The theme for Catechetical Sunday 2021 is “Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed.” The following articles by Joe Paprocki and other catechists and catechetical leaders explore topics related to that theme.

A Healing Journal

In honor of this year’s Catechetical Sunday theme of “Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed,” we offer a spiritual journaling exercise to help teachers, catechists, and parents reflect on the tensions of life and identify places in need of healing. The journal prompts are excerpted from Writing to Be Whole: A Healing Journal by Eddie Ensley and Robert Herrmann. As we continue to emerge from the isolation the pandemic forced upon us, […]

Catechetical Sunday 2021: Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed​

Every year, on the third Sunday of September, the Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday, an opportunity to highlight the ministry of catechesis and to call forth and affirm the many people called to serve in this ministry. This year, Catechetical Sunday takes place on September 19, 2021, with the theme of “Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed”—words drawn from the prayer we say just before coming forward to receive the Eucharist that are, […]

Preparing Hearts and Minds Strategy 1: Focus on Brokenness

Welcome to my summer series, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith. Today we look at the first strategy for tilling the soil of people’s hearts and minds: Strategy #1: Point out that potential believers’ current “way” is broken or unsatisfactory and needs to be repaired or replaced. In other words, we need to begin the faith formation journey by drawing attention to our human brokenness, and we proclaim […]

Lenten Disciples: The Man Born Blind

In the Scriptures, we see examples of disciples at different stages of their faith journeys. Through the story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4:1–42), we explored the early stages of the discipleship journey. Later in the Gospel of John, we hear the story of Jesus restoring sight to a man born blind. (John 9:1–41). This story represents the next stage in the journey of discipleship. In this story, a man who was […]

Be the Tenth: Gratitude in the Life of a Catechetical Leader

I’ve long been fascinated by the Lucan narrative of Jesus’ cleansing of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11–19). Jesus healed all ten, but only one returns to thank and worship him. As catechetical leaders, we often experience Jesus’ healing presence through our ministry. How often do we return to him to express our gratitude? Jesus heals us of apathy and transforms our experience. Children help us see the world through a clear, new lens. Think of […]

Discovering the Nearness of God: Anointing of the Sick: Healing as God’s M.O.

Welcome to the sixth installment of my series “Discovering the Nearness of God: An Eight-Week Series on the Catholic Sacramental Vision.” This week we will explore the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, with the theme of “Healing as God’s M.O.” When we talk about “thin places” or “thin moments”—when the veil between heaven and earth seems very thin—we tend to think of places of great beauty or experiences of joy or accomplishment. But […]

How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist #1: Proclaim an Alternate Reality to Our Brokenness

Welcome to the first post in my series on How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist. In my introduction to the series, I talked about how marketing efforts often rely on nine formulaic strategies for persuading people that they need to purchase the product or service being advertised. They kick off their efforts by emphasizing that something is missing from your life or that something in your life, as you live it now, is broken […]

Catechists as Echoes (Part I): Echoes of Hope

The word catechist comes from the Greek word “to echo.” As catechists, we echo the teachings of the Church. We also echo our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ through our words and deeds. This series of blog posts will look at the ministry of catechesis through the lens of the word echo. We will explore what it means to be a catechist who echoes hope, love, truth, and mercy. First, we begin with four […]

Revisiting the Notion of Brokenness and Adult Faith Formation

It would seem that I touched a nerve (in a good way) when I suggested recently that our adult faith formation efforts need to focus on brokenness. This idea really seems to resonate with people, based on the volume of comments and the number of people who shared the post on social networks. Thanks for making this such a robust conversation. I thought it might be helpful to revisit it and delve a little deeper. […]

Adult Faith Formation Needs to Focus on Brokenness

The key to effective adult faith formation can be found in church basements all over the country. And what, exactly, can be found in church basements? Twelve Step meetings. People do not go to Twelve Step meetings because they like the music. They don’t go because of how the space is decorated. They don’t go because the seats are comfy or because of a big video screen. They don’t go because the food is good. […]