As Australian families face a difficult drought, a diocese in New South Wales is offering struggling families assistance with their school fees.

“The provision of affordable Catholic schooling should not be an added burden to the financial strain of families, especially for those in need in this time of drought,” said Bishop Michael McKenna of Bathurst, according to the Mudgee Guardian.

“We certainly do not wish to add to the financial burden families are currently experiencing, as money should not be a barrier to children attending Catholic schools.”

The country’s Bureau of Meteorology cited that rainfall deficiencies have continued to affect large portions of Australia’s southern regions. Most of New South Wales is considered to be in a severe deficiency.

With a particularly dry winter, farmers have been forced to access livestock feed from interstate rather than local supplies, according to ABC News. This week, the government announced that it raised an additional $500 million in funding to aid farmers affected by the drought.  

The Diocese of Bathurst has also offered aid, both spiritual and financial, to families engaged with Catholic schools. The financial relief could be in the form of payment plans or delayed payments without interest.

The Mudgee Guardian wrote that Bishop McKenna has extensively traveled through the diocese and is aware of the difficult impact the drought has brought to communities. On Sunday, the bishop requested a day of prayer for those affected by the drought.

“As people of faith, we are already praying for rain and for everyone whose lives and livelihood depends on this blessing,” he said.

“Last Sunday, the Diocese was united in a Day of Prayer for those intentions.”