Stumbling into the Profound

In catechesis, we are always inches away from profound issues. Recently, I was collecting some confirmation assignments when one of my students told me that she hadn’t finished hers because “it was a bad week.” She wanted to know if it would be OK with the DRE if she turned in her material the following week. I urged her to be sure to do so. Several more times, she mentioned that “it was a bad week.” Then, after a brief pause, she elaborated: “My father died last week.” In a flash, we had gone from a confirmation assignment to the loss of a parent. Thankfully, I was able to just pause there and spend some time talking with her as she told me about the experience. Then I invited the rest of the class to join in praying for her, her family, and her deceased father. I am grateful that she felt compelled to talk to me about her dad’s death. I can only hope that she felt responded to in a compassionate manner. For all I know, it may be the only thing she remembers about me when all is said and done.


About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
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

1 Comment

  1. That goes to show you how one cannot possibly know where another person is coming from without communication.
    I lost my father when I was 6 years old, so I can tell you from experience that your actions touched this child just when she needed it most. God put you there for her at that moment, and she will never forget it.

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