‘Laudato sì’ coming soon in Urdu, with the help of Muslims
by Kamran Chaudhry
Translation will be the work of the Society of St. Columban for Foreign Missions, in collaboration with the Theological Institute for Laity. For their "ecological" apostolate already active in schools across the country, the missionaries want to increase cooperation with the Islamic world.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - The encyclical " Laudato sì ", with which Pope Francis urged the world to act in a concrete way to combat climate change, "will soon have a version in Urdu and translation work will start this week." This was revealed to AsiaNews by Fr. Liam O'Callaghan, of the Society of St. Columban for Foreign Missions.

The priest, coordinator of Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), explains: "We 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. Through seminars and workshops, we shall try to make it, and the issues it raises, more widely known in the dioceses, parishes and institutions across the country".

However, it will be a long process and it could take up to three months. "It is important - adds the missionary - It is important to make Laudato Si’ available in local language since we believe it can have a significant impact on work to protect the environment. An important theme is the interrelatedness of all of life, ‘integral ecology’ that this planet is our common home. Such ideas must be promoted in local Churches for the public. "

"Unlike previous encyclicals – continues Fr. Liam - which were often academic tomes 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 school visitation of  Christian, Government and private schools with three elements including faith (using the Bible and Quran), scientific and practical. 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’ – says the missionary - is inspirational and hopefully will generate awareness on this crucial issue which is still very much lacking in the Church in general here. We also plan to work from a more interfaith perspective”.

“There are some Muslim groups already working on environmental issues, such as climate change whom we in contact with. By working together, the potential of greater effectiveness and a wider awareness leading to joint action could be achieved”.

In fact, concludes  Fr. Liam, "there are some Muslim groups who are already working on environmental issues, such as climate change, with which we are in contact. Working together, they can achieve greater efficiency and greater awareness-raising ".

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