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.

Websites for Catechists

We live in a new age, don’t we? There is so much available to us on the Internet that we, as catechists, can take advantage of. I’ve provided a list of links to a lot of my favorite Catholic Web sites in the right hand column of my blog’s homepage. I hope you get a chance to peruse some of them to see how they can be of help to you in your catechesis. Of course, most […]

How Closely Do You Follow Your Textbook?

We catechists are blessed in this day and age to have many fine catechetical textbooks from a variety of Catholic publishers. The General Directory for Catechesis reminds us however that there is no substitute for the person of the catechist. I know that when I teach, I think of my text book as a guide and a resource but I also do a lot of “ad lib” and bring in a variety of activities that […]

A Little Catechist Humor

A catechist decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible; Psalm 23.  She gave the youngsters a month to take the verse to heart.  Little Ian was excited about the task, but, he just couldn’t memorize the Psalm.  After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the class, Ian […]

The Role of the Male Catechist

I mentioned to Kathy (see comments on Catechist’s Role Description) that I didn’t think I could be a good 1st grade catechist and I admire those who are. Very few men are catechists in the first place and when they are, like me, they predominantly serve junior high. I’m often concerned about catechesis being either too feminine or too masculine, depending on the catechist. Perhaps the solution is to have more team-teaching with male/female catechists […]

Role Description for Catechists

When asked to consider being a catechist, many people hesitate, wondering if they’ve got what it takes. On the one hand, not just anybody can be a catechist. Certain skills, talents, gifts, and knowledge of the faith are needed. On the other hand, you don’t have to have advanced degrees in theology and education to thrive as a catechist. Here’s what I would consider as the basic “requirements” for serving as a catechist: Qualities:  a desire […]

Catechists on the Move

Do you sit still when you teach? I can’t and almost never do. Part of it is just my own style…I like to move around. But I also recommend it to catechists for several reasons. One, I think it keeps kids more engaged if you are “on the move.” Visually, if you are moving around, you are creating a sense of energy and enthusiasm. If you’re sitting still, it is more likely to look tired. Two, […]

Lifelong Learning: the "Charism" of Catechists

This is a recent comment I left on Catechist Connection (which has re-opened), concerning catechist formation: I’m a big advocate of catechist formation. I think catechists should be models of lifelong learning. If catechists were like a religious community, I think that lifelong learning about the Catholic faith would be our “charism.” This learning can happen whenever possible, however possible: workshops, seminars, courses of study, online learning, reading, videos, and so on. No one size […]

Honoring Dr. King

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity to explore various aspects of the Gospel, in particular: love of enemies, turning the other cheek, social justice, and non-violence to name a few. I know that some catechists resist connecting their lessons to Dr. King because he was not Catholic. To me, that’s not only a missed opportunity, but a shame. Dr. King’s life and legacy represent a […]

Catechist Connection

Not too long ago, I mentioned a forum for catechists called the Catechist Connection. Unfortunately, that forum closed up shop. There were some good threads going and I encourage catechists who were deeply involved in discussion on that forum to send their comments here. In my posts, I’ll be happy to address issues that are brought forth in comments so that the discussions about issues of importance to catechists can keep going.

Silence is Golden

I mentioned the other day that for the beginning of Advent, I invited the kids to pray in silence at the start of class. A friend of mine who used to be a 6th grade catechist remarked, “Oh, that’s the way I prayed with them almost all of the time.” I thought that was very refreshing. We sometimes think of prayer as a space that we have to fill up with words, when what we […]

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