About Joe Paprocki
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

The Spirituality of the Catechist: An Openness to God (Online Retreat Week 2)

Welcome back to the Spirituality of the Catechist, our online retreat. This week we’ll look at the first characteristic of our spirituality: An Openness to God. Thank you for posting your introductions last week as we began our retreat. Your stories were very inspiring, and they helped to form a sense of community among us retreatants. If you’re just joining us, you can read the overview and introductions here (Feel free to add your own!) […]

Now Here: The Effective Catechetical Leader Series

Just about 20 years ago, I was minding my own business at the Office for Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Chicago when Loyola Press approached me and asked me to contribute to a new series they were working on in collaboration with NCCL called The Effective DRE Skills Development Series. Not only did the series go on to touch the lives of numerous catechetical leaders, the contact with Loyola Press eventually led to an invitation to […]

Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ: Hard to Swallow?

Once, when I gave a Scripture presentation to a group of adults, an elderly gentleman came up to me afterwards and said, “I don’t understand why God seems to be all over the place in the Old Testament, but he’s nowhere to be found in the New Testament.” My guess is that he was referring to the dramatic theophanies of the Old Testament, such as the burning bush. I replied, “Oh, no, God is very present in […]

The Spirituality of the Catechist: Overview of Our Online Retreat and Introductions

Welcome to the Spirituality of the Catechist, an online retreat for catechists. This retreat is an opportunity for those of us involved in all aspects of faith formation to be renewed in spirit and to deepen our bonds with the Lord and with one another. There’s no need to register. There’s no fee. Retreat posts will all be here on Catechist’s Journey on Tuesdays and Thursdays this summer. Let’s start with an overview of the […]

Don’t Put Words in God’s Mouth!

When teaching others, especially children, about Scripture, we often find ourselves paraphrasing the actual Scripture passage in order to use words that more closely resonate with contemporary experience. This is all well and good, and I do it myself all the time; however, it is important that we expose people to the actual Scripture passages we are summarizing to ensure that we are not putting words in God’s mouth! Recently, I overheard someone speaking to […]

How Do We Know If We’re Teaching Effectively? Authentic Assessment in Faith Formation

When I speak at catechetical conferences, I try to sit in on other speakers’ presentations to learn and to see what’s hot and what’s not in the world of catechesis. I usually try to be a fly on the wall, but occasionally I feel compelled to ask a question. Once, I unwittingly and unintentionally brought a workshop to a screeching halt by doing just that! The presenter was a prominent figure in the world of catechesis […]

Learning by Empowerment

We sometimes get the notion that when Jesus performed miracles, the disciples just watched from the sidelines. Not so in the story of Jesus Feeding the 5000 in the Gospel of Mark (6:33–44)! In fact, when the disciples alert Jesus to the need to feed the crowds, Jesus’ response is “You give them something to eat.” (NIV) As the story progresses, the disciples do not remain passive. They do the following: take inventory of what is […]

Supporting Parents When Children Are Preparing for the Sacraments

Perhaps the question I am asked most when I’m on the road giving presentations is, “What can we do to get parents more involved?” Even Pope Francis issued a call for parents to “come out of exile” to educate their children. From start to finish—from the first day that parents bring their children to religious education until the day they complete their formal formation—we should be speaking to parents, not about how they can pitch […]

The Spirituality of the Catechist: An Online Retreat for Catechists

This summer, take some time, from the comfort of your own home and at times convenient to you, for an online retreat here at Catechist’s Journey. We’ll spend the summer reflecting on the spirituality of the catechist, focusing on six characteristics as outlined in the Guide for Catechists (Section II, 6–10): An Openness to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) An Openness to the Church An Openness to the World A Coherence and Authenticity of […]

Faith Formation Isn’t Self-Improvement

You may hear parents or others in your faith community talk about catechesis like it’s a self-improvement course. While following Jesus and growing closer to God will hopefully improve our lives, the goal is not self-improvement. The entire message of Salvation through Jesus Christ is that we are incapable of saving ourselves and are in need of a divine intervention, which means a renouncing of the self. Our destiny is not to become a better […]

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