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Press Room

March 26, 2015

New Edition of Bible Considers African-American Catholic Faith, Youth and Community

By Duquesne University
A new adaptation of the Bible, edited by the Rev. James Chukwuma Okoye, C.S.Sp., director of the Center for Spiritan Studies at Duquesne University, was written to focus on building a link between faith and community for young black Catholics. 

The African-American Catholic Youth Bible, published by St. Mary's Press in collaboration with the National Black Catholic Congress, is the first biblical text of its kind to actively address the spiritual formation of young African-American Catholics.It is modeled after the popular Catholic Youth Bible and uses the text of the New American Bible, Revised Edition. 

This new edition of the Bible, which was released in January, actively makes the connection between black cultural heritage and faith in a way that young readers can easily understand and appreciate. It includes articles, introductions, graphics and other features written from an African-American point of view, allowing young readers to more easily grasp the links between the Bible and their own lives.  

"Commentaries and other features in this Bible showcase the African-American expression of the Catholic faith in a manner that has been specially adapted to that age range," Okoye said. "This allows readers to identify with key themes and to draw parallels between biblical teaching and their own lives as African-Americans."

This edition also highlights the distinctive black presence in biblical scripture, featuring such notable figures as the Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian Eunuch and Simon of Cyrene. In addition, it portrays black holy people and those on the way to sainthood-such as Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Venerable Henriette Delille, Servant of God Rev. Augustus Tolton and Daniel Rudd-drawing parallels between biblical teaching and their lives.

This Bible cites black cultural figures, such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, discussing black models of religious and civic achievement for young readers to emulate. Additionally, the African-American Catholic Youth Biblefocuses on black ministry and encourages youth to pursue the vocations of the Church. 

The African-American Catholic Youth Bible is being distributed by the publisher and the National Black Catholic Office in Baltimore to African-American parishes, schools and students; parishes with African-American participation; youth leaders; and Catechists.