Part 1: The Creed and Chapter 1: Laying a Firm Foundation {Lawn Chair Catechism}


Welcome to this summer’s Lawn Chair Catechism! We’re reading Joe Paprocki’s best-selling book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe. We’re taking it one chapter at a time all summer long.

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This week, to introduce Part 1 of A Well-Built Faith, we have none other than Joe Paprocki himself:

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Video link

We’re introduced to the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church this week through Paprocki’s H.E.L.P. acronymn:

  • H = We Hold on to our faith that is revealed to us through Scripture and Tradition and is summarized in the Creed.
  • E = We Express our faith in the liturgy and sacraments of the Church.
  • L = We Live our faith according to Catholic morality.
  • P = We Pray our faith by maintaining a healthy prayer life.

As we begin Part 1, we’ll be looking at the Creed, the “H” for “Hold” above.

At the end of Chapter 1, Paprocki writes,

What difference does it make for Catholics to believe that “Christians are made, not born”? It means that we are called to be receptive. Faith is something that we receive. It does not belong to us but is passed on to us like a family heirloom that we treasure, protect, and pass on faithfully.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

  1. Who is someone you know who has a “well-built faith” and what do you attribute that to?
  2. What have you been doing/could you be doing to deepen your understanding of the Catholic faith?
  3. Who has been a “pillar of faith” in your life?
  4. What event(s) in your life have most significantly shaped you into the person you are today?
  5. Creed: What is the difference between an idea and a belief? What role does trust play in believing?
  6. Sacraments: When was a time you felt compelled to express yourself without using words?
  7. Morality: Why do you think it is so difficult for us as God’s own people to live moral lives?
  8. Prayer: With whom do you have the best communication? What makes that communication so effective? How good is your communication with God?

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions. You can also share your blog post by linking up below.

Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 2: Assembly-Line Construction: Human Desire, Revelation, and Faith. For the complete reading schedule and information about this summer’s Lawn Chair Catechism, visit the Lawn Chair Catechism page.


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Copyright 2014 Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. Disclaimer: I have not read the chapter. However, the use of the word HOLD as the H in HELP instantly reminded me of part of today’s scripture which I just listened to.

    Acts 17: 26-27
    He made from one the whole human race…so that people might seek God,
    even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.

    I love the imagery of groping for God…feeling about blindly, perhaps even in the dark. Sometimes, it is hard to HOLD to our faith when so many worldly things are within our reach. So good to know that “indeed he is not far from any one of us” and is easily found and grasped again with the eyes and hands of our soul.

  2. I haven’t started reading the book yet but I plan to – and will try to keep up with the discussion. Sounds like a great way to explore and express our faith. Thanks!

  3. I have a wonderful group of our parish catechists who are participating in this summer’s “Lawn Chair Catechism”. We’re using Joe’s book, your outline and blog. Each week I’m asking them to read the assignment, watch Joe’s video (when available), read your post and read all of the comments. Then they will reflect and answer questions that I email to them. They will do that via a “reply to all” email that I’m sending out to all of our participants.

    Since I’m asking them to read all of the posted comments I hope that lots of your readers will help me out by posting their own reflections! I know many of the reflection questions require quite “personal” answers that people might not feel comfortable posting in such a public forum. However, I’d love to see some comments about what people found insightful or new to their thinking.

    I don’t ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t so that said; I really LIKED the comparison that Joe outlined as “The Four Pillars of Every Relationship” (bottom of page 5). When using the shared praxis lesson outline while sharing faith we always start with the “what they already know” and then applying it to a faith aspect (i.e. – when teaching children about Eucharist we first ask them to think about a family meal and then we relate how that also compares to Eucharist).

    I never thought about the “Four Pillars of Every (loving) Relationship and it’s juxtaposition to: Creed (believe things about the person we love), Sacraments (express our love) Act (moral life – act towards that person with respect and love) and Communication (prayer – communication is always most important in a healthy relationship). THANKS JOE!

    What are YOUR thoughts about the chapter? What challenged you? What affirmed you? My “peeps” and I are ready to hear from you 


    • Mary Ann (and “peeps”!), do be sure to click on the links in the post to other people’s blog posts. I did my comments that way as well. (It’s at the bottom of the post, before the comments start…there’s a little link round-up included.) You’ll read tons of great insights that way too. 🙂

      Thanks for being part of this, everyone!

  4. Jose M Torres on

    I am one of Mac (Margaret Ann)’s peeps and I am really happy to be part of this exercise!! I will like to share some notes. The introduction to this journey is simple and powerful: a true disciple knows and do! Understanding that the end is to be saints, words should be followed by actions (“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself”, James 2:17). HELP is compound of four verbs, not four subjects (hold, express, live, pray), meaning that our actions are more powerful than our words. We need to understand that the evangelization called by the Church requires that our belief is express through the way we act and communicate to others. Jesus, help me to be more responsible with my vocation, loving more than teaching, Amen.
    This is a great start!!

  5. Pingback: Reflections on A Well-Built Faith | From the Pulpit of my Life

  6. I LOVE this book!!!! I gave one to each of my confirmation students one year and I used it as the theme of our confirmation retreat that year. My mom keeps a box of them in her office at church year round and whenever adults come to her office looking for resources she gives them a copy and people always have great things about it. The sequel to this book practice makes catholic is also very good (maybe next years book 😉 ).

    I didn’t know there was a study guide to this book. I’m def. going to have to find my copy of this book and blog along with the study guide. Super excited about this!!

  7. Pingback: Lawn Chair Catechism - A Well Built Faith

  8. I live in Queensland Australia and I have just downloadd the book on to my kindle so hope to read a chapter or two to catch up.

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