – Crows colours, you’ve heard of the Crows (football team) – and she said, ‘What do you want on your face?’,” he said. “And I said, ‘Just paint Jesus in gold across my face’.
“And she said, ‘No, but really?’
“And I went – “Really’.”
But his humour was always indicative of the “solid joy” his faith brought him.
“I found this joy and it was beautiful, and I didn’t care that I was weird to people,” Mr Fradd said.
After his conversion, Mr Fradd worked in a number of ministries, including NET (National Evangelisation Teams) Ministries and in Brisbane archdiocese as a parish youth minister.
His talk also weaved in his discovery of the philosophical side of the faith and with the philosophical side of faithlessness too.
And Mr Fradd also said he sincerely admired the work Real Talk had done.
“I know if Real Talk came to my school, I couldn’t help but be moved by it,” he said.
“I just know the work you guys are doing is super great.”
Real Talk is set to reach its 150,000th young person this year.
Its programs have expanded from high school and now reach primary school, teaching holistic and values-based health and sexual education.
“(Real Talk) are just fantastic, I mean just awesome, normal people talking about the joy of the Church’s plan for human sexuality – God’s plan for human sexuality,” Mr Fradd said.
“When you look out to the society, there’s a lot of joylessness even with people who are hooking up – especially people who are hooking up – where’s this deep laughter, where’s this solid joy you know?
“And I think you see that in people who have heard the Gospel and are saving themselves for marriage or are choosing to reject sin daily and pursue virtue, that’s where you see real joy.
“So it’s a tremendous sign of hope.”