Family Catechesis at St. Barnabas: Looking Forward to Our First Session

Finding God Family Catechesis tools

I’m eagerly looking forward to the first session of Family Catechesis at St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago on September 17! As I mentioned in a previous post, I will be assisting the Director of Religious Education, Patrick McGowan, and the Pastoral Associate, Deacon Andy Neu, at the monthly gatherings at the parish.

The focus of this first session will be simply “An Introduction to Finding God Family Catechesis.” Here are some particulars with regards to this session:

  • I will meet with Patrick (DRE) a week or two before the session to scope out the space, set up and test the equipment (laptop, LCD projector, screen, sound, mic), and otherwise get the lay of the land.
  • On the morning of the session, I’ll arrive an hour early to make sure everything is set up and in place.
  • We’ll begin with a simple ice-breaker to welcome folks and help them to feel at home, followed by a simple opening prayer that will include a ritual setting up of the prayer space with cloth, a Bible, candle, holy water, and a crucifix.
  • The session begins with introductions of Patrick, Andy, and me, followed by an overview of what family catechesis is and how it works. Our emphasis will be on how parents teach their children many things: how to talk, walk, ride a bike, tie their shoes, look both ways before crossing a busy street, and so on. Teaching them about faith in Jesus is one of the most important things that parents can do for their children, and the parish is here to walk this journey with them.
  • We’ll go over the schedule of themes for the monthly gatherings.
  • We’ll talk about how parents will be equipped to teach lessons to their children at home, using the At-Home Edition of Finding God and the Finding God children’s book.
  • Next, we’ll talk about the online resources for Finding God Family Catechesis, including the Interactive Session Reviews, study guides, Fishers of Faith Unit Review Game, the 3-Minute Retreats, and the Sunday Connection.
  • We’ll spend a good amount of time of time looking at how the At-Home Edition of Finding God guides parents step-by-step through a session in the children’s book.
  • Finally, we’ll take any questions the parents have before distributing the Finding God children’s books and assignments.

Oh, yes, the gathering will include a simple hot breakfast! As I’ve done in the past, I’ll report back soon about what really happened compared to our plan.

About Joe Paprocki 2746 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

2 Comments on Family Catechesis at St. Barnabas: Looking Forward to Our First Session

  1. You’re only gathering once per month? How long is the gathering? How many families? And is Mass part of this gathering? Thank you and God bless

    • Hi Debbie,
      Yes, the family gathering is once per month (90 minutes) and it is in-between masses so the hope is that families will attend Mass either before or after the session. The session begins with parents and kids together (for prayer and an activity) after which the children go off with their catechists to be taught the first lesson of the unit while the parents remain for an adult faith formation session. Parents then work with their children at home on the remaining chapters of the unit (typically one lesson per week) using the Finding God children’s book and the At-Home guide for parents.

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