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.

The Art of Blessing

To bless someone is to communicate one’s life, strength, and authority to another. To be blessed by God is to share in God’s life, strength, and authority. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear Luke’s version of the Beatitudes (Luke 6:17, 20-26) in which Jesus describes those human conditions in which God’s life, strength, and authority are truly found.  As catechists, we need to remind those we teach that they are blessed by God – through […]

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Catechists

I’m sure you’re familiar with Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (if not, I highly recommend it!). Well, tonight I’m speaking to catechists at a neighboring parish and I’ve decided to focus on seven habits of highly effective catechists. I firmly believe that the most effective catechists excel in the following areas: Ongoing formation – they never stop learning about and growing in their faith. Planning and Preparation – they prepare their […]

Give Me One Good Reason…

It occurred to me last night after class that we want our students to remember SO MANY things in religious education, that I wonder sometimes if they remember anything! Our lessons have numerous learning outcomes/objectives, vocabulary words, names of saints and holy people, doctrinal formulae, and so on, not to mention the myriad of announcements and interruptions that occur on any given night. And all this, after the kids have been bombarded by tons of […]

Hope is Our Fuel

No doubt many of my students will be down in the dumps tonight, saddened by the Bears’ loss in the big game. It’s a strange thing how people identify with teams and “live and die” with them. I couldn’t help but think about the role that HOPE plays in our lives. Over the past few weeks, HOPE reigned in Chicago because of the possibility of a Superbowl championship. As a result, people in Chicago were […]

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 […]

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