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The Maltese OFM Province of St Paul the Apostle has teamed up with the Centre for Environmental Education and Research of the University of Malta, and the Interdiocesan Commission for the Environment to launch a course designed to inspire and empower participants in taking a stand on sustainability, both in their personal lives and in their communities.

The course, ‘Developing Environmental Responsibility’ is one of the fruits of years of collaboration between the friars and the other two entities in a common effort to spread a culture of eco-friendly life-styles and create a new civilization that practices a clear option for the poor. In this voyage, particularly inspiring was Pope Francis’s encyclical ‘Laudato Si’’, in which, amongst other things, he states: ‘The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.. Young people demand change’ (‘Laudato Si’’, 13).

The course was promoted via internet, but also through direct contact with the faithful that frequent the churches where our friars conduct their pastoral activity. For this purpose, a specially designed brochure, poster and banner were prepared. The event was offered free of charge and hosted 18 participants that formed a particularly interesting diverse group of people of various ages, professions and walks of life. Some were private individuals or families that were keen to develop their awareness on environmental issues and explore possible ways of leaving a positive impact. Others hailed from NGO’s that operate in the sphere of vulnerability. The group comprised also a member of the SFO.

During the course, participants were offered the opportunity to:

  1. Understand the basic environmental, social and development challenges we are facing as a country and globally.
  2. Apply critical thinking skills to bring about sustainable choices in their day to day life.
  3. Apply critical thinking skills to bring about sustainable change at a household, institution and community level.
  4. Reflect critically on their roles and identities as active citizens, consumers and change makers in a complex and interconnected world.

‘Developing Environmental Responsibility’ was conducted over seven sessions of two hours each, held once weekly on Sundayafternoon, between the 20th of January and the 10th of March, 2019. Sessions were held in a newly refurbished farm house forming part of the Franciscan Centre complex in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq. Child minding was offered, as well as the celebration of mass and lunch for those opting for a day out. A certificate of participation was given to each participant. The friars promise more to come!

Br. Mark Ciantar, OFM
Province of St. Paul the Apostle – Malta