About Joe Paprocki
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press. He has more than 30 years of experience in ministry and has taught at many different levels. He is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller The Catechist’s Toolbox and Under the Influence of Jesus.

Catechists on the Move

Do you sit still when you teach? I can’t and almost never do. Part of it is just my own style…I like to move around. But I also recommend it to catechists for several reasons. One, I think it keeps kids more engaged if you are “on the move.” Visually, if you are moving around, you are creating a sense of energy and enthusiasm. If you’re sitting still, it is more likely to look tired. Two, […]

A Sane Conversation About Catechesis

Some of you may have been witness to the on-again, off-again debacle over at Catechist Connection, a forum for catechists. Suffice to say that forum is now deceased. In the spirit of charity, I’ll withhold any comments and opinions about the demise of that forum which showed such promise. Instead, I invite catechists to engage in a sane conversation about catechesis right here at Catechist’s Journey. Click on Comments under any of my posts and […]

Lifelong Learning: the "Charism" of Catechists

This is a recent comment I left on Catechist Connection (which has re-opened), concerning catechist formation: I’m a big advocate of catechist formation. I think catechists should be models of lifelong learning. If catechists were like a religious community, I think that lifelong learning about the Catholic faith would be our “charism.” This learning can happen whenever possible, however possible: workshops, seminars, courses of study, online learning, reading, videos, and so on. No one size […]

Honoring Dr. King

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity to explore various aspects of the Gospel, in particular: love of enemies, turning the other cheek, social justice, and non-violence to name a few. I know that some catechists resist connecting their lessons to Dr. King because he was not Catholic. To me, that’s not only a missed opportunity, but a shame. Dr. King’s life and legacy represent a […]

Catechist Connection

Not too long ago, I mentioned a forum for catechists called the Catechist Connection. Unfortunately, that forum closed up shop. There were some good threads going and I encourage catechists who were deeply involved in discussion on that forum to send their comments here. In my posts, I’ll be happy to address issues that are brought forth in comments so that the discussions about issues of importance to catechists can keep going.

Silence is Golden

I mentioned the other day that for the beginning of Advent, I invited the kids to pray in silence at the start of class. A friend of mine who used to be a 6th grade catechist remarked, “Oh, that’s the way I prayed with them almost all of the time.” I thought that was very refreshing. We sometimes think of prayer as a space that we have to fill up with words, when what we […]

Memorization and Catechesis

I mentioned recently that I will be checking to see if my students have memorized (taken to heart) certain prayers outlined in the parish curriculum. I grew up at a time when memorization in catechesis had fallen upon hard times. Sure, I learned the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, but not much else. As a result, I grew up deprived of quick access to a major part of our Catholic Tradition. I recall […]

What's This Obsession with FUN?

As I surf around various web pages and blogs where catechists are in discussion with one another, I can’t help but notice an obsession that many catechists have with the idea of making their classes FUN. Now, before you start thinking that I’m some kind of sourpuss, let me explain that I know what catechists are talking about. They are concerned when kids are bored and rightly so. However, I think that our goal is […]

Assessment in Catechesis: Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessment is exactly what the name implies: it is genuine and real. Authentic assessment is performance-based: learners put into action what they’ve been learning. Beyond being able to speak or write about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, learners must have opportunities to live out the call to discipleship. Service Experiences—Provide suggestions for specific ways that your learners can put their faith into practice serving others, either individually or as a […]

Assessment in Catechesis: Informal Assessment

Informal assessment asks the question: What can you do with what you know and how do you do it? Ongoing—Include opportunities to assess your participants’ grasp of concepts by observing their participation in discussions, group work, prayer/reflection, and service to others. Specific Tasks—Include specific opportunities to evaluate verbal (oral and written) and non-verbal (drawn, crafted, etc.) expressions and responses. These need not be quizzes or tests but may simply be activities that invite your participants […]

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