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.

Living Stations of the Cross

Last night, the 8th grade religious education students offered a Living Stations of the Cross in the Church. The DRE, Arlene Astrowski, did such a wonderful job of working with these kids with very limited time to gather them to rehearse. It was simply done and with adolescent reverence (meaning that there were smirks and uncomfortable fidgeting that comes with teens doing something that serious in front of their friends). Before I took my class to […]

The Catholic Channel – Sirius Satellite Radio

I will be doing a radio interview (by phone) tonight about my book God’s Library: A Catholic Introduction to the World’s Greatest Book on The Catholic Channel (Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 159). The interview is by Fr. Paul Keenan who hosts As You Think, weekdays from 9pm – 1 am (ET). I’m scheduled for 10:40 pm (ET). I’ll be sure to say something wonderful about catechists!!! As You Think Weekdays 9 pm – 1 am ET […]

I Admit, I’m a Holy Week Snob

I absolutely love Holy Week, especially the Triduum. It’s what we are all about. It is also Catholicism at its best. Today, we celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at St. Julie Billiart in Tinley Park…what a beautiful liturgy and a splendid way to enter into Holy Week. When I say that Holy Week and the Triduum are Catholicism at its finest, I mean that the power of the liturgies…word and sign…touch us at our deepest core. Catholicism […]

"Teaching" the Trinity

My friend and colleague Sr. Julie Vieira sent this to me via her blog, A Nun’s Life: I just recently read an article about your website and decided you might be able to help me. I teach a Sunday class of 12-14 year olds.It is a basic doctrine class and these young people have been baptized and are preparing for the sacraments of Confession & Eucharist. They struggle with understanding the Holy Trinity and who […]

A Different Kind of Grail

Since the DaVinci Code came out, there has been much talk about the quest for the Holy Grail, normally thought of as the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Funny how there seems to be little interest in finding another receptacle used at the Last Supper: the bowl with which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Perhaps this bowl is just too mundane for our tastes. Yet, in the same way that […]

Summer Reading for Catechists

Summer is a good time for catechists to get some spiritual enrichment from reading. More often than not, however, catechists I speak to are not sure of where and how they can locate Catholic publishers to explore their reading materials. I recommend the following resource: the Member Directory of The Catholic Book Publishers Association (www.cbpa.org/members.html). From their Web page, you can identify various Catholic publishers and then follow the links to the publishers’ own Web […]

What CAN Go Wrong, DID Go Wrong!

A few days ago, I wrote about ten things than can and will go wrong. Well, wouldn’t you know it, one of those things (#9 to be precise) DID go wrong last night! The catechist who was “on” for leading the class last night (I was scheduled to just sort of “co-pilot”) did not show up. I had nothing planned and a room full of 8th graders to keep occupied for 75 minutes! Luckily for me, […]

An Easter Exercise in Imagination

Kids are very familiar with the tradition of people decorating their homes for Christmas with creche scenes that draw from Scripture. Here’s an idea to prod the imaginations of young people and help them to focus on Scripture images from the Easter stories: Invite your students to imagine that they own a business that manufactures home decorations. First, have them brainstorm all of the figures that need to be manufactured for a creche scene (Mary, […]

How Much Time is Enough?

Religious education classes at the parish where I serve as a catechist are 75 minutes. That’s not a bad amount of time although it really seems like 90 minutes would be more effective, especially to allow for more substantive prayer experiences. I think it would also be nice to have occasional “extended” sessions that last 2 to 3 hours, perhaps once a month or at least quarterly. Where is it written that classes must be […]

They Really DID Learn Something!

This past Monday, we gave an end-of-the-year assessment to our 8th graders that covers all of the basics of the Catholic faith: the Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, parts of the Mass, and so on. First, we spent the week before reviewing, especially the Ten Commandments, which far too many of the kids seemed fuzzy on. Then, we gave the assessment, and, I’m happy to report, they did very well on. There were a handful of […]

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