The Cross – Our Trophy

For my session tonight, I’m bringing in the one and only trophy I ever won in my life: a 2nd place trophy for floor hockey, earned when I was in junior high. My brother John and I ventured over to the Boys’ Club in our neighborhood and joined a team there and went all the way to the finals, coming up just a little bit short. The little 10-inch trophy stands proudly in my basement with my sports collectibles.

I plan on asking the young people to share examples of trophies that they have won in their lives. A trophy is a symbol of victory – of great accomplishment. When champions win a trophy, they typically parade with it, showing off the symbol of their victory.

I then plan on asking the young people if they know what our Christian “trophy” is…our symbol of victory. At that point, I will show them a crucifix and we’ll talk about how this could possibly be our symbol of victory. We’ll talk about how we display it  and how we parade with it (every procession in church is led by a server “hoisting” our trophy…the processional Cross).

From there, we’ll enter into the text of our book that teaches us about the Cross of Jesus. Toward the end of the session, we’ll focus on the Stations of the Cross and then end with prayer by meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, that allow us to walk with Jesus and Mary to the Cross.

As always, I pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for tonight’s session and I pray that each of you are guided and inspired in your teaching this week!

About Joe Paprocki 2746 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

2 Comments on The Cross – Our Trophy

  1. I think the meaning the value of a trophy has been devalued in the current generation of children. It can still mean achievement but too often it suggests only participation. Neither my son nor any team he has been on has been successful by any objective measure and yet he has a bookcase full of trophies awarded for participation in the sport. Society’s drive for equality at the expense of excellence awards anyone who signs up for an activity with a trophy these days lest an underachiever should feel left out. Your image of a trophy as a sign of great achievement would have meant alot for our generation but it may have less relevance in the present “everybody’s a winner” generation.

  2. TomM, thanks for your comments about trophies. You make a good point. My kids also had bookcases full of trophies just for participating and I was aware of this going into class. I can only say that the comparison worked well…the kids got it. Today, when I reviewed what we learned last week, one of the kids said that we learned that the Cross of Jesus can be compared to our trophy – our symbol of victory.

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