Planning the Calendar

I’ll be talking with my DRE today about finalizing the schedule (syllabus) for the year for grade 8. I know that both of us will have to resist the temptation to “try to do too much.”

There’s so much great stuff packed into the textbook (Finding God, Loyola Press) and we also schedule a number of additional events that take us out of the classroom and into the Church, meaning that there’s just never enough time to do it all.

I keep going back to the notion of: it’s better to do a few things and to do them exceptionally well than it is to do a number of things only fairly well.

I think the same holds true for each class that we teach. Sometimes we try to do so many things that we end up accomplishing very little. It’s like a homily that tries to accomplish too much…if you can’t summarize a homily in one line, then it’s not a good homily. This can be applied to our lessons: we need to focus on one BIG idea and hammer it home. We should be able to summarize the focus of our lesson in one sentence. If we can’t, then there’s no way the kids will be able to respond to their parents’ question of “So, what did you learn in religious education today?”

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. I did a “priority list” for my catechists in the 7th and 8th grades. We use Finding God too and there is a ton of material in those books. They all told me how helpful it will be to them to know what I consider to be the most important topics in the chapter.

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