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 Joyful Mysteries: The Annunciation and Encountering Mystery

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary lead us up to and through the birth of Jesus Christ and his childhood. For that reason, they make for wonderful reflections during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. With that in mind, join me as we reflect on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, beginning with the First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation. It’s not uncommon for contemporary people, when reading stories such as the Annunciation (the angel appearing […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Third Commandment and the Importance of Being

It’s funny how so many people think of the Ten Commandments solely as prohibitions—rules that say no to everything. While the majority of the Commandments are indeed phrased in the “Thou shall not…” form—prohibiting actions from which we should refrain—the Third Commandment is unique in that it doesn’t tell us to avoid a specific behavior nor does it tell us to perform a specific action. In fact, the Third Commandment, “Remember to keep holy the […]

Traveling with the Shepherd This Christmas

For children, some of the most intriguing characters from the nativity stories are the shepherds, perhaps because at least some of the shepherds are imagined as being young. Catechists and parents can take advantage of the fascination that children have with shepherds and the nativity story by “traveling” with the shepherd from the wonderful book, The Shepherd’s Story, visiting local nativity scenes with a cutout shepherd boy. Invite children and families to take pictures of […]

Giving Thanks Realigns Us

Every so often, the tires on our cars need realignment, or an adjusting of the angles of the tires, which affects how they make contact with the road. Without such realignment, we run the risk of experiencing uneven tread wear, the vehicle pulling to the left or right, the steering wheel being off-center when driving straight, or steering wheel vibration. In other words, the car does not operate properly. Giving thanks is a form of realignment for […]

The Medium Is (Part of) the Message: Digital Resources for Faith Formation

Back in the 1960s, communications theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “The medium is the message,” suggesting that the primary focus of communication is not the message but the medium itself. While I have personally concluded that McLuhan’s statement is hyperbole, I acknowledge that it contains an essential truth: the medium we use to communicate affects how people receive the content. As a child, I became a Chicago Cubs fan even though I lived on the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Advent and Looking Forward

We all need something to look forward to. Often we find the energy to get through today because of something that’s on the horizon for tomorrow. Perhaps we’re looking forward to a special event, like the birth of a child, a birthday or anniversary celebration, a much-needed vacation, or a reunion with an old friend or family members. Maybe we are looking forward to attending a major sporting event or a concert or theater performance. […]

A Prayer to Listen to the Holy Spirit

The Scriptures remind us that the voice of God often comes in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11–13). Practice listening for God’s voice, and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your group of Confirmation candidates, catechists, or other adults through a prayer service composed by Julianne Stanz. The prayer is inspired by Shhh…God Is in the Silence by Fiona Basile. A copy of the book is needed for the prayer service readings.

Curating Advent Resources to Fit the Needs of Those You Teach

As the role of the catechist continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, one of the models that is becoming more apt is that of the catechist as curator. Typically, we think of a curator as that person in a museum or gallery who is responsible for acquiring, caring for, and developing a collection of artifacts that will be displayed for the edification, education, and inspiration of those […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Second Commandment and Living Up to Our Name

I remember one time in grade school when I was called on the carpet by the school principal, Sr. Salome, for some type of misbehavior (nothing too serious, I’m sure). As Sr. Salome verbally chastised me, the words that stung the most were, “That’s not what I’d expect from a Paprocki.” Ouch! As the seventh of nine children who all went to the same Catholic elementary school, I had to live up to the reputation that […]

Preparing Prayer Experiences That Are Authentically Catholic

One thing that many catechists struggle with is how to prepare and lead a simple prayer experience in a faith formation setting. Too often, we find ourselves searching the Internet for an inspirational poem or quote that speaks to the occasion, and we end up reciting that as the prayer while everyone else listens. While such poems or quotes may indeed be inspirational, it is important that our prayer experiences are authentically Catholic. That doesn’t […]

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