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.

Our “Why” Is a “Who”—Start with Jesus by Julianne Stanz

Popular author and speaker, Simon Sinek, made a splash a few years ago with his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. His point is well-taken: people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the why behind it. For Christians, our “Why” is a “Who!” OK, I know this is beginning to sound like the old “Who’s on First?” bit by Abbott and Costello, […]

Advent: A Reminder of How We Ought to Be

Every season and feast of the liturgical calendar serves as a reminder of how we “ought to be” as followers of Jesus Christ. The season of Advent, which is now upon us, reminds us that we are to be a people of hope—not to be confused with wishful thinking. I “hope” I win the lottery some day, but I have no confidence that will ever happen. Our hope in Jesus Christ is a confident hope—an […]

Advent Anticipation: A Poll Question

Years ago, there was a series of popular television commercials for a brand of ketchup, which showed people eagerly waiting for the thick ketchup to pour out of the tilted bottle and onto a burger while the refrain of Carly Simon’s hit song “Anticipation” rang out. The message was that anything good is worth waiting for. Advent is a season of anticipation. However, it’s about much more than anticipating the arrival of Christmas Day. It is […]

Putting Scripture Front and Center in Faith Formation

The God who loves us so abundantly is not some kind of nebulous, amorphous vapor of good feelings. God has revealed himself to us over the course of history through specific words and actions, climaxing in the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ, who in turn, revealed the Father’s love through specific words and actions. These words and actions formulate our narrative—the story of our salvation. When we invite others to enter into a relationship with […]

Countdown to First Penance and Reconciliation

Assist families in preparing for First Reconciliation by sending home a calendar that counts down the last four weeks leading to the celebration of the sacrament. This tool guides parents in helping their children prepare at home, and it gives children a great visual as they count down to First Reconciliation. From praying the Act of Contrition to giving a compliment or reviewing the Ten Commandments, the countdown activities will help children grow in their […]

Advocating for More Robust Catechist Formation

Recently, I had the honor of being invited to present on the topic of catechist formation to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, chaired by Bishop Robert Barron. You may well know that Bishop Barron is a leading voice in the country when it comes to the topics of evangelization and catechesis—especially with regards to those who are disaffiliated from the Church. He does this primarily through his Word on Fire ministries. I’ve known […]

Holding On to the Light of Christ: An Idea for Your Faith Formation Sessions

I have been and always will be an advocate for integrating a “language of mystery” into our faith formation sessions—using signs, symbols, rituals, music, movement, silence, and so on to deepen our awareness of the mysterious presence of Christ in our midst. The following idea flows from that commitment but also has value as a practical, pedagogical tool to enhance the experience of reading from a textbook. I have written before about the role of […]

Considering a Family Catechesis Approach for Next Year? Start Planning Now!

This is a powerful paragraph from the Catechism about the role of parents in faith formation: Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. (CCC 2223) Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other […]

Thanksgiving Psalms Bumper Stickers

On those days when I drive to work on the crowded Chicago expressways, I can’t help but notice the wide variety of bumper stickers on the cars in front of me. Some of the bumper stickers announce the car owner’s allegiance to a particular sports team, his or her political leanings, hobbies, religious persuasion (or lack thereof), pet peeves, a favorite radio station, or the driver’s idea of humor or wisdom, just to name a few. […]

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

Welcome to the final installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at the 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 […]

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