Beyond the Catechist’s Toolbox by Joe Paprocki
Reviewed by Gilles Côté
In a previous book published in 2005 (The Catholic Toolbox) Joe Paprocki provided tools and tips to help catechists in their teaching task. This new publication builds upon that foundation but focuses upon a deeper level of the catechetical experience by proposing a step-by-step demonstration of how to make a catechetical session not only informative, but one that helps students “encounter the risen Christ in their midst, transforming their minds and hearts so that they live as true disciples.” He suggests an approach founded on the principle that catechists are not simply teachers of a subject but facilitators of an encounter with a living God. He points out that while textbooks are important tools in a catechetical setting, what is more essential and vital is creating a prayerful setting in which this encounter can take place. This little book describes a five-step approach to creating a prayerful environment in a 75 minutes catechetical session.
As a catechist with over 20 years of experience, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Joe’s book. To illustrate his points he often describes real situations that he or other catechists have encountered while teaching. He is always very aware of what goes on in a real catechetical setting. The strategies and resources he suggests are always very concrete and practical. Joe obviously not only knows how to reach his students and help them see how God touches their lives; he also knows catechists and can definitely help them become better catechists.
You can order Beyond the Catechist’s Toolbox here.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from its publisher, Loyola Press.