The Catechist’s Journey

The Catechist's Journey

Joe Paprocki’s “About Me” Page

First and foremost, I am a catechist! I am presently serving at a parish in Evergreen Park, just outside of Chicago. I have been involved in the catechetical ministry for over 30 years.

When I was in high school, I wanted to become a teacher, and I really felt called to teach religion. My girlfriend (now my wife) and I served as catechists at our parish, and I enjoyed helping others learn about their Catholic faith in a way that was engaging and imaginative.

I went to Loyola University Chicago, where I studied theology and history and entered the secondary education program. I became (and continue to be) certified to teach social studies in grades 6 through 12. However, since day one, I have used my teaching skills to teach religion.

I began my professional teaching career as a religion teacher at a high school seminary in Chicago, where I taught for nine years while pursuing my master’s degree in pastoral studies at the Institute of Pastoral Studies (Loyola University Chicago).

When the school I was teaching at closed, I became a director of religious education and a pastoral associate at a parish on the southeast side of Chicago, where I served for seven years. I loved working with the catechists there and learned so much from them.

When a new pastor came along and decided he didn’t need a DRE, I moved on to the Office for Catechesis of the Archdiocese of Chicago. There I served as the consultant for catechist formation, working with my favorite people in the whole world: catechists! I had the opportunity of directing the faith-formation program for catechists, leading to their certification.

After five years at the Office for Catechesis, I had the opportunity to join up with Loyola Press to work on creative and cutting-edge catechetical resources. I have been here since 2002 and now serve as the National Consultant for Faith Formation.

Along the way, I have had the privilege of authoring a number of books, most notably The Bible Blueprint: A Catholic’s Guide to Understanding and Embracing God’s Word; Living the Mass: How One Hour a Week Can Change Your Life; The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher; A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe; Practice Makes Catholic: Moving from a Learned Faith to a Lived Faith (all from Loyola Press).

Oh, by the way, I recently completed my Doctor of Ministry degree at St. Mary of the Lake University in Mundelein, Illinois. My wife and I have been married for 29 years and we have two grown children.

—Joe Paprocki

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