Who’s Got Your Back? The Catechist’s Reliance on Church Documents

Jubilee 2025 Pilgrims of Hope logo - four figures embracing the cross, which turns into an anchor over the waves at the bottom

Have you ever noticed that when an attorney gives a press conference, he or she is almost always positioned in front of a bookcase full of law books? The message is a not-so-subtle reminder that the attorney is backed by the law that is contained in those books. The placement of those bookcases represents the law stating unequivocally, “I’ve got his/her back!” Attorneys, of course, must be familiar with the contents of these books if they hope to practice law effectively.

As catechists and catechetical leaders, we sometimes may wonder, “Who’s got my back?” The truth is, everything in our ministry, if we are doing it properly, can and should be backed up by Church documents. The Church, in essence, “has our back” when it comes to us searching for the most effective way to articulate Church teachings, laws, and policies. I personally make it a habit to identify the sources of much of what I share so that people know I’m not just talking off the top of my head but am transmitting what I have encountered in Church documents.

In preparation for the Holy Year of 2025, Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the world to devote time in 2023 to studying the documents of the Second Vatican Council, in particular, the four major constitutions. In addition to those documents, I would also suggest that anyone in catechetical ministry should be familiar with the following Church documents, which can provide us with the vision we need for our ministry and the words with which we articulate that vision. Consider this your virtual bookshelf!

For a concise summary of these documents, check out Developing Disciples of Christ: Understanding the Critical Relationship between Catechesis and Evangelization by Julianne Stanz (part of The Effective Catechetical Leader series from Loyola Press and NCCL).

The bottom line is, it’s nice to know someone’s “got your back,” and it’s good to let those you serve know that you are backed by Church teaching!

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. Thanks, Joe, for giving us an updated list of documents. You have supplied my materials for summer enrichment and updating.
    Grace and peace!

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