Finding God in Trenton, NJ!

I had a wonderful experience this past weekend with many good folks from the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey!

On Friday, I enjoyed lunch with the staff of the diocesan catechetical office, Fr. Douglas Freer (Vicar for Catholic Education, Director of the Ministry of Catechesis and Evangelization), Jill Kerekes (Associate Director for Parish and School Catechesis), and Matthew Poole (Coordinator for Adult Faith Formation and New Evangelization). It was great to take the time to listen to the needs, challenges, and opportunities facing the diocese.

On Friday evening, I enjoyed dinner with my best friend John Tokarski and his lovely wife Karen and their great son Andrew in Princeton, NJ. John and I went to grade school together and have been friends ever since, even after he relocated to the east coast over 20 years ago. He’s like another brother to me (as if I need another one with 6 brothers already!) We visit one another whenever we are in one another’s town.

Then, on Saturday, the main event took place: A Formation Day for All in Catechetical Ministry with about 250 catechists and catechetical leaders. We spent the day looking at effective strategies for leading those we teach into an encounter with Jesus Christ. I drew primarily from my book, Beyond the Catechist’s Toolbox: Catechesis That Not Only Informs But Also Transforms. The day began with Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. who gave a rousing homily about the catechetical ministry. I plan to share some thoughts from his homily with you in another post.

I was accompanied by my friend and colleague, the talented and lovely Annie Lauer, who did such a wonderful job of presenting Loyola Press resources to the crowd during lunch. In particular, she stirred up a great deal of interest in the Finding God curriculum and had numerous catechists and catechetical leaders asking for more information about this wonderful program. If you are in the Trenton diocese and want more information about Finding God, contact Annie Lauer at 773-281-1818 ext. 233 or via email:

In all, it was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful to the people of the Diocese of Trenton for welcoming me into their midst and for allowing me to walk with them on the catechist’s journey!

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

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