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.

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 […]

What's In a Catechist's Toolbox?

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have a new book being published by Loyola Press titled The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive As a Religious Education Teacher. Here is the table of contents so that you can see what I personally feel belongs in each catechist’s toolbox: Shop-talk: The Language Of Catechesis Blueprints – Planning and Preparation Socket and Wrench Set – Finding Activities That Fit Color Charts – Selecting Learning Activities Different […]

Jesus the Good Cowboy

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. The image of the Good Shepherd is often depicted in stained-glass windows and on holy cards, showing Jesus in spotless white robes holding a lamb. Nice image but not at all realistic. Shepherds are the equivalent of cowboys in the Old West. They are rough and gritty, working under often difficult conditions to tend to cattle. I offer this image, not to dismiss the Good Shepherd image, but to re-visit […]

Catholic VBS

In recent years, many catechists are finding themselves involved in teaching over the summer in “Vacation Bible School,” once a phenomenon found fairly exclusively in Protestant circles. Several Catholic versions of VBS exist and other creative DREs have found ways to adapt Protestant VBS to Catholic settings. I’ve not been involved in VBS although I think its a great idea. The parish where I serve as a catechist has run a very successful VBS for […]

The Value of Networking

It’s great to be back home in Chicago but I did have a wonderful time at the NCCL (National Conference of Catechetical Leaders) Conference in Columbus. It is always so renewing and energizing to network with fellow catechetical ministers. I highly encourage all of my fellow catechists to find out about diocesan and regional workshops and seminars that bring together catechists for formation and training. You have so much to share with your colleagues and […]

My New Book: The Catechist's Toolbox

I’m so excited to have a new book being published exclusively for catechists!!! It’s called THE CATECHIST’S TOOLBOX: HOW TO THRIVE AS A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION TEACHER (Loyola Press). The book provides skills, tips, and advice that catechists can use right now to become a more effective catechist. The book will actually be available in June but I know that Loyola Press has order forms available at the NCCL Conference in Columbus, Ohio (April 22-26) for […]

Jesus' "First" Words

A lot of attention is often given to peoples’ last words. In the Christian tradition, we focus on the 7 last words of Christ. During this Easter season, I think it is crucial that we pay attention to the Risen Christ’s “first” words – following the Resurrection. “PEACE BE WITH YOU.” These words are so important for us to hear, especially in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. What this world needs is peace […]

Helping Children to Cope with Disaster

We all struggle to deal with tragic and terrible events such as the shooting spree at Virginia Tech on April 16. It is especially important to be aware of how children may be affected by such violent realities. As catechists, we can provide comfort, reassurance and stability. The shooting at Virginia Tech will be the “Columbine” for the children we are teaching. Witnessing television reports about such violent events can result in fear and confusion. […]

Believing is Seeing

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Seeing is believing.” This is pretty much what the apostle Thomas was saying in response to the other apostles who had encountered the Risen Lord. Thomas wanted and needed something tangible to put his faith in. In many ways, Thomas is symbolic of the age we live in. More and more, people are putting their faith and trust into that which is material and tangible. Pope Benedict XVI addresses this […]

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