I know at least one catechist who will take encouragement from Bishop Matthys' "Systematic instruction in the Faith", the letter to his Armidale Diocese (May AD2000).
This particular catechist teaches composite Years 5-6 primary classes in two NSW schools.
He does not use the CCD's Joy for Living program because it is so lacking in specific Catholic content that a modern minimalist Protestant would be quite comfortable with it.
Though limited to thirty minutes each week, his results have been efficacious. In fact, one pupil transferred from his denomination's Scripture class converted to Catholicism.
This catechist's classes begin with a decade of the Rosary (beads supplied by kind favour of the Apostles of Mary) and his curriculum is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, teaching such topics as transubstantiation, etc.
Annual tests (with a copy given to the parish priest) are given with year-end prizes for the most successful. Last year's exam asked questions about Original Sin, the Theological Virtues, the Four Last Things, the Consecration, Confession, night prayers, an Aspiration and the Apostles Creed.
Sixty percent passed and four reached the nineties.
The majority are not receiving the sacraments regularly, but in God's good time, perhaps, they will come to realise what they are missing.
JOHN F. DORAN
Berowra Heights, NSW