Welcome, Drs. Groome and Farey to Our Catechetical Conversation

Yesterday, I posted about a current hot catechetical topic which is the role of lived experience in the catechetical process and we’ve begun an excellent conversation (see the comments below that post).

I am pleased and honored that Drs. Thomas Groome and Caroline Farey have responded to my invitation to contribute to the conversation. Dr. Groome asked me to post his email (since he doesn’t “do blogs”) and Dr. Farey will join in the conversation once she is done with some minor commitment which was, Oh, let me see, PARTICIPATING IN THE BISHOPS’ SYNOD IN ROME!!!

Here is Dr. Groome’s email.


Here is Dr. Farey’s email.

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, this will certainly be an exciting dialogue. I have heard about the “pedagogy of God” but until now have never found an explanation of the process. However, I am very familiar with Shared Christian Praxis. I recently wrote a curriculum for formation for the Sacrament of Confirmation for the Diocese of Wichita. We used the praxis methodology for several reasons: 1) once the process has been explained and experienced it is easy for catechists to follow; 2) it provided a structure for teens to make connections between their daily lives and God’s desire for their life; 3) it provided an opportunity for conversion [here is my life, oh wait — this is what God wants for me — His was is better].
    It appears to me that both methods are valid dependent on the expertise and comfort of the catechist. Farey mentions that the Praxis method does not allow adequate time for good catechesis. I disagree — it is all in how the catechist sets it up and times it. In the curriculum I wrote, we did not always follow the movements in order — it depended on the topic for the module and how we could best engage the young people. While the Praxis method may not officially allow time for ritual, good catechists understand that all catechsis flows from the Liturgy and will strive to make those connections, allowing time for ritual prayer either at the beginning, middle or end of any session.
    Having not used Farey’s suggested pedagogy, I can say that the majority of the young people who are formed in my curriculum found that the Praxis helped them “connect the dots” of daily life and Life in God.
    I would also add that the success of any pedagogy is dependent on the formation and training of the catechist.

    I look forward to this conversation!

  2. I was first introduced to the shared praxis model 30 years ago when I came to a parish/school which was using the Silver-Burdett series “This Is Our Faith,” which contained a three-step version of Dr. Groome’s model adapted by Carl Pfeifer and Janann Manternach. It made perfect sense to me at the time, and still does. It works. And even catechists without much professional preparation can learn it. It never seemed to me that there was not enough time for catechesis because the whole second “step” in the Pfeifer/Manternach model was devoted to teaching Scripture and Tradition. I used to use the shared praxis model for reflections at children’s liturgies and prayer services, and I often wonder how different the church would be today if someone had taught a version of shared praxis to our Sunday homilests.

    • Dave, thanks for your comments. I couldn’t agree more about the homilies. All too often they have little connection with daily living.

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