MyFaith.ie is educating children in faith throughout Ireland
Parishes from Donegal to Limerick and Kilkenny to Armagh and many in between are signed up and using the MyFaith.ie parish-based programme of preparation for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
This innovative programme not designed for - but certainly now suitable in - Covid times is allowing children to continue to prepare remotely for the celebration of the Sacraments, which all hope will take place later in the year.
Schools and parishes are using the MyFaith.ie system to offer lots of faith content and through it helping to lead their children on a journey of a deeper understanding of their beliefs.
Launched by Archbishop-elect Dermot Farrell earlier this year as Bishop of Ossory, the team behind this system consists of web developers, animators, qualified teachers and a support staff all needed to bring together the MyFaith.ie programme of preparation.
Under the leadership of Fr Dermot Ryan, who heads up Adult Faith Development for the Diocese of Ossory, the team has created a highly interactive programme for the children to engage with. Taught content for both children and parents is reinforced in each module through many games and interactive challenges.
But are the children enjoying it?
All early indications point to the fact that they are. Over the Christmas break the MyFaith.ie team monitored activity and observed an average of 500-600 logins each day with the children often spending 30-40 minutes engaging with the lessons as they logged in.
Commenting on the programme, Fr Dermot Ryan said: "This online and interactive programme 'walks' children though the steps necessary to understand, appreciate, celebrate effectively and then hopefully live the Sacraments in life. We introduce them to Ich Thus, a most important animated fish, who will guide those preparing for Communion and Confirmation - often getting things wrong, but that is all part of the experience."
Modules already available take the children on a journey of discovery of Baptism, Knowing Jesus, Communion, Confirmation and the story of the birth of Jesus. New modules are released every two weeks, which allow the children ample opportunity for lots of learning as they continue to prepare to celebrate the Sacraments.
It is true that a lot has changed in our world and in the life of parishes and churches, but for a people of faith the imperative for good sacramental preparation remains the same. It is when people prepare well for the Sacraments that they not only celebrate them well, but also have the greater chance of living them too.
The programme is now available to parishes at www.MyFaith.ie.