St. Barnabas Family Catechesis: The Mass and the Eucharist

Finding God Family Catechesis tools

It’s hard to believe that we have only three more monthly sessions of family catechesis at St. Barnabas for this catechetical year! The time has flown, and we continue to learn about the most effective approaches to engaging the whole family in faith formation. Soon I will be posting about my experience of visiting the home of one of the families in the family catechesis program to observe the parents working together with their child on a lesson using the Finding God children’s book. In the meantime, here is a peek at the plan for the coming session, which has the theme of “What Sustains Me? The Mass and the Eucharist.”

  • We’ll begin by asking children and parents to brainstorm what they would need to take with them to sustain themselves on a long hike, such as water, sunscreen, snacks, good shoes and socks, a cap, and a raincoat.
  • We’ll talk about how we need to sustain ourselves on any long journey and how, on our spiritual journey through life, we are sustained by Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist, which we receive at Mass.
  • At this point, we’ll dismiss the children and their catechists to work on the first lesson of Unit 4 in Finding God.
  • I’ll begin with the parents by inviting them to discuss with one another in small groups their earliest memories of going to Mass: who it was that they went with, who (if anyone) helped them to learn about the Mass, and what they want their children to learn about the Mass. We’ll have each group share their thoughts with the large group.
  • Next, I’ll invite parents to arrange puzzle pieces of the parts of the Mass in proper order (making sure that they don’t feel I’m treating them like children), after which we’ll walk through each part of the Mass, drawing many ideas from Living the Mass: How One Hour a Week Can Change Your Life, a book I co-authored with Fr. Dominic Grassi.
  • Along the way, I plan to invite the parents to share first what their understanding of each part of the Mass is and how they would explain it to their children, before I offer any elaboration.

I look forward to this session, because the Mass is so central to our lives as disciples of Jesus, and it’s a great opportunity for me and the parish staff to encourage parents to deepen their own knowledge and appreciation of the Mass and the Eucharist while doing the same for their children!

About Joe Paprocki 2748 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

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