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 Role of the Male Catechist

I mentioned to Kathy (see comments on Catechist’s Role Description) that I didn’t think I could be a good 1st grade catechist and I admire those who are. Very few men are catechists in the first place and when they are, like me, they predominantly serve junior high. I’m often concerned about catechesis being either too feminine or too masculine, depending on the catechist. Perhaps the solution is to have more team-teaching with male/female catechists […]

Role Description for Catechists

When asked to consider being a catechist, many people hesitate, wondering if they’ve got what it takes. On the one hand, not just anybody can be a catechist. Certain skills, talents, gifts, and knowledge of the faith are needed. On the other hand, you don’t have to have advanced degrees in theology and education to thrive as a catechist. Here’s what I would consider as the basic “requirements” for serving as a catechist: Qualities:  a desire […]

Catechists on the Move

Do you sit still when you teach? I can’t and almost never do. Part of it is just my own style…I like to move around. But I also recommend it to catechists for several reasons. One, I think it keeps kids more engaged if you are “on the move.” Visually, if you are moving around, you are creating a sense of energy and enthusiasm. If you’re sitting still, it is more likely to look tired. Two, […]

Lifelong Learning: the "Charism" of Catechists

This is a recent comment I left on Catechist Connection (which has re-opened), concerning catechist formation: I’m a big advocate of catechist formation. I think catechists should be models of lifelong learning. If catechists were like a religious community, I think that lifelong learning about the Catholic faith would be our “charism.” This learning can happen whenever possible, however possible: workshops, seminars, courses of study, online learning, reading, videos, and so on. No one size […]

Honoring Dr. King

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity to explore various aspects of the Gospel, in particular: love of enemies, turning the other cheek, social justice, and non-violence to name a few. I know that some catechists resist connecting their lessons to Dr. King because he was not Catholic. To me, that’s not only a missed opportunity, but a shame. Dr. King’s life and legacy represent a […]

Catechist Connection

Not too long ago, I mentioned a forum for catechists called the Catechist Connection. Unfortunately, that forum closed up shop. There were some good threads going and I encourage catechists who were deeply involved in discussion on that forum to send their comments here. In my posts, I’ll be happy to address issues that are brought forth in comments so that the discussions about issues of importance to catechists can keep going.

Silence is Golden

I mentioned the other day that for the beginning of Advent, I invited the kids to pray in silence at the start of class. A friend of mine who used to be a 6th grade catechist remarked, “Oh, that’s the way I prayed with them almost all of the time.” I thought that was very refreshing. We sometimes think of prayer as a space that we have to fill up with words, when what we […]

Memorization and Catechesis

I mentioned recently that I will be checking to see if my students have memorized (taken to heart) certain prayers outlined in the parish curriculum. I grew up at a time when memorization in catechesis had fallen upon hard times. Sure, I learned the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, but not much else. As a result, I grew up deprived of quick access to a major part of our Catholic Tradition. I recall […]

What's This Obsession with FUN?

As I surf around various web pages and blogs where catechists are in discussion with one another, I can’t help but notice an obsession that many catechists have with the idea of making their classes FUN. Now, before you start thinking that I’m some kind of sourpuss, let me explain that I know what catechists are talking about. They are concerned when kids are bored and rightly so. However, I think that our goal is […]

Assessment in Catechesis: Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessment is exactly what the name implies: it is genuine and real. Authentic assessment is performance-based: learners put into action what they’ve been learning. Beyond being able to speak or write about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, learners must have opportunities to live out the call to discipleship. Service Experiences—Provide suggestions for specific ways that your learners can put their faith into practice serving others, either individually or as a […]

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