Preparing children from remote estates and small towns for the sacraments has always been a challenge.
Different methods have been adopted over the years, often evolving as methods of schooling change.
Some past (and current) practices include parents preparing children using provided texts or workbooks, in-person preparation by a traveling catechist, camps where children gather in a central location for a few days training, lessons on two-way radios, and more recently telephone lessons.
With the absence of a Western Pastoral and the evolution of technology, this year we tested the preparation via Zoom.
A few children met in person with the catechists from Notre Dame School in Longreach, and three more children came together from across the region for each session.
It was certainly different from normal, and not without challenges, but these families were grateful for the opportunity for their children to learn with other students rather than in an individual environment.
The benefits for them of discussing and exploring their faith with other children (in a group of seven children from four different schools), sometimes for the first time, cannot be underestimated. Another big plus was having access to a fantastic catechist with strong faith and extensive experience working with children.