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.

Pop-Up Catechesis: If I Were a Church Hymn

One of my favorite musicals of all time is Fiddler on the Roof. Of all the wonderful songs in that musical, my favorite is “If I Were a Rich Man,” in which Tevye dreams about what it would be like if he were a wealthy man. Over the years, I have borrowed from that title to engage people in a fun activity I call, “If I Were a Church Hymn.” In this activity, participants think […]

Accompaniment Is Ongoing

Imagine attending a concert featuring a solo vocalist accompanied by a keyboard player and, after the first song, the accompanist gets up and exits the stage and does not reappear for the remainder of the concert. So much for accompaniment! Too often, in our faith formation efforts, our accompaniment is short-lived. A family shows up at the parish to have their baby baptized, and we accompany them at the baptismal prep meeting and the Baptism. And […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Filling Your Home with Joy

The notion of a happy home can seem Pollyannish, given the complexities of family life in today’s very complicated world. Perhaps that’s because we tend to confuse the words happy and joyful. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is influenced by exterior conditions, for instance sunshine makes me happy. But we all know that exterior conditions are not always favorable. Joy, on the other hand, is a deep-down gladness grounded in the love of Christ that […]

Why Catechists Should Care About the Ignatian Year

Five hundred years ago, a cannonball changed the world! It was on May 20, 1521, that Ignatius of Loyola was wounded in battle, a cannonball shattering his knee. During his long period of rehabilitation, Ignatius read the only literature available to him: books on Jesus and the lives of the saints. Upon reflection, he realized he was fighting for the wrong army and fighting the wrong battles. He eventually laid down his sword and dedicated […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Pentecost and Our Need for an Advocate

Some years ago, when I was serving as a catechist for an eighth-grade faith formation group, I was blessed to have an outstanding catechist aide. Let’s call her Mrs. Kelly. As it turns out, Mrs. Kelly was a nurse at nearby Advocate Christ Hospital. When it came time for us to teach about the coming of the Holy Spirit—our Advocate—on Pentecost, I asked Mrs. Kelly to describe her work as a nurse in pediatrics and how she […]

Pope Francis Announces Major Recognition of Lay Catechists

Pope Francis has announced that the role of catechist will now be recognized as a formal instituted ministry in the Church! While many, if not most Catholics, already considered the role of catechist to be a ministry, the Pope’s announcement in the apostolic letter Antiquum Ministerium raises it to a level of official recognition by the Church as an instituted ministry. The Pope’s letter making the role of catechist an official ministry in the Church is not […]

Junior High and Something Different in Faith Formation

For as long as I’ve been in catechetical ministry (over 40 years!), I’ve heard catechetical ministers pleading for something different when it comes to doing faith formation with junior high kids—and rightly so! Young people in junior high (seventh and eighth grades) are at a critical stage in their faith development, as their “image of God received in childhood is refashioned.” (Directory for Catechesis, 247) The worst thing we can do is to continue to treat […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Ascension and Three Questions

Imagine that a terrible storm caused considerable damage to the area you live in, including your home. Once the storm passes, you and your neighbors emerge from your homes to assess the damage. Relief workers and first responders are everywhere, but everything is in chaos. In fact, some scam artists are posing as relief workers and are seeking to take advantage of folks. In order to figure out how to get help for you, your family, […]

Catechists as Teachers and Mystagogues

I’m sure you’re familiar with the word guru, someone who acts as a spiritual guide for others based on the notion that the spiritual path—the quest to connect with the Divine—is best not traveled alone. St. Teresa of Ávila said as much when she wrote in The Interior Castle: It is very important for us to associate with others who are walking in the right way—not only those who are where we are in the journey, but also those who […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: How Parents Witness Faith to Their Children

I’ll never forget the image. I was about eight years old, and I got up in what I thought was the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (turns out it was only about 11:30 p.m.), and as I passed my parents’ bedroom, I saw my dad on his knees saying his prayers. I knew he was a man of faith who went to church every Sunday, but I had not witnessed this […]

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