Professional Development Workshop: Reclaiming the Fire

Professional Development Workshop - Reclaiming the Fire

In her book, Start with Jesus, friend, author, speaker, and evangelist Julianne Stanz states that “too often our approach to our faith lacks the fire or energy that it deserves,” and she issues a call for us to “reclaim the fire.” Faith formation programs can provide the spark needed to ignite this blaze!

In a new, free professional development workshop, Reclaiming the Fire: Six Keys to Making Our Faith Formation More Evangelizing—which can be found below—I offer six practical suggestions for catechists to engage minds and hearts in a transformative way:

  • Storytelling—If we want to proclaim the great deeds of the Lord in a way that touches the hearts of those we teach, we need to reclaim the art of storytelling (Bible stories, stories of the saints, and personal stories) and invite those we teach to reflect on the stories of the Gospel as a way of encountering Jesus.
  • Sacramentality—Only a language of mystery (symbolic words and actions) can serve as a vehicle that is capable of transporting human beings from a narrative of defeat, dysfunction, and despair, to one of rescue, restoration, and reassurance.
  • Tradition—We faithfully transmit a heritage of faith as though carefully handing down family heirlooms from one generation to another. Our God has revealed himself through specific words and actions over the course of salvation history; it is our job to transmit that Tradition faithfully and robustly.
  • Spirituality and Prayer—Too many people think of God as distant and that the responsibility is on us to get his attention so that he will draw near to us. And yet, our Tradition teaches us the exact opposite. God has drawn near to us through the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to teach young people to encounter Jesus in prayer and to create a climate of prayer in our faith formation settings.
  • Experiences of Sharing God’s Mercy—Scripture tells us that faith without works is dead. If we want truly to touch the hearts and minds of those we teach, we need to engage them in works of mercy and doing service for others.
  • Entering Through Their Door—Children learn today in ways that are vastly different from the way children learned just a few generations ago. Old rules of engagement don’t resonate with them. If we are truly going to engage current and future generations, we need to utilize technology more effectively.

Throughout this professional development workshop, I draw examples from the new 2021 edition of Finding God to illustrate these six keys. The workshop also includes downloadable worksheets to assist catechists in implementing the six keys to reclaiming the fire in our faith formation efforts.

Watch the presentation below, and let’s start reclaiming the fire!

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


  1. Great workshop. Thanks. Is there a way we could get copies of the PDF’s you refer to. I would love to share this with my catechists.

    • Thanks, Jodie. The PDFs are in the Brainshark presentation itself. As you view it, you’ll find a menu at the bottom left which you can click on and it shows content and attachments. Click on attachments and you’ll find the PDFs. Let me know if you have any problems.

  2. HI Joe: I hope you and your family are doing well through these unsettling times. I am looking forward to using your PDW “Reclaiming the Fire” for my In Person Catechist training session, but I am having trouble down loading all the PDF handouts.Thanks so much for your help; I would love to use them in my training session. Stay safe and God Bless Becky Hampton Our Lady of Grace

    • Thanks Becky. What seems to be the trouble downloading them? Tell me more and I should be able to help you.

  3. Thank you for this workshop, was really great.
    Can I get the PDF to share with the catechists in my archdiocese?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Mary and thanks! The PDFs are in the Brainshark presentation itself. As you view it, you’ll find a menu at the bottom left which you can click on and it shows content and attachments. Click on attachments and you’ll find the PDFs. Let me know if you have any problems.

  4. I was able to watch only have of the workshop. Is a wonderful workshop. When I tried to watch the second part it has no sound. My computer is working well. Is only the presentation that has no sound.
    Thank you for all your ideas. My prayers for all your work.

    • Hi Sr. Emma. I checked on my laptop and got sound for the whole presentation. Perhaps you can try again or try another device? Let me know if you are still having trouble. We haven’t had any other customers voice this problem.

  5. I like and enyoyed this presentation very much, it will be a main element for the formation of the catechist here in St. Ferdinand Parish. Thank you.

  6. Great as always, Joe. I was able to access the PDFs — thanks for sharing those. On the St. Ignatius slide with Fr. Jim, it cut off abruptly. I watched it a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t something I did. It cuts off at “… so they bring Ignatius Lives of the Saints and suddenly Ignatius…” about a minute in. Wonder if anyone had this problem. I’ve shared the link with my fellow catechists – great way to kick off the year.

    Entering through their door is so important, especially for those us about teach in a virtual environment. We can’t just teach the way we normally would via Zoom. We need to rethink our methods strategies, in my opinion.

    • Thanks so much, Kathleen…I’ll look into the cut-off of St. Ignatius. We don’t want to cut HIM off! 😉

  7. This was a great professional development webinar. I could not download all the pdf files — only was able to get #4 & #5. The others never would open. Can you email me the other pdf files, please?

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