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.

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 […]

Mystagogy: The Art of Asking Questions of Life

In a recent post about mystagogy, I quoted Orthodox bishop and theologian Kallistos Ware, who said, “We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.” I also wrote that mystagogy is the task of becoming progressively aware of mystery. In order to […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Why Do We Have to Go to Mass?

Kids ask a lot of questions, such as, “Are we there yet?” Some of their questions are harder to answer than others, especially when they ask, “Why?” One of the questions that most children eventually ask is, “Why do we have to go to Mass?” Parents struggle to find all kinds of answers to convince their children that going to Mass is important and is a good thing but all too often end up telling […]

Mystagogy: Becoming Progressively Aware of Mystery

When it comes to inspiration about faith formation, one of my favorite quotes comes from Orthodox bishop and theologian Kallistos Ware, who said, “We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.” The task of becoming progressively aware of mystery is known […]

How Do We Show Appreciation to Catechists During the Pandemic?

Recently I received the following e-mail from a Catechist’s Journey reader: Any ideas for catechist appreciation this year with such a variety of comfort levels with gathering? Usually we do a big dinner, but we are currently only allowed to serve prepackaged food at parish functions according to diocesan guidelines. —Diana G. Thanks for asking the question, Diana, which I’m now asking of the rest of you readers. Perhaps you are a catechetical leader asking the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Divine Mercy and Treating People Like One of the Family

One of the most compelling reasons for believing in the Resurrection of Jesus—for me, at least—is the fact that the Gospel writers record no acts of vengeance on the part of the Risen Christ. Think about it: if the Gospel writers were trying to protect or restore their own reputations for backing a failed messiah who was publicly executed in the most humiliating way, they would most likely fabricate a story about his return to […]

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