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.

Catechists Deserve Respect

My (Feb. 2) post about “Natalie” is a good example of the lack of respect given to the role of the catechist. Catechists are not baby-sitters, den mothers, scout leaders, or lunch-moms/dads. Those are all roles with their own dignity, but to be a catechist is to have a vocation. When someone responds to that call to serve as a catechist, the Church owes her or him support, guidance, and formation. A friend of mine from […]

A Catechist's S.O.S.

Here is an e-mail I received from a catechist who is seeking support in the midst of a difficult situation. I’ve responded to her personally with my suggestions. With her permission, I’m posting it here with the hope that catechists more familiar than I am with teaching pre-school, K, and primary ages might respond. I’ve also changed her name…we’ll call her Natalie. To respond to Natalie, just click on “Add a Comment” at the end […]

Movie Clips for Your Classes

News from Terrie Wepner at the Jegen Center for Catechetical Media & Research in Chicago: Youth Specialties recommended www.wingclips.com for short clips of inspirational movies to use in lessons.  You can subscribe for free or pay $12/month for better quality clips and tech support.  They also offer a theme index that looks helpful. 

God, Sports, and Religious Education

I’m from Chicago, a BIG sports town (bigger than ever this week with Da Bears in Da Superbowl!). Often, sports can be a thorn in the side for catechists: students miss religious ed. classes because of games, tournaments, and practices and, worse yet, they and their families often miss Mass on Sunday because of games and tournaments. These are serious issues that need to be addressed. On the other hand, I’m a huge sports fan […]

Online Resources for Catechists

Be sure to check out a couple of very helpful online resources for catechists: Doreen Gerczak is a religion coordinator and instructor for grades 6, 7, and 8 at St. Edward’s Catholic Community in Spring, Texas. She invites catechists to her site “Catholic Catechist” – (www.CatholicCatechist.org) – dedicated to providing Catholic resources, lesson plans and classroom ideas to catechists worldwide. She also has a discussion group. Gilles Côté, located in Canada, taught grades 7 through 12 for […]

A Rewarding Experience

In her comment on my January 29 post, Ali says: “Prayers are much more to be memorized, they should also be written on our hearts. It sounds like a wonderful way for you to gauge both. By having an exchange like you described, I can only imagine it will be as rewarding for you as will be helpful for the children.” You’re right, Ali, it was (is) very rewarding. Yesterday I had the opportunity to […]

Checking On Prayers Taken to Heart

I mentioned a while back that I will be taking the young people aside one at a time to check whether or not they have taken to heart the prayers outlined in the parish curriculum. I begin tonight. (As I do this, Patti will be conducting the lesson).  I’m going to do this in a prayerful manner. Before we begin, I’m going to ask each of them if there is someone or some need they […]

Countdown to Confirmation

This Monday evening, we begin the home stretch to Confirmation…about 6 weeks away. This immediate preparation can be a great opportunity to impress upon the young people an appreciation and awareness of the great grace of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Uppermost in my mind is helping them to see that Confirmation is not the end of their religious formation. Too often, it is seen as “graduation” from the Church. I hope to emphasize […]

Catholics and the Bible

I’m glad to hear that the bishops of the world will gather later this year (October) with Pope Benedict XVI for a Synod on the Bible. This will be a good opportunity for Catholics to reflect on the role of Scripture in our formation. For too many Catholics, the Bible has been kept at arm’s length, causing us to miss out on the power of God’s Word in Scripture. Catechists are at the forefront of […]

What I'm Reading

Now that I’m getting the hang of how to do this blog, I’ve finally updated my list of books that I’m reading. Take a look at the links in the right column of my home page (scroll down). I especially recommend My Life with the Saints for catechists, especially those teaching the saints in their classes. What books do you recommend for spiritual growth for catechists?

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