The Catechist's Toolbox – A Testimonial

Here is a wonderful testimonial about my new book, The Catechist’s Toolbox (Loyola Press). This endorsement was written by Sr. Judy Dieterle, Associate Director of the Office for Catechesis and Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Thanks Sr. Judy!

Over many years now as an Archdiocese we have provided training for new catechists as they step before their first group of learners. Our “handout” packet was continually growing, along with major concerns about destruction of trees and copyright issues around who actually created what we were distributing.

A year ago we did a major revision, refocusing the intent of the program and decided to provide a book for each participant rather than giving out a packet of handouts. The challenge was finding a book that contained what we needed.

This year at the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership one of our coordinators drew my attention to the advanced copy of The Catechist’s Toolbox. I took it to my room overnight, browsed through it, and returned to the booth the following day to order four hundred copies for our training program for new catechists.

Since then I have read the entire book. It offers an easy-to-understand comparison between the tools used in home repair and the tools needed by an effective catechist. It is extremely practical for the new catechist, offering many suggestions on how to transmit the faith to different age groups and learning styles. It offers ideas for praying, for developing learning objectives, for maintaining discipline, for assessment, and much more. The anecdotes and cartoons are enjoyable and keep it very easy to read.

Some of the aspects I like most about The Catechist’s Toolbox are the emphasis from the start on the vocation of the catechist, the necessity of ongoing formation and training along with the encouragement to participate in the certification processes of the diocese, the quotations from the Catechetical Documents, and the Scripture references and prayer at the end of each chapter.  We will be using this book to help train the new catechists and each of them will return home with a copy of the book so they can continue to glean its riches. We anticipate training around 400 new catechists this fall and look forward to the time when something of this caliber is available here in Spanish too.


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. Joe,
    I was just wondering how different this book is from TOOLS FOR TEACHING-Classroom Tips for Catechists. I have provided my catechists with copies of this book.
    I also remember your presentation on Tools for Teaching that you did for one of the clusters in Chicago. Thanks for all the work you do and keeping all of us grounded.

  2. Hi Pat. TOOLS FOR TEACHING went out of print a year or so ago. THE CATECHIST’S TOOLBOX is based on Tools for Teaching but is revised, updated, and expanded…I cover much more, especially in the area of the catechist’s vocation, leading prayer, learning styles (special needs), assessment, and references to the new NDC. In addition, IT’S CHEAPER! When buying 10 or more, it’s only $5!!! Such a deal. Thanks so much for asking, Pat.

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