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Foundations of Spiritual Discernment

Inspired by Pope Francis and his profound connection to Ignatian spirituality, this course provides an introduction to the essential practice of spiritual discernment. Recognizing the significant role of discernment in the life of the Church and in personal spiritual journeys, this course is designed for those new to the concept. The course does not aim to cover a vast array of content but rather focuses on equipping participants with the basic tools and understanding necessary for further study. Ultimately, the primary objective is to nurture the development of discerning hearts, fostering an ability to navigate life’s complexities with spiritual insight and wisdom.

  • Individuals with limited or no experience in spiritual direction or discernment
  • Christians dedicated to continual growth in their relationship with God
  • Pastoral workers involved in general ministry

Students without a background in theology or spirituality are strongly encouraged to complete the PFI course ‘Introduction to Prayer’ before enrolling in this course.

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

DateSession
19th February 2025What’s the destination?
26th February 2025Who are we discerning with?
5th March 2025Levels of discernment
12th March 2025Consolation and Desolation
26th March 2025Defending ourselves

This course has three exit certificate options:

1. Certificate of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Participation

The student will receive a Certificate of Participation when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course and pass from short multiple-choice exam.

3. Certificate of Achievement

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must attend a minimum of 80% of all contact hour and pass from a short multiple-choice exam and written assignment.

Language: Applicants must be proficient in both Maltese and English.

Digital: Applicants must be digitally literate particularly, in use of office suites and internet access.

Students without a background in theology or spirituality are strongly encouraged to complete the PFI course ‘Introduction to Prayer’ before enrolling in this course.

Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels

This course explores the Synoptic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, and Luke—which are often studied together due to their common heritage. In contrast, the Gospel of John belongs to a markedly different tradition and emerged later.

Students will delve into the history and character of these Synoptic Gospels, gaining an appreciation for the styles and themes that are both common and unique to each. This knowledge will be applied through systematic analysis of relevant passages from these three Gospels.

By integrating the content and skills acquired during this course, students will be able to interpret Synoptic passages with greater depth, meaning, and accuracy. They will also learn to recognise and avoid common errors in Scriptural interpretation. Above all, students will grow in their passion for Christ as revealed in the Word.

  • Pastoral Workers involved in Ministry of the Word.
  • Christians committed to continual growth in their relationship with God, who, however, have little to no experience in the formal study of the scripture.

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Students have the option to join this course online via Zoom

DateSession
6th November 2024Gospel According to Mark
13th November 2024Gospel According to Matthew
20th November 2024Gospel According to Luke
27th November 2024The Two-Source Hypothesis
4th December 2024The Two-Source Hypothesis (Application)

This course has three exit certificate options:

1. Certificate of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Participation

The student will receive a Certificate of Participation when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course and pass from short multiple-choice exam.

3. Certificate of Achievement

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must attend a minimum of 80% of all contact hour and pass from a short multiple-choice exam and written assignment.

Participants must have completed the Introduction to Sacred Scriptures or at least an MQF Level 4 qualification in religion or theology to be eligible to participate in this course.

Language: Applicants must be proficient in both Maltese and English.

Digital: Applicants must be digitally literate particularly, in use of office suites and internet access.

Expressions of Personal Prayer

This course acquaints students with the more common expressions of prayer within the Catholic Church, exploring their origins, strengths, limitations, and appropriate contexts. By internalising this knowledge, students will be motivated and equipped to advance in their own prayer journey and to guide communal moments of prayer effectively.

  • Pastoral Workers involved in general ministry.
  • Christians committed to continual growth in their relationship with God, who, however, have little to no experience in the formal study of prayer.

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Students have the option to join this course online via Zoom

DateSession
15th January 2025Praying with Nature and Music
22nd January 2025Praying with Art
29th January 2025Praying with Scripture
5th February 2025Devotional Prayer
12th February 2025Praying Like the Saints

This course has three exit certificate options:

1. Certificate of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Participation

The student will receive a Certificate of Participation when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course and pass from short multiple-choice exam.

3. Certificate of Achievement

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must attend a minimum of 80% of all contact hour and pass from a short multiple-choice exam and written assignment.

Participants must have completed the Introduction to Prayer course or at least an MQF Level 4 qualification in religion or theology to be eligible to participate in this course.

Language: Applicants must be proficient in both Maltese and English.

Digital: Applicants must be digitally literate particularly, in use of office suites and internet access.

Introduction to Sacred Scriptures

The Bible is not a single work, but a library of books that, while sharing the same divine authorship, differ greatly in their styles, history, cultural background, themes, and interpretation.

Through this course, students can expect to develop a basic understanding of why and how the Bible came to be, considering its different sources, transmission, redaction, consolidation, and intentions.

By integrating their newly acquired knowledge of the Bible’s history and the roles of divine inspiration and human cooperation in its creation, students will be able to interpret Biblical passages with greater depth, meaning, and truth. They will also learn to recognize and avoid common errors in Scriptural interpretation. Above all, they will grow in their passion for God as present in His Word.

  • Pastoral Workers involved in the Ministry of the Word.
  • Christians committed to continual growth in their relationship with God, who, however, have little to no experience in the formal study of Sacred Scripture.

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Students have the option to join this course online via Zoom

DateSession
25th September 2024Canonicity
2nd October 2024Inspiration
9th October 2024History of the Old Testament
16th October 2024History of the New Testament
23rd October 2024Hermeneutics

This course has three exit certificate options:

1. Certificates of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Participation

The student will receive a Certificate of Participation when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course and pass from short multiple-choice exam.

3. Certificate of Achievement

The student will receive a Certificate of Achievement when attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for this course, pass from short multiple-choice exam and written assignment.

Language: Applicants must be proficient in both Maltese and English.

Digital: Applicants must be digitally literate particularly, in use of office suites and internet access.

The Reality of the Family Today

  Ta' Mlit, Pastoral Centre, Mosta
Reality of the Family Today

Does the family change as much as society does, or does society change as much as the family? This question is asked and discussed repeatedly in different forums.

For society, but even more so for Christians, the family is at the center of human formation. A Christian can be a good Christian only if one is a good human being, and a good human being has a well-formed and balanced character.

This character formation is an ongoing process, mostly based on good familial interactions, where stages of life, events, and situations constantly change dynamics. It is not always easy to keep up with the constant changes, and this can put great pressure on relationships, which might lead to some struggles.

Family ministry, just like any other ministry, needs to read the signs of the times and use the tools of discernment to provide the necessary answers to the evolving questions.

These challenges faced by families today will be addressed by professionals to better equip family ministers.


If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 50% discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on parrocci.knisja.mt/pfi.

  • Chair Couples of family/couple groups in parishes
  • People who are interested in the subject

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course will take place on Mondays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

DatesSession
6th MayLiving out one’s vocation within our families
13th MayStress management: Work-life balance
20th MayWhat is more important, being a parent or a spouse?
27th MayFinancial Burdens
3rd JuneEvolving children’s needs and teenagers

This course has two exit certificate options:

1. Certificates of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance when attending a minimum of 80% of all
contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Achievement

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must:

  • attend a minimum of 80% of all contact hours
  • successfully complete a written assignment

Language: Understanding Maltese and be fluent in English.

Digital: Applicants are required to be digitally literate especially, in office suites.

Basic Customer Care Skills for Parish Office Staff

Basic Customer Skills

This course aims to equip participants with both practical skills for front office roles and a deeper understanding of how these skills can be applied within the context of the Church’s mission and ethos. It emphasizes the importance of customer care not only as a professional responsibility but also as a form of ministry and outreach.

Thus, participants will have the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills in basic customer care and front office skills, as a means for new evangelisation.


If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 50% discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on parrocci.knisja.mt/pfi.

Parish staff who work in the front office.

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

DatesSession
8th MayCustomer Care as a form of Evangelisation
What is Customer Service?
a. Definition of ‘Customer’
b. Definition of ‘Care’ with also spiritual significance
15th MayCustomer Care service settings – specific to parishes and pastoral work
22nd MayAims and objectives of customer service in an organisation
29th MaySelf-Development in Customer Care service
5th JuneImportance of Customer Care service in the organisation.

This course has two exit certificate options:

1. Certificates of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance when attending a minimum of 80% of all
contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Participation
The student will receive a Certificate of Participation when attending a minimum of 80% of all
contact hours and successfully complete a short multiple-choice online exam.

Digital: Applicants are required to be digitally literate especially, in office suites.

Introduction to Youth Ministry

Introduction to Youth Ministry

This course will serve as an introduction and foundation for youth ministry. Youth ministers, youth leaders and animators will reflect on who they are, their journey of faith and the call of being a youth minister/youth leader/animator in today’s society. This will involve a discussion on ‘tools’ that believers should have to live faith.


If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 44% discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on parrocci.knisja.mt/pfi

  • Serving youth ministers/youth leaders/animators
  • Youth aspiring to become youth ministers/youth leaders/animators

Target Audience Age: 16+

Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

DateSession Title
Session 1Reaching to our Roots
Session 2Catholic Youth Leaders
Session 3Living out our Faith 1
Session 4Living out our Faith 2
Session 5Deepening of Certain Ministry Aspects

This course has two exit certificate options:

1. Certificate of Attendance

A Certificate of Attendance will be awarded to students who have attended at least 80% of contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Achievement

A Certificate of Achievement will be awarded to students who have attended at least 80% of contact hours for this course and successfully complete and pass written assessment.

Digital: Applicants are required to be digitally literate, including knowing how to access the internet and use office suite software.

Introduction to Parish Ministry

Introduction to Parish Ministry

“If the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be ‘the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters”

Pope Francis.

Throughout this course, participants will explore the parish as a significant symbol of God’s presence in our community. The course will start by delving into the contemporary reality of today’s parish. Participants will then proceed to learn about the different roles within the Church; identifying the decision-making bodies of the Church and different ministries in a parish, highlighting the importance of everyone’s participation. This will include a discussion on effective teamwork and service to others. Attendees will then be introduced to the principles of communal discernment, examining its definition, tools, and practical applications. The course will conclude by presenting a model of communal discernment, elucidating the different roles within it, and outlining the composition of discerning groups.

Specifically tailored for those actively involved in parish ministry, the course seeks to inspire a deeper commitment to the renewal of parishes, aligning them as vibrant evangelizing entities in today’s society, guided by recent teachings on parish life.


If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 57% discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on parrocci.knisja.mt/pfi.

  • Pastoral Workers, especially those involved in decision-making bodies.
  • Individuals interested in the subject

Target Audience Age: 19+

The course will take place on Mondays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

DatesSession
15th April 2024Today’s Parish – What is a Parish?
22nd April 2024The different roles in the Church & Ministries in a Parish
29th April 2024Executive and decision-making bodies in a Parish
6th May 2024What is communal discernment? What are the tools used?
13th May 2024A discerning method

This course has three exit certificate options:

1. Certificates of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance when attending a minimum 80% of all
contact hours for this course.

2. Certificate of Participation
The student will receive a Certificate of Participation when attending a minimum 80% of all
contact hours for this course and passing from short multiple-choice online exam.

3. Certificate of Achievement
The student will receive a Certificate of Achievement when:

  • attending a minimum 80% of all contact hours
  • passing short multiple-choice online exams and written assessment

Language: Applicants are required to have an understanding of Maltese and be fluent in English.
Digital: Applicants are required to be digitally literate especially, in office suites.

Emotional Support In The Community: Basic Skills for Pastoral Workers

The aim of this course is to empower individuals without academic backgrounds in psychology, such as pastoral workers, volunteers, and others interested in enhancing their fundamental knowledge, skills, and attitudes for interacting effectively with parishioners or others. This course introduces participants to helping skills, theories, and approaches.

Through study and discussion, students gain awareness of tools that assist them in their work with people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds. The course provides an opportunity to reflect on methods used in their work and relationships and evaluate their effectiveness.

By the end of this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Understand the basic theories and skills of helping.
  • Know how to listen and respond appropriately.
  • Provide emotional and spiritual support.
  • Identify when to refer someone to professional help.

If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 43%  discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on parrocci.knisja.mt/pfi

Individuals without an academic background in psychology, including:

  • Those who regularly provide support and companionship to colleagues and friends in their workplace, family, etc.
  • Pastoral workers, volunteers, or individuals who interact with people in need or visit residential homes.

Target Audience Age: 18+

In this session, participants will explore pastoral work’s helping skills, including active listening, providing support, and validating feelings.

In this session, participants will discuss the crucial skill of empathy in assisting others. Participants will have the opportunity to practice this skill during the session. Additionally, participants will thoroughly explore the practice of maintaining boundaries, as clear and established limits in our work contribute to safe and effective connections.

In this session, participants will cultivate self-awareness; they will be prompted to reflect on and acknowledge their strengths, challenges, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions.

In this session, participants will explore their own spiritual journey and recognize its manifestations in their personal lives and within the community. It will delve into cultural diversity, other religious denominations, and spiritual practices within the parish, examining their impact on individual and community life. Additionally, the session will address spiritual accompaniment and religious practices, differentiating between them and exploring their potential synergy.

In this session, participants will learn when to refer individuals to professional help, understand the significance of confidentiality in pastoral work, and recognize the boundaries of confidentiality.

 

The course will take place on Mondays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

DateLecture Title
7th OctoberLearning how to listen, contain and validate feelings 
14th OctoberLearning how to empathise while keeping healthy boundaries
21st OctoberLearning how to support others emotionally as a pastoral worker/non-professional
28th OctoberHow to support others spiritually as a pastoral worker/non-professional
4th NovemberLearning when, where and how to refer someone to professional help

This course has three exit certificate options:

  1. Certificate of Attendance

To obtain a Certificate of Attendance, students must attend all the course contact hours. 

2. Certificate of Participation

To obtain a Certificate of Participation, students must attend all the contact hours and pass the short multiple-choice online exam. 

3. Certificate of Achievement 

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must: 

  • attend all the contact hours;  
  • pass the short multiple-choice online exam; 
  • and successfully complete a Case Study Analysis;

Every application will be considered on its individual merits. The Pastoral Formation Institute accepts a wide range of qualifications, and we always try to judge applications on the basis of academic potential. We do consider a very wide range of academic, vocational, and professional qualifications, as well as work and other appropriate experiences and skills.

Language: Participants must have a primary level understanding of Maltese and English.

Digital: Participants must know how to access the internet and use office suites.

Emotional Support: Self Awareness and Self Care

  Ta` Mlit, Mosta
self-awareness and self-care

This is a follow-up course which complements the ‘Emotional Support in the Community: Basic Skills’ course. This course focuses on and encourages the participants to engage in reflective practice, and to enhance the skills of self-awareness. It takes an in-depth look at issues related to transference and countertransference, and how these influence the individuals receiving the service.

The course then delves into the topic of mental health, focusing on supporting people with mental health issues, particularly when it comes to depression and anxiety. The course also aims to create an opportunity to discuss self-care practices, which are crucial to providing the best possible care.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of self-awareness and how to apply it to themselves in a personal and pastoral care context.
  • Define and describe transference and countertransference and what prompts them.
  • Comprehend the meaning of reflective practice, and hence begin to analyse their practices to gain a better understanding of quality service, which ensures a safe and positive working environment.
  • Grasp the concepts of mental health and mental health issues and how they affect daily life.
  • Explore what depression is (and is not) and highlight the difference between ‘normal’ anxiety and anxiety disorders.
  • Understand the importance of taking care of themselves as service providers.

If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 43 %  discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on parrocci.knisja.mt/pfi

The course is highly recommended for:

  • Those who completed Emotional Support in the Community: Basic Skills with the Pastoral Formation Institute. 
  • People who desire to enhance their listening abilities, to improve their relationships with family members, and co-workers.
  • Supportive individuals who wish to care for themselves in the process of helping others.

Target Audience Age: 18+

During their personal commitments, pastoral workers have a variety of experiences that help them better understand themselves.

Knowing oneself and becoming self-aware helps those involved in pastoral work relate to those with whom they are called to be in a relationship more effectively. It’s vital as they strive to treat others’ feelings, points of view, and circumstances with kindness and faithfulness.

In addition to self-awareness, emotional self-awareness encourages pastoral workers to investigate how their emotions influence their pastoral work. Hence, it is vital that they keep their emotions in check.

Countertransference occurs when the person receiving the service triggers the pastoral worker’s unconscious wants, desires, or experiences. In certain circumstances, pastoral professionals may be unaware of the needs or sentiments developing within themselves. As a result, a volunteer or pastoral worker must have good psychological health and emotional maturity.

Due to unresolved feelings, the pastoral worker or volunteer becomes a person from the past for the individual receiving the service through transference. A significant relationship is formed through association when a pastoral worker reminds a layperson of someone who has been a nurturing influence in their life.

Reflective practice in pastoral ministry is associated with an increased awareness of the minister’s own style in service, as well as validation of his or her own ideas. There may be room for constructive challenges to customary practices. This will aid in clarifying the role of the ministry in society.

Reflective practice also assists pastoral workers in identifying their own strengths and limitations and using this knowledge to encourage their peers to enhance their performance or service. Reflection will help the volunteer improve their self-directed learning ability, motivation, and the level of care they can provide.

Because pastoral workers engage with people on a daily basis, it is critical that they are aware of any mental health concerns that may be harming their service users’ well-being. During this session, we will have an overview of mental health concerns that may be affecting individuals we meet through our volunteer work.

As a result, they will recognize that good mental health entails being able to think, feel, and behave in ways that you need and want to live your life. However, if you experience a period of poor mental health, you may find that the ways you often think, feel, or react become difficult, if not impossible, to manage.

During this session, pastoral workers will gain a better understanding of the causes that contribute to depression, as well as how trauma can contribute to it. They will also appreciate the connections between childhood trauma and how adults function with and without depression and anxiety issues. With all this information, pastoral workers will learn how to support these individuals while respecting their autonomy.

There may be a misconception that self-care is unnecessary during pastoral work because a minister is supposed to devote their lives to others with boundless love. However, pastoral workers will become more conscious of the importance of self-care during this session. They are less likely to break boundaries, burn out, or engage in risky behavior if they practice self-care, which helps lower overall stress and helps them achieve balance. They are becoming more aware that when they take care of themselves, they are also taking care of others.

 

TBA

Certification:  

This course offers three exit certificate options

1. Certificate of Attendance

To receive a Certificate of Attendance, students must attend a minimum of 80% of the course contact hours.

2. Certificate of Participation

To obtain a Certificate of Participation, students must attend all the contact hours and pass the short multiple-choice online exam.

3. Certificate of Achievement

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must:

  • attend all minimum of 80% of the contact hours;
  • pass the short multiple-choice online exam;
  • and successfully complete a Case Study Analysis.

Teaching and Awarding Institution: Pastoral Formation Institute

Qualifications: Every application will be considered on its individual merits. The Pastoral Formation Institute accepts a wide range of qualifications, and we always strive to evaluate applications based on academic potential. We consider a diverse range of academic, vocational, and professional qualifications, as well as work and other relevant experiences and skills.

Language Skills: A basic understanding of both Maltese and English.

Digital Skills: Proficient in internet access and word processing.