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Family Catechesis

Family Catechesis at St. Barnabas: Saving the Toughest Topic for Last

This past Sunday was our last teaching session of the year for family catechesis at St. Barnabas, and we saved the “toughest” topic for last: the moral life! Of course, we didn’t actually save that for last; it just happens to be the last unit of the Finding God program. The theme of the session was, “The Moral Life: Stop Trying to Fix Yourself,” which gave us the opportunity to lay the foundation for the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis with Joe Paprocki
Online Retreat for Catechists

Pop-Up Catechesis: Making Moral Choices

Too often in our lives, we fail to consider the consequences of our actions. We act impulsively and then find ourselves overwhelmed by and even regretting the ramifications of what we have said or done. There’s no putting the toothpaste back into the tube after it’s been forced out! When we act impulsively—without thinking—our words and actions tend to come too quickly. They can be reckless, and the consequences can linger far too long. For […]

soup kitchen volunteers
Catechetical Issues & Topics

Making Our Faith Simple-Yet-Not-Simplistic: The Moral Life

As we continue looking at the four pillars of our Catholic Faith (Creed, Sacraments, Moral Life, and Prayer) through the lens of my book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe, we now move on to the third pillar, the Moral Life. Our goal, once again, is to make our Catholic faith simple-yet-not-simplistic. So, how do we make the moral life “simple-yet-not-simplistic”? We need to be especially cautious in this […]

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Being a Catechist

The Six Tasks of Catechesis #3: Moral Formation, or Living Out Our Faith

The third of the Six Tasks of Catechesis is moral formation, or in terms of the remembering phrase HELP ME, living out our faith. Read what the bishops say: Jesus’ moral teaching is an integral part of his message. Catechesis must transmit both the content of Christ’s moral teachings as well as their implications for Christian living. Moral catechesis aims to conform the believer to Christ—to bring about personal transformation and conversion. It should encourage […]

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Being a Catechist

The Six Tasks of Catechesis #3: Promoting Moral Formation

Recently, we began a series here on my blog about the six tasks of catechesis, focusing on the notion that God is calling each of us to fulfill a role that he has planned for us. Just as actors rely on certain strategies to immerse themselves in character, we too rely on certain strategies to “immerse” ourselves in the role that God is calling us to fill: the “best version of ourselves” (to borrow a phrase from […]

teaching sixth grade
Intermediate Grades


Tonight is the last session that I will be teaching for my 6th graders this year (next week is our closing Mass). I’ll reflect soon on what this experience has been like for me (in brief, it’s been wonderful!) but for now I’d just like to offer a glimpse of what I’ll be doing tonight. Preliminaries (15 mins) Gather, attendance, misc. – young people write prayer intentions Opening prayer ritual/procession Engage (10 mins) I plan […]

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Online Retreat for Catechists

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 3, Day 1: Before They Were Famous (Human Dignity, Sin, and Mercy)

WEEK THREE: The Moral Life (Life in Christ) DAY 1: Before They Were Famous  (Human Dignity, Sin, and Mercy) httpv:// Every so often, on the Internet, you come across these fun features that show pictures of celebrities when they were young – before they were famous – and ask you to guess their identity. Try your hand at some of these. Recognizing someone’s true identity can be challenging. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable […]

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Joe's Comings and Goings

Big News! I’m Moving to 4th Grade!!!

I let the cat out of the bag during my last Webinar but it is true…I am moving from 8th grade to 4th grade this year! I saw in our DRE’s spring newsletter that she was in search of a 4th grade catechist. I became intrigued by the idea of teaching a new grade (I’ve never taught 4th graders in my life!) and a new topic (the focus of 4th grade is on Morality and […]

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The 4 Pillars of Our Faith: the Moral Life

This week, I’m featuring short excerpts from my book, A Well-Built Faith, focusing on the 4 pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here’s a brief look at the third pillar: the Moral Life. Country and Western songs tend to be filled with heart ache, telling tales of good loving gone bad. Two people in love are supposed to treat each other in a certain way and when that doesn’t happen, relationships faith. Just […]

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Junior High

Ten Commandments – Two-Minute Drills

I’m pretty excited about this one! I want to do something to reinforce the Ten Commandments as we move in to this last unit on Morality. I also want to place more responsibility on the kids now that they are confirmed, so that they sense a difference between how I taught them before Confirmation and how they are learning now. As a result, I’ve come up with something I call The Ten Commandments Two-Minute Drills! […]