Combatting the Drop-Off Mentality – Peoria Style

I enjoyed a wonderful day in the Diocese of Peoria, IL, on Saturday (8/2) with about 175 catechetical ministers and was privileged to deliver the keynote and the closing talk for the day. In between, however, I enjoyed sitting in on some workshops delivered by local catechetical ministers.

I really enjoyed participating in a breakout session for catechists of 5th and 6th grade children (since I taught 6th grade last year) that was led by several catechists from St. Patrick parish in Tolono, IL, who did a splendid job of facilitating the session.

PeoriaOne of the issues that came up was parental involvement and the catechists from St. Patrick shared the fact that their parish adopted a policy that requires parents to enter the building at the end of class to pick up their children.  Children are not dismissed and sent out into the parking lot to be picked up by “drive by” parents. As a result, they said, there is increased interaction between catechists and parents on a regular basis. They said that some parents grumbled about this at first but now they see it as part of the routine (and better for the safety of their children as well!)

It’s little things like that that can change the climate of a parish!

Thanks to all the good folks in the Diocese of Peoria who made my day so enjoyable, especially an enthusiastic catechist named Jon who kept me company all day and made me feel so at home! Here’s a look at the crowd being addressed by Mr. Craig Dyke, the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life, who was the master of ceremonies for the day.


About Joe Paprocki 2300 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

5 Comments on Combatting the Drop-Off Mentality – Peoria Style

  1. Ruth writes:

    We have family catechesis. Parents do the teaching . Parents meet in groups of 5 couples directed by a guia couple. It works good

  2. Lisa writes:

    What a great idea! We have a similar issue with “drive by” parents as well. Do you know how large the program is (how many children this pertains to)?

    Lisa Durant
    Catechetical Coordinator
    St. Michael Religious Education

  3. Tina writes,

    Wow! As a 5th and 6th grade catechist, I’d love to have been present to gain the wealth of knowledge and experience from so many dedicated fellow catechists. Did anyone keep a hard copy of the responses? What a treasure that would be!
    Keep up the great work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.