2000 Years of Church History in 75 Minutes!

Last night, we introduced the 8th graders to the topic of Church history, by way of a Powerpoint presentation. All 5 classes came together once again and all 5 catechists divided up the presentation, each of us taking a time period and highlighting some of the major events that took place during that time. Throughout the presentation, the young people were filling in a worksheet with key names and dates.

For me, the highlight of the evening was listening to fellow catechist, Chris, who, in describing the role of the Church in the Dark Ages explained that all of us go through difficult times in our lives when everything is thrown into chaos: we suffer the death of a loved one; we move to a new home; we start a new school, and so on. During those chaotic times, someone usually steps forward and brings calm and stability: a parent, a teacher, a friend. In the same way, during the chaotic times of the early middle ages, many Christian heroes (such as St. Benedict and Pope Gregory the Great) stepped forward to provide much-needed stability.

St. Benedict of Nursia
St. Benedict of Nursia

I thought that this was such an excellent way of linking Church history with our personal lives. Well done, Chris!

It was satisfying to see the kids behave well for the most part over the 75 minute presentation. They grew more interested as we touched on more recent history. For example, they were pretty impressed of the slide showing Pope John Paul II, during his 1979 visit, standing atop the roof of a Catholic high school in Chicago, only a few miles from where we ourselves were meeting.

Likewise, they were intrigued by the fact that John Kennedy is the only Catholic president in our nation’s history and it led to a brief discussion about the place of Catholics in our predominantly Protestant country and the need for us to know our faith well.

This presentation will give the kids a nice foundation (and a sense of chronology) for the upcoming chapters of the textbook which covers Church history in more depth.

I made the church history Powerpoint available last year…if you missed that, send me an email and I’ll be glad to send it to you. This was the first year that all 5 of us did it together and I thought it made for a very good experience.

About Joe Paprocki 2739 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.

36 Comments on 2000 Years of Church History in 75 Minutes!

  1. Hi Joe,

    I would also love a copy. It sounds like you did a great job making our church history both memorable and meaningful them using this format.

    Many Thanks,


  2. Good Afternoon Joe,

    I love your new look on your website. I often visit you
    and gain many ideas from you.

    When you have time, I would also like a copy.

    Thank you Joe,


  3. Seeing as I am teaching a Church History class now yet am very far behind, I sure could use this resource as a jumpstart. Thanks for sending it to me!!

  4. I would also love a copy.

    Your materials speak so well to the majority and often help to create “seekers.”

    Thanks for your unending amount of energy and dedication!

  5. Hi Joe-
    I’d love a copy! I could use that with both my Confirmation kids and my sophomores next semester.
    Thanks for sharing your great resources and wisdom!

  6. Please email me a copy of the church history presentation – I missed it and would love to use it as a resource. Heard you speak recently at the recent catechist conference…great books I purchased – A Well-Built Faith and God’s Library. Thanks!

  7. Please send me the powerpoint. Church History is a difficult topic to get that age group interested in–if you have succeeded, I would love to be able to pass it on to the catechists. Keep up the good work with your marvelous books and talks which have a way of reaching people.

  8. Mary, God alone knows whether I have succeeded in anything! Suffice to say I think I made some progress! The powerpoint is on its way. Thanks for your kind words.

  9. Can I have a copy of this? You are so generous with all of these resources! I’m making my way through your old posts and this is such an amazing site! You’re helping me so much as a new DRE. Once I get a little experience, I hope I can share resources as well.

  10. Joe, I’m returning to the catechetical ministry after a six year retirement and love your books, blog, etc. is the Church History PowerPoint still available? Dzienkuje!

  11. Dear Joe,

    I would like to ask for a copy of your slides on Church history. I am currently volunteering as a catechist for some youth who will receive the sacrament of Confirmation..

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