Review: The Catholic Man Backpack by 4Imprint

Image result for 4imprint logoThis must be one of the coolest items ever reviewed on The Catholic Man Reviews and therefore took some time to review. Through the generosity of 4Imprint Canada, a promotional products company, I was given an Atlas Laptop Backpack with my The Catholic Man logo embroidered on it with the promise that I would review on my website. For years, I have been thinking of opening a store full of items such as T-Shirts and Hoodies with The Catholic Man logo imprinted on it and potentially design a logo for females (just have to think of a cool Catholic name for ladies. If you have one, please contact me)!

I have always desired to have a backpack that would be suitable for retreats and for travel outside of school so to be able to carry a laptop and Liturgical texts and items in a dignified manner. I was scrolling through www.4imprint.ca and was amazed by their great selection of not just any plain backpacks but specifically laptop backpacks. Looking into laptop bags, I found the atlas laptop backpack which was looked simple and would suit my needs. I contacted 4Imprint and was able to get my very own The Catholic Man Backpack. I was very impressed with the design and quality. At first, I sent in a request for a screen printed logo. However, with one of its representive’s reccommendations, an embroidered logo was done instead in white.

The backpack itself has helped me a lot in many tasks. I often use those messenger laptop bags which I used throughout all of my trip to Brisbane, Australia which was inconvenient since the bag alone was of too much weight and I had to carry the weight on one of my shoulders or carry it in my hands. A backpack allows the weight to be spread out evenly. The backpack I received was very light. It also fit my HP 255 Laptop which is very useful when I have to bring my laptop somewhere. I also use the backpack to carry my alb and other Liturgical gadgets for altar serving. Recently, I have used the bag during meetings at the Parish Youth Group and it has pulled the attention of quite a few members, wondering how I got the bag branded. I have brought it to retreats and hope to use it on my next overseas trip (if it does happen soon). I have attached a few lapel pins and a couple keychains that I have received from many people I have met through conferences and retreats.

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

A backpack that is now my “missionary backpack”. To me, it will be a great tool for evangelization and reminds me of my call to be a faithful Catholic wherever I go.

A big thank you to 4Imprint for your generosity.

If you think you would like to see a The Catholic Man bag or merchandise in your hands, comment below and we might start a The Catholic Man store!

Considering a promotion campaign? Visit www.4imprint.ca to know more and search their products!

Review: Our Sunday Visitor’s Daily Roman Missal, 7th Edition

Daily Roman Missal COVERT

Note: It has been more than a month since TCM’s last review. However, the Daily Roman Missal took some time to review. TCM reviews books by the order they arrive in. Therefore, some books may take longer than others to review and the number of reviews published per month may not be consistent. Thank you for understanding. 

One book I have wanted to review for a long time was the Daily Roman Missal, 7th Edition. The wish finally came true months ago (end of February 2017) when a FedEx package came from Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) with a copy of the Daily Roman Missal, 7th Edition, burgundy bonded leather edition. I was thrilled and carefully opened the Missal. The Missal is published by both OSV and Midwest Theological Forum (MTF) in which I have reviewed their Manual of Prayers months ago on this blog. The Daily Roman Missal was put together by Fr. James Socias, a priest of the prelature of Opus Dei. He also compiled the Handbook of Prayers

I was impressed first of all with the size of the Missal. When the Missal came, I expected it to be a little bit larger, especially because the Missal contained the readings and other prayers, not just the prayers of the Roman Missal. There are several edition of the Missal. The edition provided to me by OSV was the burgundy padded bonded-leather cover. I really like the feel of the padded cover and the bonded leather… it’s really nice to hold in your hands. The Missal was printed in Italy, the country where many Catholic articles come from such as rosaries and Holy Cards (especially the Fratelli Bonella Holy Cards… my favourite!).

Opening the Missal, I was a bit disappointed at how thin the pages of the Missal were. As you flip through the slideshow (below), you may see so. However, I think this is understandable as this Missal is thick (composed of 2514 pages). If it used the same paper as the Manual of Prayers, the book would be HEAVY like a brick! The six ribbons were neatly tucked into the pages (for the purpose of packing). The ribbons were of six different colours and neatly burned so the ends would not frey. Books by Midwest Theological Forum always provide an adequate number of ribbons. Its Manual of Prayers had two ribbons… more than enough for a prayer book. I used The Catholic Company’s  tutorial video.

The pages are gilded in gold. When I unwrapped the missal from the shrinkwrapped, I liked how the gilded edges were simply… shiny! They reflected the light beautifully. However, the top gilding in the corner where the ribbons are attached, it becomes worn out due to the rubbing of the ribbon against the edges of the missal (see image in slideshow).

The text… the most important part of the Missal! The text is printed in two colours: red and black, the colours one would see when using any Roman Missal. The red are the rubrics, instructions for the priest and the congregation. The text size of the readings and the Mass texts are about 12pt while the Latin text and other texts are of 10pt font. If I am not mistaken, the text is of Palatino Linotype, a font I really like to use because of its readability.

A feature that I love about this Missal is the use of Latin. The Order of Mass is printed with Latin on the left and English on the right. For study purposes, this is a great feature! (Note: the Prefaces are only in English) This Missal would be great to assist those on travel. Many Masses in Rome and the Vatican are celebrated in Latin. This is great to follow and actually respond during the Mass. The Antiphons and Gospel acclamation are printed in about 10pt font so to assist those who attend parishes who attend Masses at parishes which use the Latin version of the Antiphons and the Gospel acclamation (e.g. St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, Toronto uses Latin in their Antiphons). The Eucharistic Prayers of Reconciliation and for Various Needs are not provided in this Missal. However, they are available for use with this Missal through MTF’s website here. There are no print copies for sale sadly.

I have inquired to MTF years ago about what Lectionary Translation the Daily Roman Missal is composed of. I received a response saying that the Lectionary Readings are those used in the United States of America (New American Bible). Therefore sadly, the readings did not match the ones used in Canada as the CCCB uses the New Revised Standard Version Lectionary. It would not match the translation of the readings in other areas too such as Australia which uses the New Jerusalem Bible Lectionary. However, the meaning of the text do match the other translations, therefore good for study purposes. I use the Missal each night to find the day’s Mass readings and write reflections of it in my Spiritual Journal.

Moving towards the general prayer aspect of the Missal, there are more than 50 pages worth of prayers in the back, probably taken from MTF Handbook of Prayers.  An interesting feature is that this sections not only contains prayers, but contain a whole section called, “How to Be a Better Catholic”. It is, to me, like a condensed Catholic Handbook, or small Catechism… a very useful feature! The prayers in the back include basic prayers (sign of the cross, Lord’s prayer…), midday prayers, evening prayers, prayers for the preparation of Mass, prayers before Mass, prayers after Mass, the Eucharistic Adoration ritual, guide for confession, devotions to the Trinity, devotions to Our Lord (including the Stations of the Cross), devotions to the Holy Spirit, devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary (including the Rosary), devotions to St. Joseph, prayers at the time of death and other various prayers. Many prayers also come with its Latin translation too which is very convenient, especially when following the Pope when he’s praying the Rosary or the Angelus.

 

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Title: Daily Roman Missal Seventh Edition

Publisher: Midwest Theological Forum, Our Sunday Visitor

Format: Print, burgundy bonded leather cover, thin cream bible paper with red and black text

Dimensions (approximate): 7 x 4.7 x 2.4 inches

Imprimatur: Yes

ISBN: 9781936045594

Pros

  • Bonded leather cover gives it a very nice texture
  • NAB Lectionary Readings (for USCCB Churches)
  • Text is in black and red
  • Well constructed book, printed in Italy
  • Beautiful illustrations and art scattered throughout (in black and white)
  • Lays flat when opened
  • Order of Mass in both Latin and English (except for the Prefaces, English only)
  • Antiphons and Gospel Acclamation also provided in Latin
  • 6 ribbons of different colours, neatly burnt ends to prevent fraying
  • Gold gilded edges
  • High quality endpages
  • Good font size for reading (12pt for main texts, 10pt for rubrics and other texts)
  • Very brief commentary before Sunday’s readings and brief biography for Saint’s feast days
  • Wide variety of prayers in the back
  • Great for travelling pilgrims and travelling priests

Cons

  • Thin paper, able to see text on the other side
  • Extra care must be taken when turning the pages
  • Book is quite thick, 1514 pages
  • After constant use of the ribbons, the top edges of the page becomes worn, distorting the gilding on the top
  • The NAB readings are only in effect for the US, not for Canada or other english speaking areas
  • The Eucharistic Prayers of Reconciliation and for Various Needs are not provided in this Missal, only in a PDF file online

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★☆ 4/5

I really love the Daily Roman Missal. Despite its cons, the Missal is something Catholics should invest on so to help one attend Mass more actively, especially when travelling to a foreign country. I wish that there was a Daily Roman Missal with the NRSV Canadian readings so to follow along with the readings here in Canada. I believe this is a very dignified Missal. It may be good for use for travelling priests (this however, must be confirmed with the Diocesan bishop on the use of the Daily Roman Missal replacing the actual Roman Missal on travels).

I believe it would be nice to get a Missal cover to protect this great missal. I was snooping around and found www.missalcovers.com. I have not seen one of their products physically. However, looking at the pictures on their site, it seems like a Missal cover would be something worth buying for the Daily Roman Missal. These missal covers are made by Leah’s Legacy. I would certainly hope to see one of these covers one day so to review them here on The Catholic Man Reviews

A big thank you to Our Sunday Visitor for sending me this review copy! I appreciate it very much!

If you would like to purchase a copy of the Daily Roman Missal, visit the Our Sunday Visitor online store to purchase it online.

Review: The New American Bible Revised Edition – Black Zipper Duradera Compact Edition

70165Again, I am reviewing another product from Oxford University Press. This must be the best Bible from Oxford University Press for on-the-go Catholics like me. It is The New American Bible Revised Edition, Black Zipper Duradera Compact Edtion. It is the same Bible translation as the Oxford Catholic Study Bible.

I was very impressed when I first opened the Bible. It was shrink wrapped and to my surprise, it came in a very sturdy slipcase. This surprised me because the Bible itself is in the black duradera cover. So, the sturdy slipcase adds another layer of protection to the Word of God. I wished the Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition by Oxford University Press would have a slipcase as I always have to be very careful not to have the page edges crushed when putting it in my bag with other books.

As mentioned above, the Bible is inside of a protective black duradera zipper cover. green-zipper-cover-new-american-bible4122lgDuradera is a durable synthetic leather. It sort of has that feel to authentic leather. The zipper has a Miraculous Medal on the zipper pull. If I were the designer of the zipper cover, I would have chosen a cross instead. The Bible is God’s word. Mary is not the primary figure of the Bible. This is not an important detail to the Bible, but I just wanted to point that out. The St. Joseph NABRE zippered Bible has a cross on its zipper pull (see picture on right). Beside that detail, I cannot compare the two as I have never held a St. Joseph NABRE Personal Size Bible yet.

Like the Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition  (from now on referred to as the RSV Bible), this Bible has a gold ribbon marker and a presentation page. It also includes the Common Catholic Prayers and the Table of Weights and Measures like the RSV Bible. Unlike the RSV Bible, this Bible includes the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), the Lectionary Readings table and gilded edges.

The NABRE is my favourite translation after the NRSV-CE. I often cross reference the two translations when one has a word or story that I don’t understand clearly. However, what I do admire about the NABRE are the subheadings that indicate the story. Unlike the RSV-CE, there are the subheadings before each story (instead of just a space in between two stories) and a heading between each section. It even includes clear notes indicated by an asterisk in the text. This is a feature I see in most NABRE bibles. It really helps the reader gain a better grasp on the Bible text, especially for the more difficult ones. There is also a table of cross references to a passage that is found also in another book, after every Biblical book. Going more forward, there is an outline of the major events in before every Biblical book.

One thing I do have the say that like the RSV Bible, this NABRE Bible’s text is a bit small. However, it is something I did expect from a compact Bible. Bible maps would be a nice addition to this edition. As mentioned, I would put a cross instead of a miraculous medal on the zipper.

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In Summary

Product: The New American Bible Revised Edition – Black Zipper Duradera Compact Edition

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Format: Print, duradera zippered cover

Imprimatur: Yes

ISBN: 9780195298024

Dimensions: 4-1/2 x 6-1/8 inches

Published: June 2009

Pages: 1504

URL: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-new-american-bible-revised-edition-9780195298024?q=NABRE%20bible&lang=en&cc=us

Pros: 

  • Compact, easily put into a purse or backpack for school or workplace or retreats
  • Love the colourful page of common Catholic Prayers
  • Includes the Dei Verbum document
  • Tables of weights and measures of the Bible
  • Ribbon marker
  • Gilded edges
  • Zippered… no more worries about wrinkled pages while Bible is inside of backpack
  • Contain notes and references section after every Biblical Book
  • Lectionary tables for easy reference to Sunday and weekly Mass readings
  • Slipcase adds protection to the Bible

Cons

  • Text a bit small; not the best for those who don’t have good eyesight
  • Not a big fan of the miraculous medal on the zipper pull. A cross would be preferable.

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

I really love this edition of the NABRE Bible. It is so convenient to bring on retreats and when travelling. I used this Bible when going to the Lift Jesus Higher Rally this past March. I hope to use this edition again at the Steubenville Conference this year in Oshawa. I do intend to use this edition as my official travelling Bible due to its zippered case and slipcase. The RSV Bible I plan to leave at home as it is the only RSV translation I have on my shelf.

BONUS! I even added the Rainbow Bible Tabs that Tabbies sent m58347-samplee. The size and colours work PERFECTLY with this Bible. The only thing was that the first few and last few tabs of the Bible are bent because of the zipper, but that’s no big deal. I attached them after taking pictures of them for this blog.

The Manga Bible Review

Manga Bible

The Catholic Man is back to blogging after receiving many cool Catholic products. Well, this may not really be Catholic, but more Christian in general. It was a great experience for me reading The Manga Bible kindly sent to me by Penguin, Random Books publis516mhrulx7l-_sy344_bo1204203200_hing and it is a Bible that I do recommend for teenagers who do not want to read the full Bible.

The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation is (as the name suggests) a Bible in the Japanese manga type of art. I am sure many readers know about this unique type of art. It is very popular among teens, especially asian teens (please correct me if I am wrong!). The front page says the concept art was by Siku and the script was
written Akinsiku. According the About the Authors page, Siku “is one of Britain’s leading comic book creator/conceptualists… he worked for Marvel UK and COM X and has been credited  on a number of computer games, such as Evil Genius.” Siku also studied at Yaba’s School of Art, Design and Printing and the London School of Theology. Akin, the script writer on the other hand is a Nigerian who became obsessed with Japanese animation and kung-fu movies. He enjoys drawing and gets “paid to draw ugly pictures, write ugly stories and make TV ten hours a day.”

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Manga books often have right side binding

My first impression of the book was that it was thin to what I thought it was going to be. I had the chance to look at The Action Bible once at a bookstore and it was 752 pages. However, The Manga Bible is only 200 pages (in Bible stories, not including the appendix). Also, I expected that since it was a manga bible, the spine would be on the right like most Japanese manga books (if your read manga, I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about. The book itself is like any standard softcover book, left side binding… The pages are in black and white print just like most Japanese manga book. One thing I have to point out is how the margins are not wide. A small part of the pages on the binding are cut off. I had to force it to open flat in order to comfortably read it. I recommend that the margins be layout so that there can be room for the binding itself.

Now to the content itself. At least the subtitle, From Genesis to Revelation was sort of true. After finding out the book was only 200 pages, I knew there were some shortcuts. The book is based on the New International Version (NIV) translation which according to Catholic Answers is a dynamic translation which makes sense why it is used in this Bible meant for youth. However, it is not a Catholic translation, or at least not an approved Catholic translation (except for the Psalms) according to USCCB. There is no Imprimatur to it either but since it is a very basic Bible, it does not seem to cause harm to Catholics (please report any error to TCM Reviews if there are any in The Manga Bible). The book is divided into different sections based on the book of the Bible. It is narrated by certain characters. For example, the first part of Genesis was told by Moses to the Israelites as they were on the journey to the Promised Land. Quite an interesting script. The illustrations are filled with life I have to say and has that authentic manga effect on the reader. It is like reading a story. There are also citations to the actual Bible passage after each story through the “Want to Know More?” box.

However, I do have to comment on how the  Bible is missing several important stories such as the sermon on the mount and certain parables from the New Testament are also missing, particular that of the lost sheep and the lost coin. The story of the prodigal son was struck through and renamed, “the unforgiving brother” which was quite interesting. There were some parts where I expected more action such as that of the story of Jonah and the Crucifixion which did let me down.

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★☆☆ (3/5)

URL: Penguin Books Random House

Overall, The Manga Bible has its pros and cons to it. I did have higher expectations for a bible called The Manga Bible. I expected much more action and the inclusion of more Bible stories. However, for a beginner’s bible, it is fine. It may help youth start to read the Bible.

From this book on, all of The Catholic Man reviews will also be available on GoodReads! 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/59100645-vincent-pham 

Tabbies’ Bible Tabs Product Review

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This may be one of the most shortest reviews because it is not for a book, but a product that will enhance a book… Bible Tabs.

Tabbies sent me three sets of Bible Tabs to be reviewed on this site about two months ago. However, I wanted to attach them on one of my favourite bibles and use them for a while. Now I believe is the time to review them.

Tabbies sent me three different sets of Bible Tabs which they said were the most popular ones:

  1. Old & New Testament Plus Catholic Books, 96 Gold-Edged Tabs Including 71 Books & 25 Reference Tabs Large Print
  2. Old & New Testament Plus Catholic Books, 90 Gold-Edged Tabs Including 71 Books & 19 Reference Tabs
  3. Old & New Testament Plus Catholic Books, 90 Assorted Tabs Including 71 Books & 19 Reference Tabs

Did you notice something? All the sets sent includes the CATHOLIC BOOKS of the Bible (non-Catholic Bibles do not contain some books, and therefore a disaster if I did not have a Catholic Bible Tabs set).

I have many Bibles. However, I am waiting to review a few more Bibles and therefore, only attached one of the three sets sent.

I used one of the set of tabs on my St. Joseph NABRE Deluxe Gift Edition Bible of white bonded leather  which I received as a gift back in 2014. It has gold edges and is one of the larger Bibles I own and therefore, I decided to go with the Large Print tabs with gold edges (no.1).

The instructions included were very clear and included a “ruler” to be cut out in order to properly place the tabs. The tabs are like stickers. There is a clear adhesive part (the large print ones has the name of the book on the clear adhesive) on the two edges of the tab. Those are to be attached onto the Bible page. However, I made mistakes on several sections. When I attach the first half of the tabs, I flip the page over and unfortunately, it also pulled the second page. I did not realize this until AFTER placed the second half down. The package said that the tabs are permanent. I tried to peel off the clear adhesive to put it back on correctly. The actual cardstock tab part of the book (the part you see) with the Bible book’s abbreviation also has adhesive too. Thankfully, the tabs are not as permanent as I thought they would be and I managed to correct the tabs that I misplaced.

I thought the Bible was going to be thicker when the tabs were placed, therefore adding more bulk, but no. Tabbies’ tabs’ adhesive are tissue paper thin that it does not add any bulk to the Bible which made me pleased. The reference tabs are also very helpful.

Though, I do have to admit that I am impatient and tend to do things quickly. Attaching Bible tabs is something one SHOULD NOT rush I have learned. It takes patience. For the other two sets, I have learned that perhaps I should put on some Gregorian Chant when attaching the tabs…

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In Summary

Product: Large-print Bible Tabs, Gold Edge

Company: Tabbies

Format: Print, self-adhesive

Dimensions  (approximate): 10.75 inches x 8.25 inches x 0.5 inches

 

Pros: 

  • Tabs are strong and the “sticker” part is thin and clear
  • Gold edge tabs are a perfect addition to a gilded Bible
  • Comes with instruction and measuring tool

Cons

  • Takes a lot of patience to attach
  • When attaching, the second or third page may adhere to sticker
  • Must be very careful when attaching Bible tabs

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★ 4/5

Overall, I think that the Bible tabs are great. However, attaching them is very time consuming and requires patience. One mistake can ruin a page of your expensive Bible.

 

 

Review: Oxford Bible Atlas, 4th Edition

oxford-bible-atlas

My last review on this blog was for Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible, third edition with the New American Bible Revised Edition translation. Now, I review a second resource sent to me by Oxford University Press, the Oxford Bible Atlas, fourth edition.

A Bible atlas is very useful for those who want to learn more about the Bible stories’ geography and historical context. In many Bibles such as Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible, there are maps for the reader’s reference purposes. Atlases not only provide coloured maps but historical and geographical notes too. The Oxford Bible Atlas also provides coloured photographs and with 21st century technology, satellite images are also included.

The atlas’Image result for Oxford Bible Atlas author is Adrian Curtis who is a “Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible in the University of Manchester… He is also a Methodist Lay Preacher.” The book bears no Imprimatur. However, the atlas does not talk about Catholic Doctrine nor did I find anything contrary to the Catholic Church (please correct me if I am wrong). Though no Imprimatur, the book at least the book is endorsed by Fr. Felix Just S.J., PhD. based on this webpage on his website, http://www.catholic-resources.org.  Adrian Curtis details the historical and geographical facts throughout each stage of the Old and New Testament. The atlas is divided into four parts: (1) The Setting (of the Bible), (2) The Hebrew Bible (refers to the Old Testament), (3) The New Testament (includes a detailed part on the Journeys of St. Paul and the beginnings of Christianity), and (4) Arcaeology in Bible Lands. Besides, the atlas provides a chronology of the bible, index of place names and a general index.

One feature that came to my attention was the use of BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) over the traditional BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini). This is understandable to me as there may be non-Christians that will use this atlas. The use of BCE and CE has become more common in books used for historical purposes.

Looking at the physical aspects of the book, it is of softcover with coloured glossy paper. Though one thing I wished was that a hardcover version to be available. I think Catholic Schools may be able to benefit from this atlas but a softcover atlas will not last that long. At my school, we have copies of the Good News Bible. However, due to their paperback covers, they became worn down over time and hand to be rebound. The size however was a size that I expected of the atlas, approximately that of letter sized paper.

This is the fourth edition. I never owned previous editions of this atlas before. However, I did a quick Google Image search of the covers of previous edition and sure enough, just by looking at the cover itself, the atlas sure changed:

Image result for Oxford Bible Atlas 1st Edition

2nd Edition (abebooks.com)

3rd Edition (amazon.com)

I was going to post pictures but managed to find a Google Preview.Unlike Bibles, I reviewed mostly the content and therefore, I don’t think it is necessary to have to post pictures of the pages here.

Google Preview: https://books.google.ca/books?id=IBgUDAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

In Summary

Product: Oxford Bible Atlas, Fourth Edition, by Adrian Curtis

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Format: Print, paperback

Dimensions  (approximate): 10.75 inches x 8.25 inches x 0.5 inches

Imprimatur: No

ISBN: 9780199560462

Published: June 2009

Pages: 240

Pros: 

  • 27 coloured maps
  • 81 coloured illustrations
  • Printed on glossy coloured paper
  • Maps are clear and easy to read
  • Illustrations liven up the Bible
  • Notes are clear and understandable
  • Index of places
  • General index

Cons

  • Not a big fan of a softcover for an atlas
  • Use of BCE and CE may be disturbing to some people
  • A lot of text though… many people may just want to use the atlas to reference a map

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★ 4/5

The back of this atlas states that “The Oxford Bible Atlas has been an invaluable resource for all who seek to understand the Bible in its historical context”. This is very true. It has helped me learn some new things in the Bible that I never knew before. Despite its cons, the Oxford Bible Atlas is great for anyone who wants to learn more about the historical background of the Bible. The atlas does not target to Catholics alone or even Christians but to everyone who wants to learn about the Bible.

Visit https://global.oup.com/academic/product/oxford-bible-atlas-9780199560462?q=Oxford%20Bible%20Atlas&lang=en&cc=ca to learn more or purchase the atlas.

Again, thank you Oxford University Press! I hope to review more of your books very soon!

Next on the list maybe a Bible, or more excitingly, Bible Tabs generously sent to me by Tabbies!

Review: Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible

the-catholic-study-bible

After a very long and busy break, I will be back reviewing Catholic products. I have a few I
will review and those will slowly roll out.

I received a parcel from Oxford containing two of its published books, the Oxford Catholic Study Bible (softcover) and the Oxford Bible Atlas. After months of using these two books, I finally have enough information to review them. I think these two books go well hand in hand for Catholics who want to dig deeper into scripture. However, today I want to look at the Catholic Study Bible first and the next post will be of the Oxford Bible Atlas.

This is one of the thickest bibles I have on my shelf right now but perhaps a very useful one. Lately, I have been trying my best to write reflections on a part of the gospels before I go to sleep every night. I often use my NRSV Catholic Edition Bible by CBS. However, sometimes there are some verses that I need a little more understanding of the context. The NRSV by CBS do provide very short footnotes but they are sometimes not what I need. Since the time I got a hold of a copy of The Catholic Study Bible, I have often used it to grasp a better understanding of certain Bible texts. The footnotes are great and most of the time, its language is easy to understand. There are also cross references to other parts of Bible texts. The reader can gain an even better understanding in the 574-paged Reading Guide. There are page references to the Reading Guide throughout the Bible itself. On the back of the Bible, it mentions the n411vqcshi2l-_sx344_bo1204203200_ewly expanded Reading Guide in this third edition featuring the new guides for The Pentateuch, Chronicles, Maccabees, Lamentations, Baruch, Tobit and Judith, The Gospel of Mark and Acts. The footnotes and Reading Guide aren’t the only great “Bible luxuries”. Short essays charts and drawings are scattered throughout the Bible and help explain certain Bible texts and bring them to life.

The Bible text itself is from the NABRE which I do own a copy by a different publisher. I wish they could make a Catholic Study Bible for the NRSV version too. However, I do understand how much work must be put in to create just one version of a Study Bible.

One of the things that I look at when reviewing a Bible is certainly the Appendix. This Bible contains many of the standard parts that appear in most Bibles including a glossary, table of measures and weights and an index. However, the standard features listed seem to be more expanded. The glossary itself seems to go more in depth than most that I’ve looked through. The table of measures and weights contains seem to be expanded. It contains conversions from Greek, the NABRE term, Equivalence, U.S. units and metric units (for Canadians!). One feature that I believe is found in most NABRE Bibles is the Lectionary table. I find this feature quite useful. I do not purchase the Sunday Missal in English every year. I often use an app on my phone or use my Vietnamese Missal to get the readings to prepare for Mass. However, there are some days when I find the Lectionary Readings get confusing on which readings to use. For example, the Palm Sunday procession of Year B contains two choices of either Mark of John (yes, its in the Roman Missal). Yet, hand Missals may omit the choice of John. Therefore, before, when I did not have a copy of the Roman Missal, Study Edition (to be reviewed later), I would often turn to the Lectionary Table. Or, the Christmas Readings (for Dec. 24 alone) for example, contain three: Christmas Vigil, Christmas at Midnight, Christmas at Dawn. Again, many hand missals may omit a set which becomes confusing. The Lectionary table would come to the rescue again!

An index of the reading guide is also provided which makes it very useful in finding a certain topic. It limits the time flipping through 574 to find a topic.

I was also amazed at the Concordance of the New American Bible. I expected it to be short the one of the NRSV Catholic Edition by CBS. But I was wrong! The concordance is almost 100-pages. This may be a feature I may use often when writing Spiritual reflections.

Another feature which I love about his Bible are the last 32-pages of coloured maps. Why did I emphasize coloured you might ask. Well, I have noticed that when a Bible is printed in black and white, they contain either no maps or black and white maps. Oxford’s maps are very detailed and the colour brings it to life. The maps clearly depict the changes of the Holy Land throughout Biblical times. A five-paged index is provided with the maps in the last pages.

Reversing to the beginning… I looked for the Imprimatur, a feature that I always look at in Catholic Books I review on this blog. It took me some time to scroll through the tiny text but all the Imprimatur and permission to print by the Catholic Church was on the fourth page. There are three separate approvals in this Bible. First is one for the New Testament of the NABRE which contains a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur. The Old Testament contains a short paragraph indicating the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approval with the approval of Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I who was the president of the USCCB at the time (2010). The general and introductory articles, reading guides, charts, maps, timelines, measures and weights, glossary and index received a separate approval in 2015 by the Very Reverend Ronald Hicks, then Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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In Summary

Product: The Catholic Study Bible, Third Edition, NABRE

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Format: Print, paperback (also available in a hardcover version and a leather binding version)

Dimensions  (approximate): 9 inches x 6.25 inches x 2 inches

Imprimatur: Yes (for both the NABRE bible and the notes itself)

ISBN: 9780190267230

 

Pros: 

  • Reading Guide available in the front
  • Includes 32 pages of coloured maps
  • Glossary in the back
  • Tables of measures and weights
  • Index to reading guide
  • Concordance to the New American Bible included
  • Lectionary Reading reference pages
  • Reading Guide (RG) references available throughout the Bible text itself
  • Detailed footnotes helps reader to understand the Bible texts better
  • Sidebar essays, charts and drawings are provided throughout the Bible texts
  • The Bible bears the appropriate Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur and even assures approval by the USCCB

Cons

  • Large in size
  • Heavy, not the best Bible for travellers
  • The softcover version is best to have a book wrap cover to add protection. Frequent use may wear down the softcover Bible quickly

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

I absolutely love Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible Third Edition. This Bible contains so many features that I have not mentioned all of them in this review. The Bible is good for those who want to dig deeper in the Word of God taking into consideration its spiritual and historical context. It is not the best Bible to travel but one of the best to buy for your Catholic Library.

Thank you Oxford for allowing me to review this Bible!

 

 

 

Review: Lives of the Saints Two-Volume Boxed Set by Catholic Book Publishing Corporation

Lives of the Saint Two-Volume Boxed Set Review

Promised two posts ago, I would review two products generously sent to me by The Catholic Company. One of the two products were reviewed in the last post, the Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition by Oxford University Press. Today, I will take the time to review the Lives of the Saints Two-Volume Boxed Set by Catholic Book Publishing Corporation.

Upon opening the contents from the package, I admired the fact that the Lives of the Saints boxed was not that large. One volume would easily fit inside a bag, purse or backpack and bring to work. I brought the full boxed set to the Steubenville Conference. Even though free time was very little, I spent sometime late during the night reading some Lives of the Saints from volume two. The set easily fit into my backpack, still leaving a lot of room for other necessities.

Why two volumes? I have taken a look through both volumes. I found the volume one contained the Lives of many saints which I have known like St. Benedict, St. Dominic… However, volume two seemed a little more interesting. According to the product description on The Catholic Company, “It contains a new series of lives of saintly men and women for each day of the year – many of them newly canonized or beatified.” There were saints whom I have not even heard of before and it really interested me. Volume two was an “add on” to volume one and also written by a different author.

Looking at Volume 1: As mentioned above, volume 1 seemed to contain many of the more common saints. In addition, there is also sections for special days in the Catholic Church such as Christmas or the feast of the Presentation of The Lord. Volume 1 was written by Rev. Hugo Hoever, O.O.Cist., Ph.D. This volume contains and Imprimatur by Patrick J. Sheridan D.D., the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of New York the time this volume was published. Each saint contains his/her feast day, patron, approximately one – two page biography and a short prayer. Volume 1 has a blue cover.

Looking at Volume 2: Volume 2 as mentioned before, is like an “add-on” to volume 1. It contains many Saints and Blesseds that I have never known before such as St. Hermenegild, St. Victor Maurus. This volume was written by Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy and bears an Imprimatur by Patrick J. Sheridan D.D., the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of New York the time this volume was published. Special in volume 2, accompanying the prayer and biography of each Saint, there is a reflection which helps think deeper about the Saint’s life. Volume 2 has a maroon cover.

Both volumes contain more than 365 saints (at least one for each day of the year and volume 1 even contains a saint on Feb. 29!) which helps one to live and grow devotions to the saints all year long. Why more than 365 saints? I have found that some days contain more than one saint. In total, there would be more than 730 saints’ biography in this boxed set. If you looked at the images, you must of had noticed the illustrations. These images are a black and white version of the illustrations from Fr. Lovasik’s Picture Book of Saints, also sold on The Catholic CompanyI know someone who has copy of the book and I also have the Vietnamese version of the book too. I really enjoy the illustrations as they bring the saints “to life”. Both volumes have a sturdy hardcover. The product description says, “cloth cover” and I am still questioning that as the cover does not feel like cloth at all.  However, no ribbons are attached which would be convenient. The sturdy slipcase is great as it protects the two volumes very well.

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Product: Lives of the Saints Two-Volume, Boxed Set

Publisher: Catholic Book Publishing Corporation

Format: Print, volume 1 has a blue cloth cover, volume 2 has a maroon cloth cover, white paper with red-orange edges.

Dimensions per volume (approximate):  11 cm x 15.5 cm x 3 cm

Dimensions of slipcase (approximate): 12.75 cm x 16.25 cm x 6.5 cm

Imprimatur: Yes, on both volumes

ISBN Volume 1: 978-0-89942-870-3

ISBN Volume 2:  978-0-89942-875-8

ISBN Boxed Set: 978-0-89942-876-5

Pros: 

  • Both volumes come in a sturdy slip case
  • Two hard cover volumes
  • Very clear layout and font
  • Red-orange edges (decorative feature?)
  • Illustrations in black and white
  • Each volume is small enough to slip into your backpack/purse
  • A short biography and prayer to each saint during the year
  • Volume 2 contains a reflection after each biography
  • Each Saint’s biography is 1-2 pages in length
  • Very easy to understand
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No ribbon marker
  • Images not in colour (not a big deal to me)

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

I really love this Lives of the Saint’s Two-Volume boxed set. I have considered purchasing a Lives of Saints book from several places. However, being given an offer of two Catholic books from The Catholic Company, I chose this product as it suited my needs. I would recommend this Lives of the Saint’s. This would make a perfect gift, personally I don’t think for a First Communicant, but certainly for Confirmation. Its presentation and content is amazing.

You may purchase this Lives of the Saint’s Two-Volume boxed set at The Catholic Company, inexpensively priced for only $17.95!

https://www.catholiccompany.com/lives-saints-2-volume-boxed-set-i7035/?sli=1011120  

** Again, I sincerely thank The Catholic Company for offering me two books to review on The Catholic Man Reviews and give my honest reviews! 

Review: Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition by Oxford University Press

RSV Bible Review

On July 19, 2016, I received at my doorstep a package with two items from The Catholic Company that I have introduced to you their services in my last post. As promised, I would review the Revised Standard Standard Version (RSV) Catholic Bible published by Oxford University Press and generously sent to me by The Catholic Company.

The Friday after I received the package, I went to the Steubenville Youth Catholic Conference of the Archdiocese of Toronto at the University of Technology, Oshawa, ON. One of the things on the packing list was a Bible. I have prepared for the conference back in April and bought myself a copy of the NRSV Bible Catholic Edition published by the Canadian Bible Society (which has been reviewed here on The Catholic Man Reviews).  With the great offer, I decided at first with the Ignatius RSV Bible. However, I decided to go with a non-Catholic publisher and see how their Bible would be and the results were interesting.

The Bible has dimensions of  4 1/2 x 6 1/8 inches and about less than an inch thick. Opening the Bible, I see endpages of what I think is some natural fibre paper that has a really interesting texture which was a surprise. Then, to my surprise, there was a presentation page and family record pages in colour, glossy paper. I really enjoy this feature in this Bible. It is just a convenient place to put Sacramental dates. This feature is also available in certain editions of the NABRE Bible from the Catholic Book Publishing Corporation that I will review in the future.  Included is the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum on Bible reading which is a feature often found in Catholic Bible. I open the Bible section itself and one thing I do have to say is that the type is 8pt and is a bit small, especially for those who have weak eyes but it was the type size I expected in a Compact Edition Bible. Footnotes also appear from time to time referencing us to Bible passages in relation to another. The Bible is clear with explanatory notes in the appendix of both the New and Old Testaments which helps one understand a Bible text more. The appendix after the New Testament contains a comparison between some passages of the RSV Bible and RSV-Catholic Edition Bible which was quite interesting to see. Also included was the Table of Weights and Measures of the Bible which helps a lot, especially when reading the Bible story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis. As promised, there was also three pages of Catholic Prayers and Devotions which kept me from bringing my Manual of Prayers.

The Bible was plain and simple but seemed more equipped in features than the CBS NRSV-CE Bible. However two things that I noticed was first, the cross on the cover was stamped a bit slanted. Though I do not mind about that too much, I think that Oxford should take more care in their cover manufacturing as this is the Word of God and it should be treated with respect and as beautified and perfected as possible in my opinion. Another point is that even though I appreciate the ribbon that I wished was on my NRSV-CE Bible, the end seemed “raw”, in other words not burnt to prevent fraying and so after I took the pictures, I immediately had to burn the ends of the ribbon to prevent it from fraying anymore.

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Title: Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Format: Print, blue cloth cover, thin white bible paper

Dimensions (approximate): 4 1/2  x  6 1/8 x 1 inches

Imprimatur: Yes

ISBN: 9780195288568

Pros

  • Catholic edition with Imprimatur
  • Understandable English translation of the Bible
  • Great size to slip into purse or backpack for a Catholic conference
  • well constructed book
  • hardcover edition likely lasts longer
  • lays flat when opened,
  • appendix(s) including [1] Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum [2] Measures and Weights in the Bible  [3] Explanatory Notes [4] Prayers and Devotions of the Catholic Faith
  • Presentation page in colour, glossy paper
  • Family record in colour, glossy paper
  • Ribbon attached

Cons

  • Very thin bible paper compared to others but acceptable for a compact edition
  • frayed ribbon
  • cross not centered when stamped
  • type of 8pt size, a bit small for those who have bad eyesight

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

 3.5/5

Overall, I think that Oxford’s Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition is great for Catholics on the go and for those who attend Catholic seminars and conferences. However, due to the size, I would not recommend it for one who uses it for Bible study. The font size may be too small for long hours of study and the margins are too narrow to take notes.

If you would like to purchase Oxford’s Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Editionvisit the The Catholic Company to purchase it online. Or, you may check your local Catholic bookstore for a copy. This Bible is available in the blue-grey cloth cover version as reviewed here, or also in leather editions at Oxford University Press.

Services Review: The Catholic Company

The Catholic Company

The Catholic Company,  according to their website is a “Catholic Store, Religious Store, Catholic Bookstore”. I contacted them about three weeks ago about enrolling into their reviewer’s program but sadly, they have discontinued it. However, the very kind staff offered me two books that I promised to review here on cclogo_2016. I found out choosing two books from a large online Catholic store was very difficult because there were so many books that I liked! When I go to Catholic bookstores such as Pauline’s Books and Media, I often spend at least one hour there, often coming out with a discounted book or prayer card. In the end, I managed to choose two magnificent books.

When I go to Catholic bookstores such as Pauline’s Books and Media, I often spend at least one hour there, often coming out with a discounted book or prayer card. In the end, I managed to choose two magnificent books. First was the RSV-Catholic Bible-Compact Edition published by Oxford University Press. I have considered The Ignatius Bible-RSV 2nd Edition (Softcover). These two bibles were almost the same in dimensions. However, the Oxford one was hardcover (I always prefer hardcover books over softcovers) and I wanted to see how a non-Catholic publisher published a Catholic Bible.  I will be going to the Steubenville Toronto Conference this weekend so this will be a great chance to try out this Compact Bible. The second book is actually two books but one item. It was the Lives of the Saints 2-Volume Boxed Set published by the Catholic Book Publishing Corporation, a very popular publisher of Catholic books. I will review these two products I received from The Catholic Company in a later post. The RSV-Catholic Bible-Compact Edition I will likely to review next week after I come back to the Steubenville Conference. The Lives of the Saints 2-Volume Boxed Set I will review sometime in August. Today, I only want to focus on The Catholic Company‘s service.

20160719_181851I requested my items via an e-mail conversation on July 7, 2016. The staff notified me that the Lives of the Saints 2-Volume Boxed Set was temporarily out of stock, which they told me “may take up to several weeks” for it to be back in stock. (Probably my mistake that I did not check the site to be prepared…) Therefore, I thought that my order would not come to my doorstep until probably August. On the night of July 18, 2016, I checked the website and saw that the item was back in stock. Curious of how the order was going, I emailed the staff and asked about the progress. The staff replied a couple hours on the same day after I sent the email. To my surprise, on that same day in the afternoon, after my afternoon walk, I saw a package on my front door. I thought that it was for someone else in my household. It was not, it was from The Catholic Company. I was thrilled to see the contents of the package.

I was a bit tired after my afternoon walk. But, I just wanted to open the package and see the items that I have requested. I took a knife and carefully opened the package. First, I saw a rolled up large sheet of brown kraft paper to stabilize the contents of the box. Then, each item I requested was carefully put into a plastic bubble wrap package. I was surprised by how much care was taken into packing the contents. They even including a neat “BELIEVE” decal with my order.

On The Catholic Man’s Scale (services version)

Customer Service (via e-mail): ★★★★★

Duration of order to delivery: ★★★★★ (not long as expected!)

Staff: ★★★★★ (such kind and polite staff!)

Care in packaging: ★★★★★ 

Trustworthiness: ★★★★★

Items arrived as expected: ★★★★★

There was nothing negative I could say about The Catholic Company! My family has bought some things online (electronics, school supplies…) and some took long to come to our doorstep and some came to us in very “loose” packaging. If someone asks me, “Where is the best Catholic Online store?”. My answer would be, “The Catholic Company”.

I appreciate The Catholic Company‘s great work in serving Catholics “because faith matters”! Again, I thank The Catholic Company for giving me the chance to review your services and two of your products on The Catholic Man Reviews. This is a big motivation for me to continue The Catholic Man Reviews blog. 

My two posts on RSV-Catholic Bible-Compact Edition and Lives of the Saints 2-Volume Boxed Set  will be the next two blog posts on The Catholic Man Reviews! Stay tuned for these reviews!