H.E.L.P. with the 4 Pillars of the Catechism

I was thinking this morning about how to explain the Catholic faith to someone in such a way that it can be grasped in simple terms (no easy task for a faith that is actually quite complex).

It occurred to me that the Church already provides a simple structure for talking about our faith through the “4 pillars” of The Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer.

Even so, I was looking for some way of fleshing those out in simple terms, i.e. a way to explain the significance of these  4 pillars without venturing into deep theological language. I came up with the following:

When it comes to our faith, Catholics have H.E.L.P.

  • H = We HOLD on to our faith – a faith that is revealed to us through Scripture and Tradition (and summarized in our Creed). Paradoxically, we hold onto our faith by sharing – professing – it.


  • E = We EXPRESS our faith sacramentally. We use outward signs, symbols, and rituals (primarily the seven sacraments) to express and celebrate our encounters with Jesus.


  • L = We LIVE our faith. We live in a way that reflects our belief in the dignity of all human beings.


  • P = We PRAY our faith. We seek to be in constant communion with God – always aware of and responding to his presence in all things, in all people, and in all situations.

This should be easy to remember because when you get down to it, we all need a little HELP!

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 www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. Thank you for the clear and quick presentation of
    the Sacrament of Confirmation. I am a Catachist for my Parish and I
    teach Confirmation year 1 & 2 to age groups between 12 to 17 yrs of age.
    I am always interested in new ways to present The Catachism in the most simple and memorable way.

    • You’re very welcome, Jesus! Thanks for bringing young people to the Sacrament of Confirmation and inviting them to be filled with the Holy Spirit!

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