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.

Best Practices for Creating a Welcoming Learning Environment

Create a welcoming learning environment in your parish or school with “an attitude that aims to receive and treat everyone in the same warm, friendly, and generous way” (Charleen Katra). Download a free poster of 20 best practices excerpted from The Adaptive Teacher: Faith-Based Strategies to Reach and Teach Learners with Disabilities by John E. Barone and Charleen Katra. Post this in the faculty lounge or another gathering space to remind teachers and catechists of […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Early Childhood

Welcome to the first installment in our series, Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, in which we will look at developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the […]

Becoming an Adaptive Teacher/Catechist and Including Those with Disabilities

Whenever I go out to eat with a group of people, I quickly scan the seating arrangements at the table and select a location that will be acceptable to me. No, I’m not looking for a place of honor at the head of the table! I’m looking for a location that will enable me to most effectively hear and enter into the conversation taking place. Why? Because I am hearing impaired. I have profound hearing loss in […]

Catechists Hungry for Knowledge of Scripture: A Look Back at Our Poll

Recently, we conducted one of our informal polls to get a peek into the minds and hearts of catechists. In this particular poll, we asked: Which area of Catholic teaching do you most need to grow in understanding? With 51% of the vote (as of 9/6/19), Scripture, by far, is the area in which catechists most feel a need to grow in their understanding. This is not surprising. While we Catholics have made great advances […]

Marking Catechetical Sunday: Tell ’em Why You’re Here!

For the 2019–20 catechetical year, Catechetical Sunday is September 15, 2019. It’s a day to celebrate the catechetical ministry and our call to teach the Gospel. The theme of Catechetical Sunday this year is “Stay with Us.” This year, I offer the following invitation/challenge to all catechists and Catholic school teachers: at some point during the first few days of sessions, as you introduce yourself and your syllabus or schedule, explain to those you are […]

A Prayer for Catechists: Build My Lessons

This prayer originally appeared in my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. Give your catechists this book or others in the Toolbox series for only $6 each when you buy 15 or more copies. See details here. For more resources on planning and preparation, start with some of these Catechist’s Journey articles: 11 Tips for Catechists Planning Your Adult Faith Formation […]

Why We Have Processions: We Are to Be a Church on the Move!

Many things are associated with Catholicism: novenas, rosaries, statues, holy water, scapulars, and so on. We call these “things” sacramentals. They are symbolic words or actions that remind us of the presence of God in our lives and draw us to the sacraments. One of my favorite sacramentals is the act of walking in procession. When our non-Catholic friends attend Mass with us, they very often comment on the amount of movement required of the […]

Celebrating the Wisdom of Elders

Encourage the children, youth, and families in your parish or school to acknowledge, celebrate, and learn from the wisdom of the generations in your community. Download resources inspired by Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and Friends, including: An Intergenerational Event to gather families together to recognize and honor the gifts and wisdom of the generations. Family Prayer Box activity for any classroom. Family Stories and Family Faith, a handout perfect for parents […]

Making the Most of Catechetical Conferences, Workshops, and Seminars

I attended my first catechetical conference when I was in high school. I was most excited about it because I was to attend with a girl from the parish that I wanted to ask out on a date; luckily, she said yes, and we’ve been married since 1982! Aside from that little romantic angle, I recall also being excited about the conference itself and felt very affirmed that the parish wanted me to attend. Fast forward […]

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