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.

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 – […]


My DRE included the following in her weekly e-mail update. I like this: Watch your thoughts:  They become your words.  Watch your words:  They become your actions.  Watch your actions:  They become your habits.  Watch your habits:  They become your character.  Watch your character:  it is your destiny. 

Next Session: The Holy Spirit

My next session with my 8th graders will focus on the Holy Spirit as our guide. It’s almost impossible to speak of the Holy Spirit without using metaphors. In our Tradition, we have many powerful metaphors that help us to know the Spirit: water, oil, fire, wind, a dove, and so on. Most importantly, however, I want to be sure that the young people come away from the session knowing that the Holy Spirit is […]

They All Talk At Once!

I received an e-mail from a catechist named Betty who mentions a discipline problem she faces in her sessions. Here’s her e-mail, followed by my response. I am a volunteer religious education teacher in a small parish. I teach the 9th and 10th grades as one class of 13 students. They are a great group of teens. I find it quite challenging but very rewarding. Challenging may be somewhat of an understatement at times.  As we are trying to have discussions […]

Week 2 Went Well

Week 2 of religious education went very well. I remembered most of the kids’ names (next week…no name tags!) and they continued to be very well-behaved. We went to church for an opening prayer service and the pastor did a nice job of speaking to the kids about the upcoming year and talking about Jesus as the key to our salvation. Next week, I will be getting a new student with special needs (hearing impairment). […]

Getting Ready for Week 2

Tonight is week 2 for religious education and a big chunk of the time will be devoted to an opening prayer service in the Church. Of course, this provides an opportunity to teach the young people about reverence. In many ways, reverence is a lost art in our society. Simply put, reverence means recognition of the sacred. In the church, we gather in a sacred space, aware of the presence of the Living God. One […]

Happy Catechetical Sunday!

A rousing “Happy Catechetical Sunday!” to all of my fellow catechists!!! Today is a day to celebrate our ministry and to pray that we may be inspired by the Holy Spirit to help those we teach to encounter the Living Christ!

Seeking the Lost

Most of us catechists would prefer to “preach to the choir.” In other words, we tend to hope that our classes will have good participants who are enthusiastic about faith formation. I know I do. Today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus came to seek out the lost. This Gospel challenges us catechists to pay special attention to those participants in our group who are “lost.” I pray that this week as I teach, I will […]

Field of Dreams

I had a wonderful time in Peosta, Iowa, with over a hundred catechists, talking about the skills and knowledge that we need to be effective in our ministry. Thanks to all for the warm hospitality! I had a chance to visit the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville! It was like a dream come true. This is one of my favorite movies of all time and it was so much fun to be there […]

Iowa, Here I Come!

I’m off to Peosta, Iowa, to meet with about 200 catechists from the Dubuque archdiocese! I look forward to talking with them about catechetical skills and strategies from The Catechist’s Toolbox. I’m glad I have a session of religious education under my belt so that I have some fresh experiences to draw on. While there, I plan to visit the “Field of Dreams”….the baseball field built in the middle of a corn field for the […]

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