Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Beyond the Catechist's Toolbox

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Beyond the Catechist's Toolbox

Article excerpt

BEYOND THE CATECHIST'S TOOLBOX

By Joe Paprocki (Loyola Press, 2013)

How many of us endured years of boring religious education classes trying to stay awake and engaged? How many of our children are struggling with the same problem today? And what of the enthusiastic catechist who can't figure out what the problem is?

Joe Paprocki feels our pain. On the first page of his helpful book Beyond the Catechist's Toolbox, Paprocki gets to the heart of this age-old problem: "If we ourselves are on fire, and the message we are teaching is 'hot stuff,' then it stands to reason that the fault must lie in one other place: our method of delivery." For many catechists, the "method of delivery" consists primarily of reading from the textbook-and therein lies the problem. According to Paprocki, the textbook is only one tool of many at the catechist's disposal, and should be used deliberately, precisely, and above all, sparingly.

What's a catechist to do? Paprocki proposes a novel approach: Make religious education "more like Mass and less like class. …

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