JOURNEY WITH ACN is our Friday newsletter which will be regularly posted to our blog.
Our weekly newsletter was designed to provide us with an opportunity to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world – and with some of the projects we have been able to realize together with ACN benefactors.
This week: Cuba
50,000 copies of the Child’s Bibles in Spanish
By ACN International
Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
Most of us probably remember the first Bible we ever received as children. We never forget those first images that made Jesus visible for us, whether of his birth in Bethlehem or of his public ministry, or healing the sick. Because many people in many parts of the world simply cannot afford the cost of books, ACN’s founder Father Werenfried van Straaten, was particularly determined that every child in this world – especially the poorest of the poor – have access to a children‘s Bible.
“Children need something like a child’s Bible so that the image of Christ will becomes a living one in their hearts. They will also be gripped by the Old Testament stories of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David. Yet, for countless children in the Third World such a Bible is an unfulfilled wish. They are so poor that they cannot afford any book. And so we would like to make them a gift of a Bible,” observed FatherWerenfried.
And so it is that for 34 years now, the little ACN Child’s Bible with the red cover has become a world bestseller. God speaks to his Children, as this little book is known, has been printed in over 174 different languages, for a total printing of close to 51 million copies.
The earliest Child’s Bibles were distributed in 1979 during the International Year of the Child, in the presence of Pope John Paul II at the General Assembly of the Latin American bishops in Puebla, Mexico. Since, millions of children around the world have, for the first time in their lives, received the gift of a book of their very own. They love this little Bible, kiss it, clutch it to their hearts and read it over and over until it is practically falling apart.
Today this little book can be found almost anywhere – from the Brazilian rainforest, to the little villages of the Andes, to the grass huts of Africa, or to the communities of Sisters in Eastern Europe who lovingly care for neglected children…
This year a new request has reached ACN from Cuba. After 50 years of atheist dictatorship, there are new signs of hope and small steps toward a brighter future. Although there are still instances of discrimination against practising Catholics, the faithful are gradually losing their fear of discrimination and venturing to live their faith more openly. The visits of Pope John Paul II in January 1998, and Pope Benedict XVI in March 2012, plus the grand pilgrim tour through every diocese of the country of a replica of the famous image of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, have greatly contributed to an improvement in the situation on this Caribbean island.
However, the younger generation has for the most part grown up without any proper religious instruction. Many want to know God better, but there is a real lack of books for use in catechesis, especially for children. Consequently, ACN is hoping to contribute $60,100 for the printing of 50,000 copies of the Child’s Bible in Spanish, so that in Cuba the image of Christ may also become a living one, in the hearts of thousands of children.