The Toolbox Series: Where Should I Start?

being knowing and doing - text on stained glass background

After the success of The Catechist’s Toolbox, the folks at Loyola Press asked me, “What’s next? What else do catechists need and what are they looking for?” Thankfully, that question was the beginning of what has come to be known as “The Toolbox Series”—a series of books designed primarily for catechists (as well as for those seeking basic knowledge of the Catholic faith), all following the same user-friendly format of The Catechist’s Toolbox. The Toolbox Series has helped parishes all over the country train and empower catechists, enrich the OCIA (Christian Initiation) process, welcome Catholics back to the faith, inspire evangelization teams, and energize staff and volunteers. Please note that most of the books in this series are also available in Spanish.

One question I often get from catechists when viewing The Toolbox Series is, “Where do I begin? Which book should I start with?” While there is no definitive sequence in which the books must be read, there is a logic to getting started in the following manner:

  • If you are most concerned with acquiring teaching skills (Most catechists are not professional teachers!), it makes sense to begin with The Catechist’s Toolbox and its sequel, Beyond the Catechist’s Toolbox, since these books will help with the nuts and bolts of leading effective faith formation sessions. We refer to this category of catechist formation as Doing.
  • If you are most concerned with your own knowledge (or lack thereof) of the Catholic faith, I recommend beginning with A Well-Built Faith, a book that provides a good, solid overview of the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We refer to this category of catechist formation as Knowing. This book is widely used, not only for catechist formation, but also for Christian Initiation and general adult faith formation.
  • If you are most interested in exploring, deepening, or renewing your call (your vocation) to serve as a catechist, I suggest beginning with The Catechist’s Backpack, since that book invites you to pay attention to your own spirituality and to the unique spirituality of the catechist. This category of catechist formation is known as Being.

Once you have those basic competencies of Being, Knowing, and Doing covered, you can explore the remaining books in the series in any order you choose.

  • Practice Makes Catholic—in many ways, a direct companion to A Well-Built Faith, which covers what we know and believe as Catholics, in that this book covers what we do as Catholics and why we do what we do
  • The Bible Blueprint—for those who are most interested in deepening their knowledge of the Bible, in particular how to navigate the Bible and how to interpret what we read
  • Preparing Hearts and Minds—for those catechists and others in ministry who are seeking to make their catechesis and faith formation more evangelizing
  • Living the Sacraments—especially for those who are involved in sacramental preparation of any kind

Since The Toolbox Series covers all three dimensions of catechist formation—Being, Knowing, and Doing—the series serves as the primary texts for the Catechetical Formation Series, an online training and formation experience for catechists seeking to deepen their knowledge and skills for faith formation and evangelization ministries.

Finally, be aware of this special deal: pay just $6 per book when you purchase 15 or more copies from the The Toolbox Series. You can mix and match titles.

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 www.catechistsjourney.com.

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