I’m Back in the Trenches Again: Family Catechesis at St. Barnabas Parish

Joe Paprocki and leaders at St. Barnabas Parish holding "Finding God" faith formation materials
Joe Paprocki with Deacon Andy Neu, Parish Pastoral Associate, who will be assisting in the program, and Patrick McGowan, Parish Catechetical Leader at St. Barnabas, holding Finding God materials

Over the years that I’ve been writing this blog, Catechist’s Journey, I have served as a catechist for different age groups: intermediate (fourth and sixth grade) and junior high (eighth grade). I also have enjoyed sharing my experiences with you! Typically, I have posted my plans for upcoming sessions followed by summaries of what really happened. Eventually, my travel commitments made it too difficult to teach a weekly session, and then, of course, the pandemic threw us all for a loop.

Well, I’m happy to report that I am returning to the trenches, this time as a catechist for the family catechesis program at St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago, using the Finding God Family Catechesis resources.

I will be working primarily on the monthly gatherings for parents, which will take place on the following Sundays:

  • 9/17:    Introduction to Finding God Family Catechesis
  • 10/1:    Discovering What You Want Out of Life: God’s Invitation and Our Response
  • 10/29:  To Whom Can I Turn? Jesus: Fully Human, Fully Divine
  • 12/3:    A Time of Joyful Anticipation: Advent and Christmas
  • 1/7:      Child Safety
  • 2/4:      Making Space for Jesus in Our Lives: Lent, Holy Week, and Easter
  • 3/3:      Catholic Identity: Does My Faith Make a Difference?
  • 4/7:      What Sustains Me? The Mass and the Eucharist
  • 4/28:    The Moral Life: Stop Trying to Fix Yourself!
  • 5/19:    Celebration

Here’s the plan:

  • For those monthly sessions at the parish, parents and children will gather together, and we’ll begin with a prayer experience and an ice-breaker that introduces the theme of the day, following the script provided in the Leader Guide.
  • Then, the children will be led by their catechists to classrooms where the catechists, using the Finding God Catechist’s Guide, will lead the children through the first chapter of the unit in their Finding God Children’s Book.
  • Meanwhile, I will lead the parent session on the designated theme for that month, using the slideshows and Leader Guide I helped develop for the Finding God Family Catechesis program.
  • When the session is ended, the children will be led back to their parents to head upstairs for Sunday Mass.
  • In the intervening weeks, until the next monthly session, the parents are equipped with the At-Home Edition of Finding God to work with their children at home on the remaining chapters of the unit in the Finding God Children’s Book.
  • For accountability, children take an online Interactive Session Review after each chapter and send the results to the parish catechetical leader.

As I have done with my past experiences as a catechist, I will be posting here on Catechist’s Journey about our plans for each upcoming session as well as giving reports following each gathering to let you know how things turned out and what challenges we are facing as well as what successes we are celebrating. I also hope to be invited into some family’s homes to report on the family catechesis experiences from firsthand observation of parents working with their children on their faith formation.

Please pray for our family catechesis efforts as I will be praying for your catechetical efforts in the upcoming year!

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.

2 Comments on I’m Back in the Trenches Again: Family Catechesis at St. Barnabas Parish

  1. Hello Joe,
    We’ve just changed over to Finding God Family Catechesis! I’ll be checking in with you frequently for tips 😉 Thank you as always for sharing your experience “in the trenches.”

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