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.

Please…No "Crash Courses" for Catechists

I recently heard a reference to a “crash course” for teaching religion. My understanding of a crash course is a course of study offered to people in an emergency or to people who really don’t want to commit over the long haul. That’s not how I see the role of a catechist. A crash course is the antithesis of life-long learning. A crash course suggests that we can get, in one small package or time period, what […]

Let Your Light Shine…Without Tooting Your Own Horn

This Tuesday evening, my wife and I are scheduled to volunteer at a homeless shelter. I plan to share this with my students, not to boast, but to help them see that service is a way of life for Catholics. They have just been confirmed and were required to complete a certain number of service hours. I want them to see that they weren’t just jumping through a hoop but were engaging in the Catholic […]

Catholics in a Secular World

My friend Sr. Julie writes: This morning I overheard some locker room talk at the gym. From what I could gather two of the women were school teachers. One mentioned that in her school (I don’t think it was Catholic) all of the religious holidays are no longer observed. Instead schools are going with national holidays such as International Women’s Day. While I am pleased that such national holidays are recognized, I do have some questions. […]

Supporting Our "Rookie" Catechists

Here’s an e-mail from a “rookie” catechist who is getting through his first year with the ups and downs that come with it. Luckily, it sounds like he has good support from his DRE, fellow catechists, and from the catechetical community that gathers here on my blog. Let’s hear it for our rookie catechists!!! Thanks for bringing “new blood” to our ministry! We’re here for you!    After reading your entry about from February 22nd about “When […]

We Believe

A junior high catechist writes that he does the following exchange with his students: If you meet someone at an airport or wherever and said you were Roman Catholic, and they asked what you believe, what would you say? Suppose they were Muslim, Buddhist, or another Christian denomination. I tell them the answer can be found in something we say at EVERY MASS!!! Our Profession of Faith. We then review it word for word, slowly. […]

Responding to the Jesus Tomb

So how do we respond to a student who asks, “I heard that they found the tomb of Jesus [link to news story no longer available] and his family…could that be true?” I believe there is only one way to answer: “No…it’s impossible because Jesus is Risen! You and I both have enountered him and he’s very much alive!” Our faith is grounded in the Resurrection of Jesus, not just as an historical event, but as […]

Child A or Child B?

This is a true scenario about people I know personally. Child A: Her parents were not practicing Catholics (both were baptized Catholic but did not attend Church). Her father was an alcoholic and was abusive toward her mother. She attended public school (both grammar school and high school) and was not enrolled in any form of religious education throughout her childhood. There was no prayer at home and no effort to teach any form of […]

So, What Are You Doing for Lent?

Catechists typically practice what they preach and, this time of the year, we are preaching Lent to our students. That leads me to ask, WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS LENT?  What is your spiritual plan for growth? How are you practicing the Lenten disciplines? Let’s take the next couple of days to just share our thoughts, insights, and experiences around this question.

When Being a Catechist is Not Easy

Sometimes being a catechist is not easy. OK, it’s NEVER easy being a catechist! When I get overwhelmed by the challenges we face, I like to remind myself that Jesus faced some pretty difficult “classroom situations” himself:   Matthew 13:57 (Jesus is rejected in his home town) Luke 4;28 (Jesus is thrown out of the synagogue and dragged to a cliff) Mark 11:27 (the crowds challenge Jesus’ authority) Luke 9:51 (a Samaritan town refuses to receive […]

In My Thoughts and In My Words…

Sin begins in our thoughts. It’s no accident that, at Mass during the Penitential Rite, we ask forgiveness beginning with admission of those sins we’ve committed “in my thoughts” and then we add, “and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.” Repentance involves thinking. That’s the primary reason that we practice fasting during Lent – not because food is bad but because eating involves thinking and we […]

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