Odds 'n Ends

In honor of Columbus Day, we have no religious education classes tonight, so I thought I would just mention a few odds ‘n ends.

Over the past few days, I’ve received emails from catechists in Indonesia, the Philippines, and a number of states all over the U.S. It’s always amazing to realize just how much we catechists from all over the world share in common.

Yesterday, my wife and I went to Mass at the parish where I served as a DRE from 1990-1997: St. Mary of the Assumption, on the very far southeast side of Chicago. Much has changed in 11 years but one thing has remained the same – the welcoming spirit of the good folks of that parish. The very second we opened the door to the church, we were greeted by a long-time friend. Within seconds, 5 or 6 people with whom I had the pleasure of working with (including several of my former catechists) were gathered as hugs and kisses were exchanged. The parish has continued to shrink in size…only about 60 people were at Mass. There was no organist. There was, however, a vibrant religious education presence – about 20 children with perhaps 5 catechists came in to the church from their classes. They stood up and sang a couple of songs (This Little Light of Mine, etc) and sat together as a group for Mass, until being sent forth for the children’s liturgy of the Word. In all, the experience was poignant. The parish is struggling mightily and that was sad to see. And yet, faith is very much alive at St. Mary’s.  God bless all the good folks there.

I’m preparing 2 talks for this weekend: one at the Chicago Catechetical Conference for Friday and another for the catechetical conference in Austin, Texas, on Saturday! I look forward to meeting lots of good folks both north and south!

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.

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