How Do I Get Them to See?

One of the frustrations I experience as a catechist is trying to get the young people to recognize the gravity of the material we are covering. One week, we were learning about the cross of Jesus. What could be more profound? A couple of students had the giggles that night and couldn’t seem to control themselves. I try to handle discipline problems with an even hand and a calm demeanor, but I admit that inside I was screaming, “We are talking about the suffering and death of Jesus! We are talking about our eternal salvation! How can you giggle at a time like this?” It is a challenge to bring children face-to-face with profound issues in the course of an hour or so. I don’t want to come on too heavy, lest they think I’m a fanatic of some sort. But on the other hand, I don’t want to allow anything about the gospel to be taken lightly. After all, it is through the gospel that we are saved. The challenge is to convince our students that they NEED to be saved.

P.S. I recently attended a workshop titled “The 8 Steps for Successful Large-Scale Change” and the first step was identified as “Creating a Sense of Urgency.” It seems to me that the Gospel calls us to “large-scale change” and that, like John the Baptist and Jesus, we need to create a sense of urgency!


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

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