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June 6, 2012

Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics

Reviewed in Bible Editions & Versions, April-June, 2012

Bible Editions & Versions, April-June 2012

This sturdy, softbound Bible is designed, according to the introduction, for “young persons leaving childhood and entering adolescence.” On the other hand, the notes are so interesting and thorough that it will certainly appeal to older youth, even college students. Among the compelling features that will appeal to youth are the many colorful sections on heavier stock of biographical information on characters in the Bible. Equally appealing are the line drawings interspersed throughout the text of those by the French artist, Mlle. Annie Vallotten, that first appeared in Good News for Modern Man: The New Testament in Today’s English Version (TEV), the predecessor to the Good News Translation (GNT).

This is not called a study Bible, but it certainly qualifies for that title. The many supplementary features include: 40 full-color inserts with interviews and illustrations; 616 Pray It! Study It! Live It! Articles; 99 “Catholic Connection” articles; Introductions and factoids; a timeline, showing major periods of biblical (salvation) history; 6 lists to help one find Bible stories, prayers, and teachings; a word list with definitions; a complete list of Sunday readings for all three cycles of the church year; and 4 color maps. Saint Mary’s Press is to be commended for providing this Bible that seems to fill a niche that few others have done so well. Highly recommended!

Catholic Library World, June 2008

It would be speculation to say which product Saint Mary's Press sees as its premier line when it comes to Bibles and related products. Nevertheless, they are smart to highlight Breakthrough as the Bible for Young Catholics. Identified as being for the pre-teen market (10-13 year olds) Breakthrough is an excellent youth study Bible. The use of the Good News Translation, Catholic Edition makes it an easy read. This version will most likely be superseded as the reader gets older, but it will not go untapped due to the inviting nature of this work as a Bible for young people. There is a line of products to support its use in a variety of settings.

Momentum, April/May 2006
review by Mary Heinrich, director of faith formation, Saint Pius X Parish, Urbandale, IA

The Breakthrough Bible for ages ten and above is a welcome addition and resource for catechists in parish faith formation and Catholic schools. What will first catch the attention of young people will be the artwork on the cover and the color inserts. The illustrations on the other pages are simple line drawings. After sharing a glance of the Breakthrough Bible with a fifth-grade Catholic school teacher and her students, reactions from the visual learners were impressive. The fifth graders that I talked to were drawn immediately to the color illustrations.

There are many resources for the classroom teacher, catechist or Bible study group. The first is the introduction at the beginning of each of the books of the Bible in the form of headlines and factoids that offer a great prelude to each book.

The Catholic Connections link the Bible stories to our Catholic beliefs. How many times have we heard children or parents ask, "Where is that [doctrine] in the Bible?" With the Catholic Connections, we have another resource to address their curiosity and to nourish their faith.

I found the Pray It! sections a clever way for the reader to enter into a conversation with God over the material that had just been read. It creates another way for the reader to pray.

The Study lt! sections provide a platform for the reader to enter into a more in-depth study of the material at an appropriate level.

The Live It! sections provide a few simple ways for anyone to put the word of God into action. . . .

Along with the separate teaching-activities manual and the student-activity workbook, this should be a resource on every principal and catechetical leader's bookshelf. It should be found in every faith-formation setting where young people gather.