Update on My OWN Classes

I realize that, in the midst of providing my 40 Lenten activities in 40 days, I’ve not updated you on my own Monday evening classes.

Actually, last night was the first time I saw my 8th graders in 3 weeks! Last week, I was doing a parish mission at another parish and needed a sub. The week before that was a day off (Pulaski Day in Illinois). So last night was an opportunity to get “re-acquainted.” My 8th graders were confirmed last weekend and all but one were back for class (and the one absence was a sickness). Kudos to our DRE, Arlene, for making it clear to the kids and their parents that Confirmation is NOT graduation!

Since I only have about 4 more classes left in which I actually teach them, I’m using this time to focus on the Ten Commandments and Catholic morality. I want them to have a good foundation for making choices in life and hoping I can provide a little bit of that in the time I have left with them.

Last night, we engaged in discussion on some moral dilemmas as an opportunity to just begin thinking about the many choices they will face in life. They handled discussion fairly well (they can be pretty tight-lipped when it comes to discussion!) and they were particularly interested in the stories I shared from my own adolescent experience (e.g. observing a “friend” shoplift, being asked to help a “friend” cheat on a test, finding myself at an underage drinking party, etc.) A helpful resource for engaging young people in moral dilemmas came to me from another catechist earlier this year…check out that post and the link to her script.

Finally, I led the young people in a guided reflection on the Ten Commandments (using a CD from the Finding God program). As usual, they love going to their “sacred space,” they take a while to calm down (and I have to be vigilant to put out “little fires” of misbehavior as the reflection unfolds), and in the end, they are quiet, resulting in a good experience overall (although never easy!).

Next week, I plan to delve into the Ten Commandments in earnest.

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. Joe,

    What validation it is for me (a newer catechist) to read your post about your own class! Thanks for sharing your own class with us….and making me realize that most junior high aged kids are just like the ones in my class!


    • Greg, I try to paint as realistic a picture as I can about my classes. After many years of being a catechist, I feel a great degree of success, however, it is no piece of cake! Kids are a challenge and there are no “quick fixes” – just diligence, patience, and innovation on the part of catechists!

  2. Dear Joe,
    As a 9th Grade Catechists, I was excited when you left the first ‘blog’ on the first three commandments, Relationship with God, but I never found the second blog on the remaining seven commandments, relationships with Our Neighbor. Can you direct me to where I mught locate it?

    • Hi Lawrence. I’m actually going to post that Monday morning. If you need it before then, let me know. (the next one will be on commandments 4, 5, and 6).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.