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.

Food for the Journey

Yesterday was quite interesting in terms of contrast. On the one hand, I was part of a First Communion celebration, rejoicing with my young nephew and his family as he received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. On the other hand, I was part of a Eucharistic celebration in the evening at my mother-in-law’s retirement home where I was about 40 years younger than most people there. It struck me that the folks […]

Why Do We Give Money on First Communions?

A few days ago, I posted about the Easter Season being a “festival of sacraments.” Well, today is one such day as we celebrate my nephew’s First Communion. It is a beautiful bright and sunny spring day…a “storybook” First Communion-type day. Of course the weather has nothing to do with the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, but God IS revealed through the beauty and wonder of creation and the nice weather serves to reinforce […]

Help Catholic Children Grow Into Catholic Adults

If we want our young Catholics to grow into adult Catholics, then maybe we ought to start treating them like “equals.” As catechists, those we teach are typically baptized and in full communion. They may not yet be confirmed but they are no less a disciple of Christ than any of us adults. Perhaps that’s why Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the youth of Brazil in the following terms: “You are the youth of the […]

Sacramentum Caritatis – The Pope's Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist

I doubt that the average catechist is going to read Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity), Pope Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist. For one, the document is nearly 27,000 words long. For another, most catechists and average Catholics for that matter don’t make a habit of reading Apostolic Exhortations. For the most part, it is a beautifully written document, presenting the truths about the Eucharist in language that speaks to our times. […]

In Recognition of Catechists

Tonight I have the privilege of attending the Catechetical Ministries Awards Banquet sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Catechesis and Youth Ministry. The banquet is a wonderful way for parishes to show their appreciation to catechists, especially those who have served with longevity. In addition to several archdiocesan-wide awards, each parish is invited to recognize catechists (who meet archdiocesan criteria) as a Parish Recipient of the award. Usually, Cardinal George is present although […]

May – The Month of Mary

I remember with great fondness the May Crownings of my childhood…nothing said “spring is here” more powerfully than a good May Crowning. Are May Crownings passe? Hopefully not. As catechists, a May Crowning is a good opportunity for us to help those we teach understand that Catholics do not worship Mary but rather honor her. May Crownings may be considered out of date by some but, with the proper catechesis, they can continue to be […]

Paul and Barnabas – Pioneer Catechists

This Sunday’s first reading (Acts 14:21-27) is an inspiration for all of us catechists. Paul and Barnabas, those pioneer catechists, exude such great zeal and energy, travelling from place to place and proclaiming the word of God. Here’s the line I find most inspiring: They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” […]

A Festival of Sacraments

I like to think of the 50 days of Easter as a “festival of sacraments.” We are still celebrating the Inititation of the newly baptized from the Easter Vigil. Infant baptisms abound. First Communions are being celebrated everywhere. Spring weddings are taking place. Confirmations are happening. Ordinations are being celebrated. What a wonderful time of the year – of the Church year – the Easter season is, when we encounter the Risen Christ in so […]

Reflecting on the Year

Many of us catechists are either finished or close to wrapping up the “year” in religious education. This is a good time to reflect on this past year, asking the Lord to help us learn and grow from the experience. Here is a reflection you may want to use to review your past year. (I’ve written it in such a way that it is best read aloud by an individual who is leading others in […]

Why Do I Have to Go to Confession?

At some point in the life of every catechist, someone will ask, “Why do I have to go to confession to a priest? Why can’t I just talk to God in my heart and ask him for forgiveness?” Well, a new phenomenon is begging this question. I read that “confession websites” are becoming all the rage…places where people can anonymously post their sins (and, of course, read about the sins of others). The hope is […]

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