The landmark encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”, on the care of creation, will soon have an Urdu version in Pakistan, with translation work starting this week. This was revealed to AsiaNews by Fr. Liam O’Callaghan of the Society of St. Columban for Foreign Missions. The 190-page encyclical, released on June 18, connects the care of the natural world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people, and argues that only by radically reshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world, can we hope to avoid the threat of self-destruction facing our planet today.
Fr. O’Callaghan, who is coordinator of Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for the Columban Fathers said they plan to translate the Encyclical into Urdu language in conjunction with the Theological Institute for the Laity (TIL) on behalf of the Bishop’s conference of Pakisatn. They plan to make the document known widely in the dioceses, parishes and institutions across the country throuhg seminars and workshops. Fr. O’Callaghan noted that unlike previous encyclicals which were often academic and addressed to the Church only, Laudato Si’ has an assessable style which makes it very readable and is addressed to all people.
The Columbans in Pakistan had been working in the area of Justice and Peace for many years and then decided to focus more specifically on raising awareness and practical involvement in ecological issues. In 2004 a team was formed and the initial efforts were for religion teachers in schools and Sunday school teachers, giving seminars and providing written materials, trying to raise the awareness that ecological issues are profoundly religious and spiritual issues too. As the ministry developed, different aspects of the work emerged including visits to Christian, Government and private schools, involving faith (using the Bible and Quran), science and action. Their publications include printed material, articles, posters, CD’s and liturgies (for Christian schools). An ‘Ecology Kit’ was also created which includes relevant books, lesson preparation, articles etc andwas given to schools, parish and youth groups.
“Laudato Si”, Fr. O’Callaghan says, is inspirational and hopefully will generate awareness on the care of the created world, which, he said, is still very much lacking in the Church in general in Pakistan. The Columban Fathers are also planning to work from a more interfaith perspective. He noted that some Muslim groups are already working on environmental issues, such as climate change, and by collaborating with them they could achieve greater effectiveness and wider awareness of the issue.
Vatican Radio, “Urdu version of “Laudato Si” expected soon in Pakistan,” in Vatican Radio, July 6, 2015. Accessed on July 9, 2015, at: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/07/06/urdu_version_of_laudato_si_expected_soon_in_pakistan/1156401
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