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.

Calling Forth Catechists: Why People Volunteer

As you call forth vocations to catechesis, it’s good to know why people volunteer in the first place. Understanding why people volunteer makes it easier to identify and invite people to volunteer. Research shows that people volunteer for the following reasons. Achievement—to learn new skills, accomplish something worthwhile, increase self-esteem Challenge—to stretch themselves, discover gifts and talents Creativity—to express themselves creatively Independence—to undertake a task on their own (separate from spouse or family) Leadership—to develop personal leadership […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist (Video)

The below video introduces nine strategies we learn from the kerygma—the first proclamation of the Gospel by the Apostles to people who had not yet encountered Christ—that we can use in our faith formation to be more evangelizing catechists. For details on these strategies, read the “How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist” series here.

Help! I’m a New Catechist! Where Do I Begin?

When I began my career as a religion teacher, I often had nightmares about teaching classes that were complete disasters. I would wake up in a panic, asking, “Am I ready for this? I don’t really know what I’m doing!” If you are a new catechist and you’re experiencing feelings of trepidation, please know that it is perfectly normal and that you are not alone. Heck, look at all the people in the Bible who […]

Calling Forth Catechists: A Catechist Role Description

As you set forth to call people to the vocation of serving as a catechist, it’s a good idea to have a role description in place to describe what you are calling them to. Be careful not to make your role description so demanding and lofty that not even Jesus would qualify! Keep it simple and basic so as not to scare anyone away but specific enough to narrow the field so that you’re not […]

Every Symbolic Action Tells a Story: Living the Sacraments

Every symbolic action invokes a narrative—it tells a story. When a child falls down and scrapes a knee, he or she goes to Mommy or Daddy and asks her or him to “kiss it and make it better.” Now, we know that this act is symbolic and does not heal damaged cells at the molecular level, but we do it because we know that it does make it better! The symbolic act transports the child from a […]

Are You Biblically Animated?

At a meeting I recently attended at my alma mater, the Institute of Pastoral Studies (Loyola University), I heard a phrase I’d not heard before: biblical animation. It’s not a new phrase, but it was new to me! First, biblical animation does not refer to cartoon drawings of Bible scenes. Rather, biblical animation refers to activity that is “powered by” (animated by) an encounter with Christ in Scripture. Second, it would seem that the concept of […]

Recruiting, Nay, Calling and Forming Catechists

Recruiting and forming catechists is a primary responsibility for catechetical leaders and is an ongoing challenge. You’re not just looking for any warm body but for people with the gifts that enable them to apprentice others into the faith. With that in mind, I prefer to use the word calling instead of recruiting. We recruit people to perform a function. We call people to live out a vocation! Serving as a catechist is more than simple volunteerism. […]

Counting the Gifts: Happy 10th Anniversary IgnatianSpirituality.com!

Spirituality is about our efforts to transcend our own minds and to get into the “mind” of God. And since God’s “mind” is so far beyond our own, no single human effort can fully accomplish this task. Some have done better than others, however, and so we refer to their efforts in relation to their names: Franciscan, Dominican, Pauline, Benedictine, Augustinian, (Don’t be fooled by all those male names—many of these spiritualities have been best […]

Microshifts for Catechists: Working on Positive Presence

One of my favorite new books from Loyola Press is Gary Jansen’s Microshifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. This book makes so much sense to me, because few of us wake up one day and decide to be evil and accomplish it in one huge fell swoop. We tend to “wade” into unseemly thoughts and actions on a gradual basis, often without paying attention to where we are going until we find […]

Use Vacation to Renew Your Vocation

Feeling a little flat? Except for having a flat tummy, it is usually not a positive thing to say that something is flat. Food, music, a carbonated drink, an acting performance, an athletic performance: if any of these are referred to as flat, that’s not a good thing! Sometimes, as catechists, we can find ourselves feeling “flat.” The General Directory for Catechesis tells us that, to avoid being flat, we catechists need formation that is […]

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