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.

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 […]

Jesus, You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

This Sunday’s Gospel about love of enemies ranks #1 in what I refer to as the “Jesus, you’ve got to be kidding” category. Now, I know that Jesus is not kidding, but I believe that the typical initial human reaction to Luke 6:27 is just that: utter dismay. I once asked a group of students, after reading this passage, if they “buy it.” They looked at me like I had 3 heads, primarily because no […]

The Communion of Saints

Today is my (deceased) Dad’s 86th birthday. I’m going to Mass with my Mom and then out to eat to celebrate Dad’s life. I think of him often and have many dreams about him (he passed away nearly 10 years ago). I find great comfort in the Catholic understanding of the Communion of Saints and I feel my Dad’s presence in my life in an ongoing way. I think that the Communion of Saints is […]

Seating Arrangement

For every class this year, my 8th graders have been sitting in desks (with chairs) that are arranged in rows. Last Monday, I raced to get there a minute or 2 earlier (we have only 15 minutes between sessions to get our class ready) and I carefully moved the rows aside to create a space in the middle of the room. I used one desk to create a prayer center and arranged 13 chairs in a […]

Another Lenten Idea

Here’s another simple idea to use to draw attention to the focus of Lent. Ask all of your students to stand up and, on the count of three, to point north. Inevitably, there is some confusion…not all have their bearings! Explain that we can rely on a compass to help us get a sense of direction. Make a simple home-made compass. You will need a magnet, a sewing needle, a shallow aluminum baking pan filled […]

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