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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 AI in Pastoral Settings: Tools and Practices

This course aims to equip individuals working in pastoral contexts with the knowledge and skills needed to utilize AI tools effectively. Designed for those with little to no prior knowledge of AI, the course provides a basic understanding of AI systems, their potential applications, and best practices for implementation in pastoral work. By the end of the course, students will have a foundational understanding of how AI tools and systems function, an awareness of the positive and negative aspects of such tools, and an understanding of the Church’s position on AI. They will also develop the ability to critically assess which contexts might benefit from introducing AI tools and which would not, as well as gain awareness of some AI tools that might prove useful in pastoral work.

  • Pastoral Workers
  • Priests
  • Religious

And other individuals interested in the subject

Target Audience Age: 18+

The course will take place on Saturdays from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Students have the option to join this course online via Zoom

DateSession
19th October 2024What is AI? What is the Church’s position on AI?
26th October 2024Helpful AI tools and how to make use of them

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.

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.

Living Beyond Sunday

Our relationship with God is not meant to stay within the walls of our parish church when we leave after Sunday Mass. Instead, “the Mass is ended, go in peace” is an exhortation for us to let what we received during Mass transform our hearts, families, homes, and schools into welcoming places to encounter Christ. This transformation should continue until we gather again the following Sunday to be strengthened and sent forth once more.

In this new course, Living Beyond Sunday, we aim to share ideas to help parents and all those working with children make their time together a place of encounter with God—a place where saints are being made. The course discusses how to foster holiness in all the everyday moments of Catholic life, starting with spiritual pedagogy and moving on to practical ways to celebrate this. It is based on the premise that with small efforts, creativity, and adaptations, it is possible to make what we experience during liturgy appealing, meaningful, and impactful for children.

  • Pastoral workers aiding in children’s and family ministry
  • Chaplaincy teams in schools
  • Parents

And other individuals interested in the subject.

Target Audience Age: 18+

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

Students have the option to join this course online via Zoom*

DatesSession
28th October 2024Introduction: Children’s Spirituality and their Relationship with God
4th November 2024Children’s Liturgy in Schools
Adaption of a Liturgy
11th November 2024Introduction to the Liturgical Year
Advent and Christmas
18th November 2024Lent and Easter Triduum
25th November 2024Easter
Ordinary Time and Celebrating Saints
2nd December 2024Seminar – Sharing Good Practice*

*Participation in the seminar to be held on 2nd December 2024, is required to be in person.

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 Participation

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.

Award in Helping Skills for Educators

MQF

The Pastoral Formation Institute is licensed by MFHEA
(Licence #: 2013-FHI-023) as a Further and Higher Educational Institute. The Award in Helping Skills for Educators is accredited at EQF/MQF Level 6, as Further Education Programme.

The teaching profession entails a myriad of daily responsibilities both in and out of school hours, often leaving educators with little time for self-reflection. While the primary focus is on students’ well-being and academic success, this course offers educators the opportunity to learn how to prioritize their own well-being through self-care and self-awareness, thereby empowering them to better understand how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours influence their interactions with students and colleagues. Participants will explore new methods of self-care, including effective emotional management techniques. These skills will enable them to nurture their professional relationships with students and colleagues while effectively managing stress.

By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Develop self-awareness and resilience.
  • Learn to detach emotions from students’ behavior.
  • Gain assertiveness skills.
  • Appreciate the importance of self-care.
  • Members of the school’s Senior Management Team
  • Head of Departments
  • Educators (Teachers, Kindergarten Educators, Learning Support Educators – LSEs)
Target Audience’s Age: 18+

Session 1: Cultivating emotional intelligence as a profession

Teachers can foster an effective learning environment by aiming to enhance their students’ knowledge and skills across various disciplines and talents. Educators with high emotional intelligence are more attuned to their students’ behavioural and psychological well-being, enabling them to address disruptive behaviours, monitor academic progress, and nurture interpersonal relationships effectively. They become adept at navigating the myriad challenges children face.

Throughout this session, teachers will develop emotional intelligence by monitoring their emotions, observing their behaviour, and taking responsibility for their feelings. They challenge the status quo in line with their convictions, recognize their emotional triggers, become more attuned to their sources of inspiration, and anticipate their emotional responses as they enhance their emotional intelligence. This process is facilitated by their trust in their intuition.

Session 2: Reflective practice as a tool to understand the teaching relationship with student


Reflecting on teaching can help educators understand how their students learn best and hold themselves accountable for their growth. By evaluating the strengths and weaknesses in their teaching, teachers gain insight into the factors that facilitate or hinder learning.

The reflection process also aids educators in gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and their teaching methods. Through self-questioning and self-assessment, teachers identify their strengths and areas for improvement. Reflection enables educators to recognize how they have contributed to others’ achievements and how this translates into practical learning scenarios.

Session 3: Connecting with students and understanding their emotions

Most teachers aim to foster strong connections with their students, yet it’s essential to maintain a balanced teacher-student relationship. This relationship is cultivated when a teacher attunes to the classroom atmosphere, discerns why students react differently, and identifies the most effective learning strategies for each individual. Such awareness enables teachers to focus on their teaching effectively.

Dealing with conflicts becomes more fruitful when students feel acknowledged and valued by their teacher, fostering an environment where they can openly discuss their concerns without fear of embarrassment or exclusion. Learning from mistakes is most effective in an environment where students feel safe and supported.

Teachers come to understand that students’ behaviour often reflects their own emotions rather than being a direct response to the teacher. This session aims to help teachers gain deeper insights into their students and maintain professional boundaries, thus avoiding personal entanglements with their students’ emotions.

Session 4: Maintaining practical strategies to manage anxiety and stress as an educator


Teaching is undeniably a demanding profession, requiring teachers to be emotionally resilient in order to support their students’ mental well-being effectively. The nature of the job entails standing in front of a classroom for extended periods, often bringing work home, and being evaluated based on criteria that may feel beyond one’s control. These challenges can be taxing for all educators, particularly those grappling with anxiety.

Through self-awareness, teachers begin to identify stressors in the classroom and gain insights into managing anxiety. This session aims to equip educators with healthy coping mechanisms to navigate the demands of their profession more effectively.

Session 5: Assertiveness skills – How and when to be assertive

There are certain characteristics commonly found in teachers who employ assertive skills, which may need to be cultivated even if they are not innate to the teacher’s personality. Although the term “assertive” might seem off-putting, an assertive teacher can maintain a warm demeanor with students while also establishing clear boundaries. This approach can help students develop crucial social skills. In this session, teachers will learn how and when to assert themselves effectively.

Session 6: Acknowledging and practicing self-care

The value and importance of self-care are relevant across all professions, yet it is more stigmatized in some than others. For instance, teachers may find it easier to encourage others to prioritize their health than to do so themselves. However, self-care is essential for teachers to maintain good mental health, especially considering the considerable energy they expend on others while often neglecting their own needs. Unfortunately, self-care is sometimes misunderstood and dismissed by educators as “selfish” or “superficial.” In reality, teachers who prioritize self-care serve as role models for the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

This course blends two forms of learning; in-person seminars (12 hrs) and recorded lectures (3 hrs) accessible on our VLE platform.

Seminars will take place on Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:30pm

DatesSeminar
9th NovemberPart 1 – Cultivating emotional intelligence
Part 2 – Reflective practice as a tool to understand the teaching relationship with the students
16th NovemberPart 1 – Connecting with students and understanding their emotions
Part 2 – Maintaining practical strategies to manage anxiety and stress as an educator
23rd NovemberPart 1 – Assertiveness skills – how and when to be assertive
Part 2 – Acknowledging and practicing self-care

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 the course’s contact hours.

  1. Certificate of Participation 

A Certificate of Participation will be awarded to students who have attended at least 80% of the course’s contact hours and pass from reflective journal.

Final Award: Award in Helping Skills for Educators

Teaching & Awarding Institute: Pastoral Formation Institute

Duration: 11 weeks

MQF

The Pastoral Formation Institute is licensed by MFHEA
(Licence #: 2013-FHI-023) as a Further and Higher Educational Institute. The Award in Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults is accredited at EQF/MQF Level 4, as Further Education Programme.

Applicants must hold an MQF/EQF level 5 or higher qualification in education, along with an MQF/EQF level 3 or higher qualification in both Maltese and English.

Introduction to Franciscan Spirituality

  ĊAK

This course delves into the timeless relevance of St Francis of Assisi’s life and teachings, portraying him as both a devoted disciple of Christ and a prophetic figure for our contemporary world. Participants will explore how St Francis’s wisdom can be applied to everyday life, including aspects such as prayer and discernment. Additionally, in anticipation of next year’s Jubilee of Hope, participants will explore St Francis as a companion figure for the upcoming Jubilee.

  • Franciscan collaborators
  • Individuals interested to explore and deepen their knowledge in Franciscan Spirituality

Target Audience Age: 18+

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

October 2024

DatesSession
8th OctoberIntroduction – The Saint’s Life
15th OctoberThe Franciscan Rule
22nd OctoberThe Mysteries of the Incarnation and Easter in the life of St Francis of Assisi
29th OctoberAgiography

November 2024

DatesSession
5th NovemberSt Francis and the Word of God
12th NovemberSt Francis’s Testament
19th NovemberThe Contemplative Dimension and the Stigmata of St Francis of Assisi
26th NovemberSt Francis of Assisi and the Jubilee of Hope

December 2024

DatesSession
3rd DecemberFranciscan Discernment
10th DecemberThe Franciscan Dimension of the Liturgy and Particular Devotions

January 2025

DatesSession
14th JanuaryThe Economy of Francesco
21st JanuaryFranciscan Spirituality in Everyday Life

February 2025

DatesTimeSession
Saturday 8th February9:00am – 12:30pmHalf-Day Seminar on The Canticle of Creation*

*Seminar venue will be different from lecture venue. Further details will be announced at a later stage.

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

To obtain a Certificate of Participation, students must:

  • attend a minimum of 80% of all contact hours
  • successfully complete and pass from a short multiple-choice exam

3. Certificate of Achievement

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must:

  • attend a minimum of 80% of all contact hours
  • successfully complete and pass from a short multiple-choice exam
  • successfully complete and pass from 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.

Introduction to The Book of Ruth

The course aims to provide participants with a close reading of the Book of Ruth. It will delve into the historical context of the book, its structure, and practical implications such as migration, charity, fidelity, love, and the value of patience that emerge from this reading.


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.

  • Individuals interested in scripture studies

Target Audience Age: 18+

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

DatesSession
3rd JulyIntroduction and Chapter 1
10th JulyChapter 2 and 3
17th JulyChapter 4 and Ruth in Mt 1:5

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 and pass from a 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.

Course in Ignatian Spirituality and Spiritual Accompaniment

  Mount Saint Joseph, Mosta

As a Christian, you may be seeking something deeper to enhance your faith and spiritual growth. The Pastoral Formation Institute, in collaboration with the Centre for Ignatian Spirituality, we are offering a two-year Course in Ignatian Spirituality and Spiritual Accompaniment from September 2024 to June 2026.

This course aims to:

  • Help participants deepen their understanding of Christian spirituality, particularly that in the Ignatian tradition.
  • Provide a solid background in Spirituality, Theology, and Scriptural knowledge to enrich pastoral activities at all levels.
  • Foster a deeper personal relationship with the Lord.

  • For those seeking a deeper understanding of Christian spirituality, particularly within the Ignatian tradition.
  • For those desiring a solid foundation in spirituality, theology, and scriptural knowledge.
  • For those aiming to cultivate a personal relationship with the Lord.

Target Audience Age: 18+

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

First Year

Dates Session
11th – 15th September 2024 Silent Retreat
19th September – 31st October 2024 Nature and History of Spirituality
7th November – 19th December 2024 Basic notions of Sacred Scripture
9th January – 20th February 2025 Prayer Methods
22nd-23rd February 2025 Communication and group skills
27th February – 10th April 2025 Autobiography of St. Ignatius and writing a spiritual autobiography
24th April – 12th June 2025 Principles of Ignatian Spirituality
3rd – 4th May Faith and Culture
21st – 22nd June Spirituality and Integral Ecology

Second Year

Dates Session
13th – 14th September 2025 Self-Awareness
18th September – 30th October 2025 Introduction to Moral Theology
6th November – 18th December 2025 Psychological Dynamics in Spirituality
8th January – 19th February 2026 Introduction to Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology
28th February – 1st March 2026 Introduction to Pastoral Theology
26th February – 23rd April 2026 Introduction to Discernment
2nd – 3rd May 2026 Communal Discernment
30th April – 4th June 2026 Spirituality and Justice
12th – 14th June 2026 End of course retreat

This course has two exit certificate options:

1. Certificates of Attendance

The student will receive a Certificate of Attendance upon attending at least 80% of all contact hours for each module in the course

2. Certificate of Achievement
The student will receive a Certificate of Achievement upon attending a minimum of 80% of all contact hours for each module and successfully completing all course assessments

Applicants are expected to:

  • possess a good knowledge of the English language;
  • be capable of writing assignments in English;
  • be able to use a computer to access material digitally and make online submissions;
  • attend at least 80% of lectures of each module;
  • attend an initial 5-day silent retreat in full.


Course Registration

Application Closing date: 31st May, 2024

Extended to: 3rd July 2024

Please note: After the application period, applicants will be contacted to attend an interview. Acceptance to the course is dependent on the outcome of the interview.


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