Catechists and the Bible – A Saturday Morning in the Joliet Diocese

I spent this past Saturday morning with about 100 catechists in the Diocese of Joliet (south and west of the Archdiocese of Chicago) focusing on the topic of catechists and the Bible. I was honored to “share the bill” with Bishop Peter Sartain and to meet and speak with so many catechists from so many parishes.

After a beautiful morning prayer, I was introduced and spoke about 5 ways to “dramatically increase your students’ Bible IQ.” In particular, I focused on the following 5 points:


  1. providing students with Bibles and using them frequently
  2. teaching them how to “decipher” biblical citation (i.e. 1Pt 2:2-5 = First Letter of Peter, chapter two, verses two through five)
  3. providing them with a timeline and a chronology of salvation history
  4. dividing the Bible into smaller pieces (using the bookmarks from my book, God’s Library: A Catholic Introduction to the World’s Greatest Book) to increase familiarity with the location of passages
  5. understanding the role of figurative language in the Bible

After a break, Bishop Sartain then gave a very inspirational talk on how catechists can make “scripture practical in our daily lives.” He focused on three main ideas:

  1. resources available to help us gain better access to the Word of God (daily devotionals, Bible commentaries, etc.)
  2. the use of sacred art in meditating on Scripture stories
  3. Lectio Divina as a way to pray with the Word of God

I’d like to send a great big shout out to all of the many fine catechists I met at St. Martin of Tours parish in Kankakee, IL in the Joliet Diocese on Saturday and I wish them continued blessings and success in increasing their students’ Bible IQ and in making Scripture more practical in their daily lives and in the lives of those they teach.

A slightly blurry pic of me with Bishop Peter Sartain of the Diocese of Joliet
A slightly blurry pic of me with Bishop Peter Sartain of the Diocese of Joliet
About Joe Paprocki 2736 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

4 Comments on Catechists and the Bible – A Saturday Morning in the Joliet Diocese

  1. Joe,
    I was one of the lucky Catechists at the meeting on Saturday. It was nice to meet you and to learn some things I can share with my eighth grade Confirmation candidates.
    At Youth Ministry last night I used one of the activities on the Loyola Press website. I also read that you plan on making available different live stations scripts. We did the the live stations last year at our parish (St. Joes Manteno). It was a big hit with the parishioners and we have been asked to do it at another site this year as well. I’m interested in seeing some other adaptations.
    At work today I shared your bookmarks and the rest of your handouts with one of my coworkers. He also is an eighth grade Catechist. Also he is studying for the Deaconite in the Joliet diocese.
    Thanks again for sharing the faith and God Bless your work.

    • Hi Larry and thanks for your kind words. I recall meeting you and chatting with you briefly…always great to meet a fellow 8th grade catechist! I love your enthusiasm…it’s contagious. Keep it up! Say, if you can send me a copy of the script/outline for the living stations you mention, that would be great. I’ve only received 1 or 2 so far and I’d like to be able to share more. Glad to hear that you’re finding some of my ideas from God’s Library to be helpful! Keep in touch! Continued blessings!

  2. Joe, I am the CRE at St. Joseph in Manteno and I have been searching frantically all day looking for the bookmarks that we used at this event a few years ago. Where can I find them now? I see the book they were in is out of print.

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