Catechism in the West14 September, 2022
Preparing children on remote properties and in smaller towns for the sacraments has always been a challenge. Different methods have been adopted over the years, often evolving as schooling methods changed. Some past (and current) practices include parents preparing the children using supplied texts or workbooks, in person preparation by a traveling catechist, camps where the children gather in a central location for a few days of formation, lessons over two-way radios, and most recently phone lessons.
With the absence of a Western Pastoral Minister and the evolution of technology, this year we trialed preparation via Zoom. A few children gathered in person with the catechists at Our Lady’s School in Longreach, and a further 3 children Zoomed in from around the region to each session. It was certainly different to normal, and not without its challenges, but these families were grateful for the opportunity for their children to learn with other students rather than in a one-on-one environment. The benefits for them to discuss and explore their faith with other children (in a group of seven kids they were from four different schools), sometimes for the first time, cannot be underestimated. Another major draw-card was the access to a fantastic catechist with a strong faith and extensive experience working with children – thank you Ange!