Saint Mary’s Press of Winona, Minnesota has been publishing bibles for Catholic children and young adults for many years. This year, they released a fourth edition of their Catholic Youth Bible, which is available in both the NABRE and NRSV translations. Both hardcover and paperback editions are available. I borrowed a paperback NABRE copy from my parish, which will be giving these bibles as gifts to all 6th grade students in the religious education program.
Supplemental Study Aids and Life Application Materials
I’m quite impressed with the amount of supplemental material in this bible. The text is full of informational sidebars and insets that apply scriptural passages to daily life and explain Catholic teachings. The original footnotes and cross references from the NABRE are all here, but the editors have replaced the NABRE book introductions with their own alternatives. The introductions are brief, and they quickly summarize the key message of the book, using examples from daily life. A few bullet-points emphasize key take-aways for how the book is relevant to the reader’s life.
The introduction to the Psalms offers a superb overview of how to pray with the Psalms. It offers an index with suggested psalms for various emotions, life experiences, spiritual needs, and topics of reflection:
As the last two photos illustrate, the text uses plenty of full-color printing and illustrations. There are also pages, sidebars, and borders that are designed to be colored by the reader:
At the beginning of the New Testament, I found a fantastic two-page illustrated summary of Old Testament prophecies that are fulfilled in the New Testament:
Finally, in the back of the bible, there is an excellent section that covers the fundamentals of the Catholic faith: common prayers, the beatitudes, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, the cardinal and theological virtues, the precepts of the church, holy days of obligation, and many others. There are also brief sections on how to interpret the Bible as a Catholic, and brief overviews of the interplay between reason and revelation, scripture and tradition, etc. There’s even a guide on how to follow the practice of Lectio Divina.
The final pages of the bible contain an index of Sunday readings, a glossary, a bible timeline, and an index of bible passages by topic.
The supplemental materials bear a nihil obstat and imprimatur.
Physical Construction and Printing
This bible is well-built. The paperback cover feels stiff and sturdy, although it creases very easily like any other paperback. The cover is also hinged near the spine, which allows it to open flat more easily than a traditional paperback. Impressively, this bible also has a sewn binding — in a paperback! It’s built to stand up to a lot of use.
The two main drawbacks are text size and lack of line-matching. The biblical text is very close to the size 8 font in my Cambridge REB. I would say the text in this Catholic Youth Bible is a hair smaller — maybe 7.5. Many of the information sidebars, insets, and introductions offer a larger font than the biblical text. The printing is not line-matched, so ghosted text from the opposite side of the page is visible. The printing offers good contrast, though, so I think the ghosting will be manageable for most readers. Young readers, who this bible is designed for, would probably have little trouble with either the text size or the ghosting.
Overall, I think this is an excellent resource for teens. It provides an impressive array of resources for getting to know the Bible and applying it to life.