.- A new grant from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will help publish its Child’s Bible in eight more languages for the children of Africa.
A grant of more than $27,000 from the U.K. office of ACN will print and ship Child’s Bibles to Africa as well as Child’s Bible posters for use worldwide. The Child’s Bible is now in its 31st year of publication.
In 2009 the charity received requests for more than 1.2 million copies from bishops around the globe, the charity reports in a Wednesday press release.
There are new versions of the Child’s Bible in eight languages: the Lunda and Luvale languages of Zambia, the Konkomba language of Ghana, the Chindau and Maconde languages of Mozambique, the Luo tongue for Kenya, the Boko language for Benin and the Bari language for Sudan.
Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Sudan, has said that the Child’s Bible is “a great help in our pastoral work.” The bishop, from the Diocese of Wau in South Sudan, said that people and their children “have a veritable thirst for the saving word of God, above all in this time of oppression.”
Around 15 million copies of this Bible have been distributed in Africa. It is available in 67 different African languages, many of which have few or no other books published.
Teresia Rita Njore, a child from Kenya, said her friends have had their faith deepened by the Child’s Bible.
“Before I was not interested in reading the Bible – but now I know that God speaks to his children,” she said.
According to ACN, the book is used to teach the faith and to prepare readers for the sacraments, but it is also used to help children learn to read.
Bishop Marc Benjamin of Farnfangana, Madagascar is distributing the Child’s Bible to all the baptized, including adults.
“Through our Bible campaign, as we call it, we at the same time want to reduce the number of illiterates,” he continued. “In other words, we are teaching people to read and write and at the same time bringing them the Word of God – and those who have learned to read are given a copy of the little Bible.”
ACN says its recent poster series, based on the 55 illustrations of the Child’s Bible, can be used as a visual aid in catechesis.
ACN founder Fr. Werenfried van Straaten conceived the idea of the Child’s Bible, wanting to respond to Pope John Paul II’s stated wish to bring the Word of God to the children living in poverty in so many countries.
The original text was written in German by theologian Eleonore Beck. The illustrations are by Sr. Miren Sorne, a Spanish nun.
Since it was first published in 1979, about 48 million copies of the Child’s Bible have been printed in 162 different languages. Copies have been distributed in 140 countries around the world.