Welcome to Catechist's Journey!

Catechists are my favorite people. Why? Because catechists are intentional about their faith in a way that many Catholics are not. Catechists are very much aware of the call to live and preach the gospel in word and deed. Catechists are hungry to learn. Catechists are eager to get others excited about their faith in the same way that they are. And catechists like to have fun!

I consider myself lucky to be part of the community of catechists in the United States—nearly 500,000 of us. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider that there are approximately 65 million Catholics in the United States, catechists make up less than 1 percent of the population of Catholics!

I am an eighth-grade catechist in a parish in Evergreen Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. (For more about me, click here. To watch my introductory video clip, see below.) We are several months into our program, and things are coming along very nicely. I am teamed with another catechist, Patty, and together we have established a rapport with the kids. Rapport is so important—and so elusive. The key to good rapport in teaching is to remember that we, as catechists, are not called to be the kids’ friends. We’ve gotten to know all their names. We treat them in a friendly manner, with courtesy and respect, but with an air of authority that comes from being entrusted with proclaiming the gospel. To teach with authority, as Jesus did, is not to be authoritarian. Rather, it is to teach in such a manner as to make it possible to act on what is being taught. Patty and I have made it clear that we take our roles very seriously. The kids seem to respect that—they don’t want their time wasted. With this approach, we have been able to nip some immature behavior in the bud and establish an atmosphere that communicates deep respect for our faith.

How is your catechetical year going so far? What kind of start did you have? What challenges are you facing? What joys are you experiencing? What does it mean for you to teach with authority?

About Joe Paprocki 2751 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 www.catechistsjourney.com.

12 Comments on Welcome to Catechist's Journey!

  1. Hi Joe,
    This is awesome!! What a terrific idea and so needed. I will forward your info on to the catechists who have emails so they can also enjoy and walk with you.
    Barbara Koop

  2. Congrats, Joe! What a wonderful idea and such practical stories. I’ve shared this info with my catechists and hope they’ll visit your blog often. Blessings and THANKS for sharing your gifts in this creative way! Luanne Wilhelm

  3. Thank you, Joe, for extending such a generous invitation to share the journey of catechesis and exhorting us not to “go it alone”. How true it is that our ministry is sustained by the companionship of others!

    I’ve passed along the link to Junior High catechists at OLPH. For those of us who haven’t participated in a “blog” before, any ground rules or guidelines?

  4. Regina, thanks for visiting and spreading the word about Catechist’s Journey. I look forward to hearing from your junior high catechists. Don’t worry about groundrules. Folks can just submit comments which I then moderate to make sure that everything that goes up is ready for “prime-time.”

  5. hi joe,

    as a dre i am always on the look out for good stuff for my catechists.

    i will be sure to tell them on sunday at our meeting about this site and about your part of it.

  6. Joe, great idea. I teach tenth grade confirmation. I get blown away almost every week by my students. They want so much to believe in our faith, but are not getting all that they need from their parents or parish all the time. No matter how well prepared I think I am, they come up with the most challenging questions. Let’s all pray for one another, we need the help.

  7. Jerry, thanks for joining in the conversation. No doubt we are strengthened by our prayers for one another and for those we teach!

  8. Joe,
    I really enjoy your site. I share your ideas with my Catechists. I also use them with the 7th Grade Class I co-teach. Thank you! Happy Birthday or Anniversary!
    Wishing you His peace,
    Sr. Dominic

  9. Happy Anniversary! I just want to thank you for your continued educational work to all of out here in cyberspace. A friend of mine referred me to the Ignatious Retreats on line, that lead me to you! I have been a CCD teacher for a few years, mostly out of love to my good Lord and Dear Virgin Mary, time constraints, family, work, etc., many times have not given me the opportunity to continue my studies in religion. Your website, blogs, seminars, etc. have, instantly!!! But most of all your inspirational ideas and love of teaching. Thank you for passing this along to us, for sharing with us the love of Christ. I am a Schonenstatt member and you sir, are a great example of God’s divine light, shining forth in you towards others. Thank you and Happy Anniversary.

  10. I just found this sight! I am finishing my second year as a DRE. I am interested in learning as much as I can. I have some gret catechist and I want to keep it that way.

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