Catechesis and the Paschal Mystery: Moving from Death to Life

girl with Easter lilies

The new Directory for Catechesis has many thought-provoking and powerful lines, including the following:

Everything [in faith formation] is oriented toward the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.” (64a)

“Catechesis communicates the heart of the faith in an essential and existentially understandable way, bringing each person into contact with the Risen One and helping him to reinterpret and to live the most intense moments of his life as Paschal events.” (64a)

I find it significant and inspiring to know that all of our faith formation efforts are designed to be “Paschal events” that move people from death to life! How do we do this?

  • We help those we teach to recognize how many of the narratives we carry within ourselves and are bombarded with from without are not life-giving but rather life-draining. In a sense, they are deadly narratives.
  • We invite those we teach to die to their old selves—selves that are “slaves” to these deadly narratives. This is the nature of repentance.
  • We proclaim the life-giving narrative of the Risen Christ, remembering that He is Risen always, not just during the 50 days of Easter! This Good News moves us from narratives of loss, brokenness, and despair to a narrative of rescue, restoration, and reassurance.
  • We invite those we teach to encounter the Risen Christ in our midst. We facilitate encounters with the Risen Christ, especially through experiences of storytelling, prayer, and performing works of mercy.

Just as every Sunday celebration of the Eucharist throughout the year is thought of as a “little Easter,” every faith formation session we teach should be an experience of a “little Easter”—a celebration of moving from death to life, a celebration of the Paschal Mystery!

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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