Baking Bread and Sharing Faith

50-year-old Bread Recipe Reveals Lesson in Faith

by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.
Arts & Faith

In Polish, we use the word “busia” (pronounced boo-sha) to refer to a grandmother.

Before my wife and I got married, I often visited and ate with her family, including her 90-plus-year-old busia who loved to cook. Busia used to bake a delicious sweet bread that everyone loved, and it became known as “Busia’s bread.”

I wanted to learn how to make this bread before Busia left us for heaven. Interestingly enough, the recipe was in her head and not on paper. While she had a definite idea for what steps to follow and ingredients to use, she also knew that making her bread was an act of love, not a science.

So, I offered to help her make her bread one day and secretly wrote down the recipe as we went along (I had to keep it secret because she believed writing it down somehow diminished it!) Now, some 35 years since Busia left us, I’m known in my wife’s family as the keeper of the recipe for Busia’s bread.

Joe Paprocki’s Busia. In Polish, we use the word “busia” (pronounced boo-sha) to refer to a grandmother.

During the holidays, our house fills with the aroma of this freshly baked bread. And over the course of several days, we slather the bread with butter and jelly for breakfast, dessert, and snacks (including the all-important midnight snack). More importantly, our memories of Busia come to life as we mix the ingredients, put them in the oven, and feast on her bread.

When it comes to practicing our faith, we can learn a lot from Busia. Yes, there is a recipe for living as followers of Christ—the Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Catechism of the Catholic Church—but living as a disciple of Christ is an act of love, not a science. Discipleship is a process, not a program. This means we have to loosen our grip and make room for the Holy Spirit, who guides us on our faith journey.

Baking bread and sharing faith requires us to jump in and shape ingredients into a delicious work of art. We have a recipe to pass along, but it’s not etched in stone. Our shared faith is a living recipe, much the same way Busia saw her recipe for bread as something dynamic and alive—not something to be written down at the risk of becoming static.

So put on your apron, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to join the Holy Spirit in the kitchen we call discipleship. Sharing your faith with others is truly an act of love.

P.S. Here’s another Polish word to know; it’s the Polish equivalent of bon appetit: “Smacznego!” (pronounced smoch-NEH-go)


Joe Paprocki, D.Min. 

Joe Paprocki, D.Min., has been a catechetical leader and religious educator in the Chicago area for more than thirty years.

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Books by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.

The Catechist's Backpack

Spiritual Essentials for the Journey

Written by two nationally known, expert lay catechists, The Catechist’s Backpack gives catechists the resources that speak to the spiritual dimension of their call to share the Catholic faith.

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Beyond the Catechist's Toolbox

Catechesis That Not Only Informs but Also Transforms

Joe Paprocki, best-selling author of The Catechist’s Toolbox series, has written the first, step-by-step book that demonstrates how to teach a 75-minute catechetical session with practical techniques that expand upon the textbook to create a more prayerful climate in the classroom.

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7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness

Enriching Your Faith by Strengthening the Health of Your Soul

In 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, best-selling author Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic Tradition.

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Practice Makes Catholic

Moving from a Learned Faith to a Lived Faith

Why do Catholics do what they do? Practice Makes Catholic from Loyola Press gets to the heart of the question-and to the heart of what it really means to be Catholic.

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Living the Mass

How One Hour a Week Can Change Your Life

In Living the Mass, Joe Paprocki, DMin, and Fr. Dominic Grassi convincingly show how the one hour spent at Mass on Sunday can truly transform the other 167 hours of the week.

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Una Fe Bien Construida

Guia catolica para conocer y compartir lo que creemos

Una fe bien construida,—desarrollado con enorme creatividad usando metafóricamente el tema de la construcción— facilita enormemente a los católicos el conocimiento de su fe y les da seguridad al momento de compartirla.

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Los planos de Biblia

Una guía católica para entender y acoger la Palabra de Dios

En Los planos de Biblia, el exitoso autor Joe Paprocki ayuda al católico de la calle a entender fácilmente la Biblia, y lo hace con humor.

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The Bible Blueprint

A Catholic's Guide to Understanding and Embracing God's Word

In The Bible Blueprint, best-selling author Joe Paprocki makes understanding the Bible not only easy for the person in the pew, but downright fun!

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La caja de herramientas del catequista

Este libro es ideal para nuevos catequistas, La caja de herramientas del catequista te entrena mientras llevas a cabo tu ministerio como catequista. 

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A Well-Built Faith

A Catholic's Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe

In A Well-Built Faith, Joe Paprocki makes it easy for Catholics to feel confident in teaching the Catholic faith. He makes complex teachings of the Catholic faith accessible to average Catholics without compromising Catholic teaching and tradition.

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The Catechist's Toolbox

How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher

The Catechist’s Toolbox offers catechists tips, advice, and a methodical approach that will help them succeed as educators of the faith.

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Under the Influence of Jesus

The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ

In Under the Influence of Jesus, Joe Paprocki explains that by opening ourselves to encountering Christ, we can learn how to live the Gospel and be models of faith.

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Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista

Catequesis que no solo informa, sino que también transforma

Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista le permite a los jóvenes encontrar a Jesús en la oración de manera que puedan convertirse en discípulos de Cristo para toda la vida.

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Amos/Hosea/Micah: A Call to Justice

Six Weeks with the Bible: Catholic Perspectives

The prophets tell us what God thinks about oppression, injustice, and neglect of the poor.

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La experiencia transformadora de encontrarse con Cristo

Bajo la influencia de Jesús

La experiencia transformadora de encontrarse con Cristo es la rotunda respuesta del reconocido autor Joe Paprocki a esa pregunta: ¡Sí, es posible!

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A Church on the Move

52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion

52 specific, practical, and achievable strategies to help Catholic parishes embody the broad themes of Pope Francis’ papacy—mission, mercy, and evangelization.

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La mochila del catequista

Lo indispensable para el camino espiritual

La mochila del catequista brinda a los catequistas recursos que atienden a la dimensión espiritual de su llamado a compartir la fe católica.

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Vivir la misa

Cómo una hora a la semana puede cambiar tu vida

Explica detallademente cómo cada parte de la misa se relaciona con la llamada que recibimos en el bautismo, poniendo en estrecha relación la misa dominical y el resto de nuestra semana.

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A Recipe for a Meaningful RCIA Experience

The Art of Teaching

You can apply Busia’s bread-baking philosophy to the RCIA process too. Joe Paprocki offers five ways to help you shape the RCIA experience to meet the needs of your candidates.

  1. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the steps and process of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and by looking to the liturgical year (especially the Sunday Scripture readings) to serve as the foundation of our faith formation.
  2. Take time to get to know your catechumens and candidates so that you can assess their individual needs.
  3. Gather and employ a variety of catechetical resources to serve these needs.
  4. Identify a variety of people in parish leadership who can share their talents as presenters or guest speakers.
  5. Look for opportunities to immerse the catechumens and candidates in the life and ministry of the parish, especially giving service to others.