Stories on the Journey: Well, That Didn’t Go as Planned

stories from the field

We’re continuing to share stories from our experiences as catechists. This week’s topic is, “Well, That Didn’t Go as Planned.” Let’s hear your stories about a time when your lesson plan didn’t quite work out as you planned and what you learned from the experience.

Share your story here on Catechist’s Journey by typing in the comments section at the end of this post.

  • Keep your story brief; one or two paragraphs is fine.
  • Return each day to read the stories that others are posting.
  • Feel free to comment on one another’s stories.
  • You need not share your full name; first names will do.

I look forward to reading your stories. Catechists really are the best storytellers!

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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. At a former church I worked at, I had done a “light-up rosary” with our family formation families as a kick-off event in the fall. I used different color glow stick bracelets for the various prayers (blue for the Hail Mary prayers, red for the Apostle’s Creed, green for the Our Fathers, etc). Kids and adults took turns placing the glow sticks down as we prayed each prayer. It was a beautiful site to see the rosary once it was completed! Many parents commented on how they hadn’t prayed the rosary in a long time and forgot how beautiful it was to pray it.
    Fast forward to the next church I worked at and we needed a last minute activity to do with our middle school youth group. It was the month of May, so I figured the “glow in the dark” rosary would be perfect for the Month of Mary, plus it would get the kids outside. The only thing I forgot was that the sun sets much earlier in the fall than in the spring. We finished our rosary and basically stared at what looked like a bunch of glow sticks lying in the grass…not “glowing” at all :-). It was underwhelming to see.
    I learned two very important things. One…always have a back up plan or “filler” activity ready to go. And two, take into account the time of year when planning events. Thankfully for us, it was darker by the time youth group ended and the kids were able to see the rosary better as they walked out.

    • O my goodness, Laura, what a great story! We sure do learn our lessons, don’t we?! Your story reminds me of a parish near my home that always does their Easter Vigil at 7 pm (no matter when Easter falls) – lighting the fire to “dispel the darkness” when there IS no darkness but rather, bright sunlight! At least your experience was by accident and the result of a last-minute attempt. Holy Saturday and the lighting of the Easter fire, on the other hand, does not sneak up on us like a surprise! 😉

  2. Laura, your idea sounds lovely, and one I may suggest to my parish youth group. And I’ll be certain we learn from you to remember the season to get the full effect of the glow sticks. God bless you.
    In Christ

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