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.

The Medium Is (Part of) the Message: Digital Resources for Faith Formation

Back in the 1960s, communications theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “The medium is the message,” suggesting that the primary focus of communication is not the message but the medium itself. While I have personally concluded that McLuhan’s statement is hyperbole, I acknowledge that it contains an essential truth: the medium we use to communicate affects how people receive the content. As a child, I became a Chicago Cubs fan even though I lived on the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Advent and Looking Forward

We all need something to look forward to. Often we find the energy to get through today because of something that’s on the horizon for tomorrow. Perhaps we’re looking forward to a special event, like the birth of a child, a birthday or anniversary celebration, a much-needed vacation, or a reunion with an old friend or family members. Maybe we are looking forward to attending a major sporting event or a concert or theater performance. […]

A Prayer to Listen to the Holy Spirit

The Scriptures remind us that the voice of God often comes in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11–13). Practice listening for God’s voice, and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your group of Confirmation candidates, catechists, or other adults through a prayer service composed by Julianne Stanz. The prayer is inspired by Shhh…God Is in the Silence by Fiona Basile. A copy of the book is needed for the prayer service readings.

Curating Advent Resources to Fit the Needs of Those You Teach

As the role of the catechist continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, one of the models that is becoming more apt is that of the catechist as curator. Typically, we think of a curator as that person in a museum or gallery who is responsible for acquiring, caring for, and developing a collection of artifacts that will be displayed for the edification, education, and inspiration of those […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Second Commandment and Living Up to Our Name

I remember one time in grade school when I was called on the carpet by the school principal, Sr. Salome, for some type of misbehavior (nothing too serious, I’m sure). As Sr. Salome verbally chastised me, the words that stung the most were, “That’s not what I’d expect from a Paprocki.” Ouch! As the seventh of nine children who all went to the same Catholic elementary school, I had to live up to the reputation that […]

Preparing Prayer Experiences That Are Authentically Catholic

One thing that many catechists struggle with is how to prepare and lead a simple prayer experience in a faith formation setting. Too often, we find ourselves searching the Internet for an inspirational poem or quote that speaks to the occasion, and we end up reciting that as the prayer while everyone else listens. While such poems or quotes may indeed be inspirational, it is important that our prayer experiences are authentically Catholic. That doesn’t […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The First Commandment and Our Attraction to God

The First Commandment is “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.” Each of us has a natural attraction to God, who is always seeking to pull us closer to him as a magnet attracts a piece of metal. Unfortunately, we often let a lot of other things come between us and God. We are attracted to many things that we think will bring us happiness in life. When […]

Involving Our Elders in Faith Formation

In many cultures, the elders of the community are highly respected and are seen as wisdom figures for young people. This is not always true in Western culture, where too often our elders are seen as a burden. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been encouraging us to re-think our attitudes toward our elders so that we hold them in higher esteem and continue to use their gifts in a variety of ways, including in […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: All Souls and Overcoming the Fear of Death

In the Chicago area, where I live, there is a great deal of ethnic diversity. One of the most prominent ethnic groups in Chicago is the Mexican-Americans. I’ve always enjoyed experiencing and observing the many traditions of the Mexican-American community. One tradition that I have observed on numerous occasions is the family picnicking at the grave of a deceased loved one. I’m not just talking about visiting the grave; I’m talking about a full picnic […]

Forming Catechists, Part Three: Doing

Welcome to the final installment of our series on the three dimensions of catechist formation: Being, Knowing, and Doing, this time focusing on the dimension of Doing. When I was in college, I decided I wanted to become a teacher, and I wanted to teach religion at a Catholic high school. To achieve this, I double-majored in theology and history, and I also minored in education for the purpose of achieving a teaching certificate for […]

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