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Press Room

January 9, 2015

New Bible is Designed Specifically for Young Black Catholics

By The National Black Catholic Congress

In January Saint Mary’s Press will publish The African American Catholic Youth Bible®, the first Bible designed specifically for use by young black Catholics in the US. It has taken five years for the initial concept to become a reality.

In 2009 John Vitek, president of Saint Mary’s Press, talked with Bishop John Ricard, president of the National Black Catholic Congress. Vitek wanted to do something to help evangelize a segment of the US Catholic Church that was being ignored. What could Saint Mary’s Press do to help move young black Catholics forward into a deeper faith experience––specifically as young black Catholics?







Saint Mary’s Press had already published The Catholic Youth Bible. It was not an adult Bible, with only text and footnotes. Instead, it included many special features that made the Bible more useful and appealing to teens. In addition to the biblical text, it had age–appropriate artwork, youth–focused articles and definitions, four–color inserts and many deliberate layout features (like narrower columns) that made it much easier for teens to read and navigate through. From start to finish, it was designed specifically for teens to use.

The idea was to do something very similar for young black Catholics–publish a Bible that provided inspirational African American art along with numerous commentaries on biblical events and personalities from an African American perspective. The new Bible would also chronicle major events in black Catholic history and include spiritually moving stories of African American holy men and women. As Vitek and Bishop Ricard discussed the proposal, a collaboration was born.

After several years of effort by a team of editors, Scripture scholars, visual artists and commentators, the new Bible has come together. Saint Mary’s Press is delighted to collaborate with an extensive group of special contributors that include Ansel Augustine, D.Min., Dr. Camille Brown, Rev. Cyprian Davis, OSB, Mrs. Therese Wilson Favors, Dr. Kirk Gaddy, Mr. Vincent Guider, Rev. Maurice Nutt, CSsR, D.Min.

The Bible uses the text of the New American Bible, Revised Edition. And is intended for African American youth ages 14 to 22.






Articles and resources in the Bible cover a wide variety of fields:

  • the biblical, liturgical and doctrinal basis for many Catholic beliefs and practices;
  • the background of African American culture;
  • stories of Africans and of African Americans who lived out aspects of God's Revelation in the Bible;
  • applying the Bible's message to situations black youth may be facing now or in the future;
  • ways to use the Bible for personal prayer;
  • the lives of important people in the Bible;
  • indexes, a glossary, a calendar of the Church year, Catholic prayers and teachings, maps, a timeline of biblical history, etc.

Looking forward to the impact this new book will have, Vitek says, “Young black Catholics now have a Bible that is accurate, inspirational, and presented in a way that is appealing and sensitive to their unique needs and experience.”

The African American Catholic Youth Bible® is available as both paperback and hardcover beginning January 5, 2015. The Bible is available for purchase at www.smp.org or by calling Saint Mary’s Press at (800) 533–8095. (Paperback · ISBN 978–1–59982–110–8 ·$27.95, Hardcover · ISBN 978–1–59982–084–2 · $35.95)

To learn more about this Bible, and to view a sample visit: http://www.smp.org/product/4146/The-African-American-Catholic-Youth-Bible/

View this article on nbccongress.org