beyond catechist toolboxRecently, I was asked by Joe Paprocki to review his new book: Beyond the Catechist Toolbox.  He was kind to send me copy.  In this book, Joe aims to show how one goes beyond tools in your toolbox and moves into methods and ways that really help students not only be informed but to be transformed.

This book is short and packed with great ideas.  It will encourage DRE and catechists to lead their students closer to Christ through not only informing them but helping them be drawn into an encounter with the living God and long for more.

Joe spends most of the book giving examples and illustrating the method used in the Loyola Press textbook series “Finding God”.  I’m a big advocate of a clear and simple method to help catechists pass on the teachings of Christ and His Church as well as leading students to respond through practical application.   This book gives clear ideas from how to reinforce the “big idea” of the lesson to what to do when praying with your students so they will be led into a deeper encounter with God.

A few quotes from the book that I highlighted:

“Teaching the Catholic faith is so much more than passing along information.  As they [your students] enter more deeply into the catechetical experience, they realize that they are encountering a mystery.”

“We catechists are not teachers of a subject.  We are facilitators of an encounter – an encounter with a living God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

When speaking of greeting your students when they arrive and having them sign themselves with Holy Water he says: “…it will also put them in touch with a welcoming human face, one of the most powerful expressions of God’s presence.”

He talks about various ways to use the textbook and then he make the point: “The bottom line, though, is that a more active and less passive reading experience will reinforce an important idea in the minds of your participants: God deserves – and inspires- our energy and enthusiasm.

This is a great resource that I happily recommend to all DRE’s and catechists.