Getting Ready for the First Session

This coming Monday is my first session (I don’t like to use the word “class”) with my 8th graders this year. I have 7 boys and 7 girls! How nice!

Of course, this means that I’ll be spending a few hours this weekend planning my session.

There’s always so much to do on the first day. My goal will be to be welcoming and engaging, to focus on getting to know their names, to lay the foundation for a prayerful climate, and to establish some basic groundrules to ensure effective learning.

More than anything, I want the young people to know that I am dedicated to their spiritual well-being and that what we are about to embark on can be life-changing if they allow it to be so.

May the Holy Spirit guide and inspire me and all of us catechists to use our gifts in service of the Gospel!

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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