From time to time I receive a question from a reader that I think would make for an interesting discussion on this blog. The following comes from a reader who is the DRE of a parish and in charge of the parish's RCIA program.
He provides a little background information before getting to his main two questions:
One of my DRE joys is being chief catechist and bottle-washer for RCIA. Each year we provide everyone in the process a Bible and a CCC. The small white Doubleday hardback of the CCC is fine and not excessively expensive. The Bible, for the past 10years, has been the NAB in the Fireside Study Edition with flexible cover.
It met all our criteria:
1. We wanted everyone to have the same edition for our classes because we use the Scripture a lot for instruction and being able to give out page numbers saves us oceans of time in a class that is usually 95% Bible illiterate. They know a lot more about how to find their way around a Bible by the time Easter comes, but use 10 references in a class and wait for everyone to locate 2 Maccabees, then 1 Corinthians, then…well, we did that one year and vowed never again.
2. Translation as close as we can get to what they will hear year after year in the Mass. And a translation that is standard for Catholics in the US. [It irritates me no end that the bishops don’t insist that our liturgical texts and personal Scriptures agree, but that’s a different topic.]
3. Easy of use.
a. Those page numbers we need are prominent and easy to find in the upper right and left corners of each page.
b. Equally important, the verse numbers are also prominent and easy to see (bolded throughout the text, all along the left in poetry).
c. It also has blacked-in tabs along the sides, which helps us help them begin to locate some larger books (such as Psalms) we use each meeting.
d. Reasonable size print. Good contrast between print black and page whiteness.
e. Footnotes on the page with the verses they refer to. Ditto with cross references.
f. Paper quality and thinness that allows a 1400 page Bible and 200 pages of extra materials to measure 1.25 inches thick. Handy to carry, not too heavy, too.
g. The 200 extra pages include Dei Verbum, brief intro to how we got the Bible, chapter and verse divisions, etc., in the front. At the back it has an encyclopedic dictionary chock full of useful Catholic definitions, devotions, and general knowledge, 3 year reading cycle, and maps.
4. Quality—made to last for many years. It’s not a top-of-the-line Bible, but it is far from shabby or disposable-looking. A paperback Bible is no way to show them we consider the Bible important. We like to send them off with this basic formation tool in a near-permanent form.
5. Affordable. Buying in bulk we could get them for around $16-$18 apiece (plus shipping).
1) What do others use for RCIA?
2) What, if anything, are they going to do now that all the publishers are issuing new Bibles NABRE-form?