PANAJI: After the state’s Catholic clergy were forced to hone their technical skills to connect with worshipers after churches were shut down by Covid-19, the Church now provides catechism classes on the Internet.
The parish of Se Cathedral, the mother church of the Archdiocese, took the initiative to start distance catechism classes for around 150 children in Old Goa after the Archdiocese decided that churches would not reopen on the 8th June.
âWe organized an introductory session for the catechists on Sunday, in the same way we would have done if they had come to church,â said the parish priest, Father Alfred Vaz. âThe catechism teachers introduced themselves to the children and gave them a summary of the program for the year, as well as some rules to follow.
At the end of the session, the students were invited to plant a sapling each and send photos to their teachers. âThe saplings will then be offered to their mothers on Mother’s Day, which the Church celebrates on September 8,â said Diffa Fernandes, catechism teacher. âWe used to run a lot of programs during the year, and we don’t want to miss any due to the foreclosure, so we are planning activities that can be undertaken on an individual level, in their own homes. ”
The parish catechism classes will begin next Sunday, with around 20 teachers turning their 45-minute classes into 30-minute capsules that include creative PowerPoint presentations accompanied by narrations of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The parish abandoned the idea of ââinteractive online classes after discovering that not all children had Internet access at home.
âThe lessons will be uploaded to Google Drive,â Vaz said. âAt the same time, as we have found that not everyone has laptops and internet connection, we also send the lessons via Whatsapp. In homes where children have absolutely no internet access, teachers and samudai (community) members have arranged for them to receive lessons.
Classes, for students aged 6 to 14, will end with homework, and children have been encouraged to submit questions to a WhatsApp group created specifically for this purpose.
On Saturday, the archdiocese said it was critically assessing the coronavirus situation in the state and was unable to declare its churches open as of June 8.