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.

More Americans know Big Mac ingredients than Ten Commandments

Why does this story not surprise me? Apparently, according to a survey, most folks can more readily name the ingredients in a Big Mac than they can recall the 10 commandments. Now, I’m not posting this to cause despair or to send up the white flag of surrender. Rather, it is a reminder that there are methods available for “getting into people’s heads!” We need to always be creative and vigilant in our efforts to […]

Peer Observation

I think that one of the most effective ways to grow as a catechist is to be able to observe another catechist in action. I learn a lot by watching the techniques that other catechists use as well as observing the rapport that they develop with their students. Of course, arranging peer observation is not easy. For many of us, the only time that other catechists are teaching is when WE are teaching. That doesn’t […]

Prayer is NOT "E.T. Phone Home"

For last Monday’s session, as we were focusing on the nearness of God, I began by showing a 5-minute clip of the movie E.T. (The Extra Terrestrial). The clip is the very beginning of the movie that shows how E.T. gets left behind on earth. Most of the kids had seen the movie before so, after a little trip back to their early childhood, I asked them to summarize the plot of the movie. Simply […]

Congratulations, 8th Graders…You Just Meditated!

Last night saw great improvement in the kids’ behavior and ability to participate more maturely in reflective prayer (meditation). By the way, one of the boys asked at the outset of class, “Are we gonna pray again like last week?” I got a kick out of that because he was one of the kids who had trouble being still the previous week, although he was not a problem per se. I think he enjoys the […]

A Little Magic

I like to do science experiments in religion class from time to time! They make for good attention-grabbers. Tonight, our focus is going to be on the nearness of God and our textbook emphasizes the fact that, since the Enlightenment, advances in science have led many people to conclude that God is not actively involved in creation. The textbook goes on to show that science helps us to understand how God’s creation works while Scripture […]

How Do Dinosaurs Fit into the Creation Story?

I received the following e-mail from a DRE in Iowa who is dealing with a question that often comes up. (The book she is referring to is God’s Library: A Catholic Introduction to the World’s Greatest Book). Following the e-mail is my reply: We have so many issues with children and adults interpreting the Bible literally!  I am often unsure how to answer them because I don’t want to think that the Bible is just […]

My Speaking Engagements

I updated my list of speaking engagements (see the link to the right), but I thought I would just give a brief glimpse of my October itinerary: I will be doing the following presentations and workshops: OCTOBER 3 – Holy Trinity (Westmont), Liturgy and Catechesis (catechist formation) 6 – Ave Maria Press High School Religion Teacher Enrichment Day (Notre Dame, IN), Scripture 10 – Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin Fall Conference (Rice Lake, Wisconsin) – “Teaching to “Generation Me” […]

First Guided Reflection

Monday evening, I led my 8th graders in their first guided reflection. We were focusing on the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit helps us to pray. I invited the young people to make themselves comfortable…most chose to sit or lay on the floor. The guided reflection I used is from the Finding God program and is on a CD. After getting the young people to shift gears, I turned down the lights and put […]

Confirmation Packets Tonight

In addtion to our regular session tonight, we will be presenting Confirmation packets to our 8th graders. This packet lays out the immediate preparation for Confirmation, including information about doing service, choosing a sponsor, and selecting a confirmation name. For each of these, the young people are asked to reflect upon what it is that they are doing. Reflection is key to making sure that this is not just some kind of “jumping through hoops” […]

Beyond Words

The famous French mime, Marcel Marceau, passed away Saturday. He entertained people through gestures, facial expressions, and body movement for over 50 years without uttering a word onstage. His philosophy was simple: “Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?” I believe that this philosophy lies at the heart of Catholic sacramentality (Marceau, by the way, was a French Jew). We celebrate the most moving moments of our lives – […]

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