About Joe Paprocki
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.

The Pros and Cons of Do-it-Yourself Catechesis

I recently received an e-mail from a veteran diocesan catechetical director who is concerned that, at a growing number of parishes in her diocese, the catechetical leader has chosen to write his or her own materials for faith formation rather than using materials produced by a Catholic publisher. Here are some of the thoughts this diocesan director shared: As I visit parishes, I see more and more people “writing their own stuff.” What they really want […]

Lent, a Time to (Re-)Learn the Story of Our Salvation—Part 1: Rescue

Lent is a wonderful time for us to learn or to re-learn the story of our salvation, which is at the heart of our Baptism. How does one go about telling a story, however, that spans several millennia and encompasses 72 books (and thousands of pages) of Scripture? Actually, the entire story of our salvation can be summarized and captured in three words: the story of our salvation is one of rescue, restoration, and reassurance. […]

Storytelling (Video)

Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. How can we get in touch with our stories of faith? Watch this video introduction to the topic. Read the post that inspired this video: Sharing Stories of Faith. Sharing the Wisdom of Time is a collection of stories about elders from around the world. From over 30 countries, elders share their wisdom carved from lifetimes of experience.

When it Comes to Learning Styles, What’s YOUR Bias?

We don’t like to think of ourselves as biased. To be biased is to have a preference or an inclination for one thing over another. Some biases are hurtful and prejudicial, such as if one is biased against a certain ethnicity. Other biases are more benign, such as having a bias for a hard copy book over an e-reader. As a catechist, you most likely have a bias you’re not aware of: a bias for […]

How the Stations of the Cross Teach Us a “Way of Proceeding”

In his book, Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross, author Gary Jansen tells the story of a noted psychologist who asked an audience, “If I squeeze an orange, what comes out?” After a hesitation, one person shouted out, “Orange juice!” The psychologist responded, “Orange juice. Yes. Why?” Again, after a hesitation, one person answered, “Because that’s what’s inside the orange.” The psychologist affirmed that and said, “We could say […]

Lent Activities Pack

Ground your students’ observance of Lent in Scripture and prayer with the help of our Lent Activities Pack. The sheets in the pack include: Personal Prayer Survey Bookmarks for Lent Jesus in the Desert Observing Lent—a perfect take-home sheet to do with family By combining these activity sheets with the seasonal lessons found in Christ Our Life or Finding God, your faith formation group can better understand what Catholics do and pray during Lent. Fill […]

Teaching Early Childhood Is Not Just Fun and Games

Whenever I would tell folks that my inclination is to teach older children—eighth grade or high school—some would remark, “Oh, I admire you for teaching the older kids. I could never do that. I teach the little ones.” In response, I would always say, “Oh, I admire you! I could never teach that age group!” And that’s the truth! I don’t have the gift of connecting with the “wee ones” of early childhood (pre-school, K, […]

Ashes Speak of Grace, Creation, and Justice

Receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday is often misunderstood as simply a reminder of our mortality: “We’re all gonna die!” What a depressing message! And yet, the words we hear at Mass on Ash Wednesday remind us that being marked with ashes will help us to “celebrate” the Paschal Mystery. To celebrate is to express joy. What is so joyful about getting dust smeared on our foreheads? We need to remember that all symbolic acts invoke […]

An Ash Wednesday Dialogue

Provide children with the language to explain why they wear ashes on Ash Wednesday. The brief video below illustrates an imagined dialogue between two students that can be a model for children and a classroom discussion starter. Read the post that inspired this video: “What’s That on Your Forehead?”—Helping Kids Explain Ash Wednesday. And see more Lenten resources for catechists here.

What Lenten Hymns Teach

Editor’s Note: With Ash Wednesday fast approaching, today we highlight one of the activities from our popular 40 Ideas for 40 Days feature. While organized according to the 2019 calendar, the activities aren’t limited to just one day of Lent. Check out 40 Ideas for 40 Days here. Today’s Lenten activity is an opportunity for catechists to reach those young people who are more musically inclined, tapping into the musical/rhythmic intelligence of some of your students. […]

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