Catechists In Action – Meet Dan Ward!

It’s time to get back to our Catechists in Action series where we get to be a fly on the wall, observing everyday catechists performing their ministry. I’d like you to meet Dan Ward, a 7th grade catechist at Most Holy Redeemer parish in Evergreen Park, IL. Dan is a high school teacher and coach in the Chicago Public School system. I’ve been talking recently about the image of the catechist as coach and Dan personifies this. When he talks to the kids, he sounds as if he’s a coach in the locker room getting his players ready for the game! Very effective…a voice of authority, enthusiasm, as well as compassion and sincerity.

In this first segment, Dan performs some of the unglamorous responsibilities of a catechist, namely supervising his class while they attend an Advent prayer service and then doing crowd control as he “herds” them back to the school building. Watch for the following:

  • Dan walks among his students in church, getting them ready for the prayer service
  • Bell ringers call the assembly to prayer…a very reverent and effective way to quiet down a large group of junior high students without having to raise your voice to tell them to be quiet!
  • Dan leads his students in genuflecting as they pass in front of the tabernacle.
  • Listen to Dan “bark” directions to his students as they make their way to class for the remainder of the lesson, which, as you’ll see in upcoming segments, leaves him with very little time to get done what he had hoped to accomplish.


About Joe Paprocki 2737 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 In Action – Meet Dan Ward!

  1. I am waiting with great anticipation to see more of Dan in action…Thanks Joe and Dan for sharing your teaching strategies (especially with this age group)….your efforts are greatly appreciated.

    • Jenn, I agree. I think you ‘ll find that a lot of it has to do with Dan’s commanding presence. He teaches with authority and that comes from his experience as a professional high school teacher and coach but it’s something that all catechists can learn and emulate.

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