Day 12: St. Joseph New Catholic Bible, Gift Edition – Large Type

Catholic Book Publishing Corporation‘s (CBPC) beautiful Bibles and devotional titles have been featured on our blog on several occasions. The quality and design of these publications are, in my opinion, one of the finest (and affordable). The thing with CBPC’s publications is that there is a sense of simplicity, yet a nobility that speaks to the importance of the texts that they publish. Last June, I (The Catholic Man) reviewed CBPC’s New Catholic Bible (NCB) Giant-Print Edition. Well throughout the latter half of 2020, and throughout this year, the review for this Bible have been one of the most read Bible-reviews on our blog.

This year for the 12 Days of Christmas series, my sister and I are joining forces together to bring to you this last review for season 4 of this series, a review of one of the CBPC’s newer NCB Editions,the St. Joseph NCB Gift Edition – Large Type. It contains the same translation as the NCB Giant-Type Edition, reviewed last year, but there are also many special features in this Gift Edition – Large Type, not only in terms of type size as the title suggests, but well beyond.

Please note, just like other reviews of Bibles on this blog, I will not be taking a critical look at the translation, for several reasons. First of all, I am not Scripture scholar. I do not have any authority in the Church or in academia to publically speak about this translation. Rest assured though, as with any other Bible translation published by CBPC, care is taken to include the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, all of which could be found in the Bible. The NCB translation though, unlike the New American Bible (in the USA) and the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (in Canada) is not a Liturgical translation. Even then, the translations listed have been adapted for liturgical use (more on that in a future posted). The NCB, as CBPC clearly states in the Frequently Asked Questions is that,

The NCB OT, NT and Psalms are not intended for liturgical purposes, as is the case for several other Catholic Bible translations, but it can be enjoyed for private use and study.

(emphasis added)

And indeed so, the NCB as I remarked in the review for the Giant Type edition last year, is ideal for prayer and study, especially since this particular translation, is “classified as a formal or verbal equivalence Bible translation, which emphasizes a literal translation (word for word) of the Scripture text to make sure to preserve the original word order and capture the nuances found in the ancient biblical text.” (NCB, FAQs) If you would like to know more about the translation, I suggest you take a look at their helpful Frequently Asked Questions. The goal of bible reviews on this blog is to provide a viewpoint of a day-to-day Catholic on using these bibles. Thus, we take a look at readability of the texts and their user-friendliness for “common folks.”

NCB Giant Type on left; NCB Large Type on right

As mentioned, the NCB Gift Edition – Large Type contains many features similar to the NCB Giant-Type edition. This review will speak of several features that I think merit attention. By the end of the review, I will have spoken about the ideal audience of the NCB Gift Edition – Large Type in comparison with the NCB Giant-Type Red Imitation Leather. (Note, from now on, the terms ‘Large Type’ will refer to the NCB Gift Edition – Large Type while ‘Giant Type’ will refer to the NCB Red Imitation Leather – Giant Type.

Fonts, Font Size and Notes

When I first opened the box to see the Large Type Bible, I honestly did not know what to expect with the font size. I thought the terms “Giant Type” and “Large Type” were interchangeable, but upon comparing the font size of both version, it became apparent to me that that is not the case with CBPC’s NCB Bibles. The Giant Type is larger than the Large Type… I honestly cannot count by how many points, but approximately, I would say the font size of the Large Type version is about 12pt, while the Giant Type is about 13-14pt.

There is a difference I have found reading with the Large Type than the Giant Type. The benefit of having the 12pt font is that there seems to be more room to include more on a page. I notice that the notes of the each book of the Bible, unlike the Giant Type edition, are put as footnotes rather than endnotes. That creates for a much more pleasurable experience if you were using this edition for studying the Bible. This was one of the critiques I had with the Giant Type edition.

However, that does not mean that one should dismiss the benefits of having the notes as endnotes. I would personally prefer the Giant Type for prayer, since the notes would not get in the way, causing a distraction. From top to bottom of that edition is just Scriptural Text. I think both the Large Type and Giant Type’s placement of notes have their own pros and cons that would better be suited to the needs of an individual. If you are purchasing an NCB Bible for study, the Large Type would be more ideal, while the Giant Type would be suited for those who want strictly a Bible for prayer.

Returning to the talk on fonts and font sizes, CBPC clearly put a lot of thought into the use of them. I thought the Large Type would be like the Giant Type, simply having the Gian Type’s fonts shrunken down a couple points, but it seems to me that both editions utilize different fonts. I think this is rightly so. Different fonts have different “looks” when readjusted in size, and for some fonts, it is not a matter of “one font fits all.” Same with printing liturgical texts… as a Liturgical MC at my parish, I strive to use fonts that are readable for the celebrant, that would suit the small 10pt font for red rubrics, and 14pt font for spoken text. I am glad that the same consideration is being considered here for Scriptural texts.

Another factor for choice of font might be the use of red for the words of Christ in the New Testament of the Large Type edition. Fonts, their sizes and the colours are factors that go hand-in-hand when producing any liturgical and Scriptural text for ease of reading. More on the “words of Christ in red,” some may think that CBPC is going too far, or ‘Protestantizing’ a Catholic Bible. I do not think so. I think it is a feature that should appear more in Catholic Bibles. Even though the whole Bible is the Word of God, with God as the principle author of the these texts, the Gospels receive special reverence at Mass, as all stand to listen to it because the Gospel texts contain the words of Christ, the Words from the ‘Word made flesh.’ When we want to emphasize the words of somebody, even in academia, would you not give some external emphasis in bold or italicization? I am sure one would… and so why not do so with the words of Christ? Red text also has helped me with finding verses in Gospel passages a lot quicker too… I just wish more Catholic Bibles had it. Yet, I would not be surprised why Catholic Bibles do not include them perhaps out of cost factor too. Two-colour printing might prove to be more expensive than grayscale printing.

Illustrations and Supplementary Features

One of the things that immediately captured my attention with the Large Type edition was how richly illustrated that specific edition is in comparison with the Giant Type edition. The boxes of both editions say, “Beautifully Illustrated,” but I suggest the Large Type edition to say, “Richly Illustrated.” CBPC always does a great job with illustrations, especially with the illustrations in the coloured inerts. However, the Large Type edition goes beyond the usual. Before each book, there is a nice width-wise illustration depicting a key even in the book. This is amazing… it really gives the reader a break from page after page of text, and to show that a new book has come, instilling a sense that we are starting to walk into another door as we read this book.

Compared with the Giant Type edition, the Large Type edition features not 20, but 40 full-colour photographs, not counting the many grayscale photographs scattered throughout. Like the Giant Type version, there are 8 full-colour maps, but also grayscale maps interspersed throughout.

CBPC also always have great inserts- those have only been amplified in the NCB editions. I remarked about this extensively in the review for the Giant Type edition, which you find here. Here’s the truth: many people will use the Bible for study, for prayer, but certainly some who are gifted with a Bible, but might not open it frequently. Yet, perhaps one of the colour-panels might catch their attention. Who knows what curiosity might be sparked by such charts, such inserts? That in turn, may prompt them to open their Bibles and read more in-depth. These are small details for a Bible, but can change the way one may approach the Scriptures in general, in a very positive way.

The last feature I will speak about is one that I critiqued for a lack of in the Giant Type edition – a table of Sunday Lectionary readings. I am so glad to that feature at the end of this Large Type edition. I always enjoy having such features of a Bible, because no matter if it is a study bible, prayer bible, personal travel bible… it is so good to have something to reference the Scripture readings of the upcoming Sunday. It serves as an aid to pray not only individual but with the Church in its lectionary readings.

Exterior Qualities

I have been gifted several Bibles from CBPC over the years from loved ones and received some for review here, but I honestly have to say, I think that this Large Type edition is one of the most magnificent yet. The Dura-lux burgundy cover is elegant. It is not real leather, but nevertheless, very handsome and has a sense of quality to the material. My sister will say more about the aesthetic qualities:

This Bible has a soft cover with a faux leather texture but seems that it will last for generation to come. There is a cross debossed onto the the front. While I think it looks nice, we have found it can collect dust which isn’t very easy to remove with all the ridges. The book feels well bound.

The gilding is also very even. I find that the gilding here comes off on your hands a little but no where near as much as I usually see so I found this quality impressive. The gilding does stick some of the pages together though, so I recommending being extra careful when flipping the pages for the first time since the pages are super thin; about as thin as what you usually see in Bibles and dictionaries.

There are two bookmarking ribbons. There seem to be nice quality – rich colour, very smooth, the ends well cut with no fraying. The printing for both colour and black and white are well done. the edges are all very defined with consistent pigmentation throughout. I also think the text is a good size.

Overall, I think the visual aspect of this Bible is all great save for one thing. I think because the gilding sticks the edges of a lot of the pages together, I noticed a small amount of rippling and buckling on some of the pages. I assume this is from opening and closing the Bible with pages stuck together and thus pulled weird angles, only to be closed, the pages still at a weird angle. It’s a very minor flaw, and if my theory is correct, the person you gift the Bible to likely won’t even notice this until they’ve used it a couple times. I just thought I would bring it up nonetheless.

CBPC’s NCB Gift Edition Large Type is a beautiful Bible. As the name suggests, it is suited as a gift not only for Christmas, but for Weddings and Graduations. Sacramental events like First Communions and Confirmations are applicable too (but such occasions may merit also looking at CBPC’s special Sacramental editions of their Bibles.) This is a Bible that can be passed on from generation to generation, especially because of the inclusion of the Family Record… however, more importantly, it is a Bible to be opened, read, and prayed upon. I would rather pass down to my family a Bible that has been well read than one that looks new, as if never opened since the time I received it.

You can purchase a copy of the reviewed St. Joseph NCB Gift Edition – Large Type here.
You can also check out some sample pages here.
To learn more about the NCB and explore its other bindings, click here.

Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a review copy of NCB Gift Edition – Large Type to provide an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks CBPC for the opportunity for us to review this title on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.


Day 6 Tabbies’ Bible Indexing Tabs – Camo series

We are half through this year’s 12 Days of Christmas Gift ideas! For day 6 I am writing another comparison post, this time for the camo series of the Tabbies Bible indexing tabs. Vincent has done a review Tabbie’s Bible indexing tabs before, and the claims made in that review still stand. In today’s review, I’m going to make a couple more points in addition to what Vincent said in that review and do a deeper dive into the camo series specifically. I’ve added some pictures of fully installed tabs below.

Ease of use is one of the claims for this product. There are a couple of features that I think support this claim:

  • The tabs are scored so that you could easily bend the backing and peel the tab that you want
  • The page is designed a bit like a sticker sheet, as in the tabs don’t start right at the edge of the page so it’s easier to peel the tab without ruining/fraying its edge
  • The instructions are are detailed enough to follow and also have accompanying pictures
  • The backing on the tabs have the instructions included (with the pictures!); so you are never without them
  • The pages with the tabs are numbered and the books are arranged in order, so there’s no guessing which tab goes where or how far along you are in the process of sticking them into your Bible
  • There is a practice tab

I tried to photograph all these features for your viewing interest.

Another feature I appreciate is how thin the clear sticky portion is. The tab itself is made of paper that feels a little thicker than regular paper, and its going to double up as well when you install (not quite the right word but it gets the point across) the tabs. The clear portion however, is a very thin plastic. It feels quite durable nonetheless. I appreciate this because it does the job of sticking the tabs in well without adding thickness to the Bible.

The camo series can give your Bible a unique look, and for that reason, I think it caters to a rather specific consumer pool. For someone who reads the Bible and likes camo pattern, this could be the best of both worlds for them. There a variety of colour ways; I received the forest tabs, which are your typical camo colours. There are pros and cons to this particular design.

I think the camo pattern is interesting, and not commonly seen, especially not for a religious product. The font chosen suits the pattern quite well. The overall design would go really well with more “rustic” Bibles. I’m thinking something along the lines of brown pebble leather cover. I also think the white font with the olive green outline is a good choice. I like the trapezoid shape the tabs have rather than the usual rectangle; its something a little different.

The biggest qualm I have with this design is the way it is printed gives it a slightly “speckled” look which I think works with the pattern, but it interferes with the readability of the text since the edges of the letters aren’t crisp. It seems to just be the coloured regions since anything that is black (the bottom edge of the tab, the practice tab) doesn’t have this. That is the one thing I think could be improved. While the words are still fairly legible, if the person you are thinking of gifting these to has trouble reading, I think a different design would be a better option. Another smaller gripe I have is there are blank tabs for the user to write whatever they wish, but I wish they were olive green rather than white. I understand why they are white, but I think they would fit in with the rest of the tabs better if they shared a colour with the rest of the camo pattern.

And that is all I have for today! I hope you are looking forward to the rest of the series!

Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was provided these Bible indexing tabs for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Tabbies for the opportunity for us to review these items on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.

Day 3: NRSV-CE Leathersoft Thinline Edition

Last year in the 12-days of Christmas series, we reviewed a copy of the NRSV Catholic Bible Personal Size Standard Edition from Catholic Bible Press. This year, we wanted to present something newer, but of the same line. Catholic Bible Press has really been expanding their line of offerings of the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE). I have honestly been jealous for quite some years how Protestant translations have had many beautiful volumes of their Bibles, while Catholics had a very limited line of Bibles. However, I have been proven wrong as in recent years, many beautiful and practical editions of the Catholic Bible have been printed, an number of which have been featured on this blog.

Unlike the Personal Size edition last year, I will not be going through the content because I have found the content of both Bibles to be nearly exactly the same, except for one feature that I will speak of later. Many of its exterior qualities are the same, thankfully, with the handsome leathersoft synthetic leather materials, and with the hallmark of Catholic Bible Press… two ribbon markers!

The main thing I will look at the NRSV-CE Thinline Bible is its size, in comparion with the Personal Size Standard Edition that we reviewed last year. By the end of the review, I will have provided you the pros and cons of each, and which ones would be more ideal for which type of people.

Thinline Edition in the bottom; Personal Sized Standard Edition on the top

Before I dive deeper into the review, here are some of the specifications of the Thinline Bible and the Personal Size Standard edition:

Thinline BiblePersonal Size
Standard Edition
Number of Pages1232 pgs.1472 pgs.
Book Size (inches)10.25 x 7.3 x 1.389.5 x 6.25 x 1.5
Font Size (point)109.5

Probably one of the biggest surprises for me upon comparing the Thinline Bible is that compared to the Personal Size Standard Edition, it is indeed thinner, but it is not exactly smaller. My conception was that the Thinline Bible was going to be the same length and width as the Personal Size Standard Edition, while only being thinner than the Personal Size Standard Edition by about 0.12″. Is that a trade-off? I asked a friend that: Would you prefer a thinner Bible with larger length and width? Or a thicker Bible with smaller length and width? He didn’t have an immediate answer, simply because they are both trade-offs: You want thinner, have larger length and width; You want smaller length and width, have a thicker Bible.

The font size between the two Editions, with 0.5pt difference (this is in terms of the main, body text) is not too much of a difference for me, but might be so for someone with not the best eyesight.

Thinline Edition below; Personal Size Standard Edition on top

A plus side of the Thinline Edition is that, at least for me, it seems more “spacious” in terms of the layout. When putting the Bible side by side, it seems that the Thinline Edition has a bit more white space in between the lines than the Personal Size Standard Edition. The latter Edition seems like the lines are more condensed. If you prefer the more white-space, that makes the text easier to read, or more “approachable,” then the Thineline edition might be for you.

One of the downsides of the Thinline Edition is that despite its more spaciousness in the pages, unlike the Personal Size Standard Edition, it eliminates all the notes at the beginning of all the books. The Personal Size Standard Edition contains a good paragraph of notes that would introduce the reader to the book. An introduction to the book of the Bible is important, especially for someone approaching the Bible for the first time. These notes I have found to be helpful as it frames the Bible in its historical context, and helps inform the reader on how the book is meant to be read.

Where do I stand on the Thinline Edition? Just like my friend I recalled earlier, there are trade offs between the two Bibles: You gain something, but you lose some other features. However, upon careful contemplation, I thought of the following: Personally, for me, as someone who travels with a backpack, I prefer the Personal Sized Standard Edition. I like it not just because of the notes for each book, but also in terms of practicality. I prefer a smaller length and width, but thicker book. However, I would assume teachers, lecturers or Catholic speakers would prefer the Thinline. I notice that many of those who work in these professions have a laptop sleeve. I can imagine the Thinline slipping well into some laptop sleeves. Also, the larger font size, though not larger substantially, will help ease the reading. In other words, if you have larger surface area to cover in your bag, but need to make things as thin as possible, the Thinline Edition is the most ideal for you. If you want a smaller Bible, but don’t mind the 0.12″ thickness difference, then you might want to with the Personal Sized Standard Editions.

Nevertheless, Catholic Bible Press has here two handsome editions of the NRSV-CE, that I think every Catholic should get a hold of to not only have, but actually read.

You can check out the NRSV-CE Thinline Edition here.

Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a review copy of the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Bible Thinline Edition for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Catholic Bible Press for the opportunity for us to review this Bible on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.

Day 2: Tyndale Inspire Catholic Bible – NLT translation

It is Day 2 of our 12 Days of Christmas Gift ideas with Ivy! Today, I am presenting what I consider the sibling of something I have brought to you in a previous season. It is the Tyndale’s Inspire Catholic Bible for “coloring and creative journaling”. I have reviewed one of these before, but I was lucky enough to receive a copy of a slightly different version. I’m going to shake things up a little and do more of a comparison post rather than what we usually do.

This version has a brown imitation leather softcover. It doesn’t have the elastic that the other version I reviewed has to keep the book shut. The softcover probably wouldn’t fare very well with it anyway. The front cover has the same design save for the copper lettering and the lack of the dove. The edges have copper gilding to match the cover text instead of the flower and butterflies design. The gilding is very even and does look nice, but as most if not all gilding does, it gets all over my hands when I touch it. You’ll be left with a bunch of shimmer flecks on your hands, and a bunch less on the Bible (not that you could see it disappearing; it’s a pretty gradual process). For this reason, I prefer the design for the edges on the other version, but I can see how the gilding would be more appealing to some people.

One thing that is unique to this softcover version is it has the beatitudes etched onto the back. I think it serves as a nice reminder and could be a reason to pick this version over the other. The font matches that of the rest of the Bible so it fits right in with the rest of the theming. The spines are also different to match the differences in theming for each version. This soft cover version has a cardstock container rather than just a sleeve, which I think is nice. It still has the flexibility of the sleeve for easy removal, but is a bit more protective. The information printed on it is the same as the other version, only the font is a little bigger.

As for the inside, both versions are identical. This goes for the fonts, illustrations, the paper used. For this reason, everything I wrote regarding the previous version also applies to this one. That being said, I noticed that the product code on the inside of this Bible is the code for the other version I reviewed, not this one. I don’t know if this a just a printing error or if it changes anything for the rest of the book. Considering how the outer packaging and description are identical, I suspect that the inside would be as well, however this is not something I can guarantee. I am nonetheless writing this review under the assumption that the content of the Bibles were intended to be the same. This also means that I don’t think one person needs both. Based off the overall outer design, I think it was designed to be a more traditionally masculine version of the other version I reviewed. If that was the case however, I don’t think they were very successful with that because the inner content and design is identical. Most of the illustrations can be considered more traditionally feminine. For this reason, I think when deciding if this is a good gift for someone, I would not recommend looking at it from a masculine vs. feminine angle, but to instead first consider if the illustrations inside are something that the person you would gift it to would like. If you think yes, that is when I would consider which colour and/or cover type they would prefer.

Because there are two versions with identical interiors, I think these Bibles would be a good way to get someone to read the Bible or get into Bible journaling with you without being too matchy-matchy. It is then really easy to coordinate pages, and colouring the illustrations together could make for a nice bonding activity.

You can purchase a copy of the The Inspire Bible here.

And so concludes today’s review! I hope to see you for the rest of the season!

Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was provided a review copy of this Bible for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Tyndale Publishing House for the opportunity for us to review The Bible on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.

The Liturgy Series: Prayer Tools On-the-Go

For the 15th installment of The Liturgy Series, I am going to take things on a little bit of a different route. We have talked about albs, breviary covers, missals and even a paschal stylus… all sorts of liturgical items for use in a reverent celebration of the Mass. However, I want in this installment to go back to the basics. What is beautiful about the liturgy is that no matter where you are in the world, the structure of the celebration of the liturgy (i.e. Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, sacraments and other rites prescribed in the liturgical books) are the same. The only difference is the use of language in which after the Second Vatican Council, the vernacular can be used so to foster an “active” and “conscious” participation in the Sacred Rites. As travel picks back up in the next couple months for North Americans and Europeans at least, I thought it would be fitting to feature some “prayer tools” that I carry with me to ensure that I can actively pray and take part in the liturgy of the Church wherever I am at, whether it be at a church celebrating Mass in a language I do not know, and some sacramentals that I think would help one “stay fit” spiritually, especially on vacation, pilgrimage or retreat. I have featured some of these items on our blog throughout the years, but never managed to compile them – so here they are!

1. A Good Backpack – Starting with my journey to Europe in 2019, I began using a High Sierra Overtime Fly-By Laptop Backpack. When I think of a “pilgrimage,” an image that comes up in my mind is that of a personal with a backpack. Oftentimes, we come on a pilgrimage and a retreat at a certain point in our lives where we would be carrying with us much “baggage.” It may be physical (a.k.a. overpacking), but moreso, I speak of here in a spiritual sense – we come with our worries, concerns and even our sins on a pilgrimage or retreat. The backpack that I have used throughout pilgrimages and retreats bears sentimental value to me because I am reminded of this reality of a pilgrimage. I find moments of consolation when reminded of these pilgrimage or retreat moments because I am reminded that only in God can I let go of all this baggage that is weighing me down, the baggage that prevents me from having a sincere relationship with Our Lord.
On more practical terms, a good backpack (especially on flights) allows for ease in carrying your necessities both physical and spiritually. On flights, I would often bring a laptop to get work done, so a backpack with an accessible laptop compartment is the most ideal. However, I care the most about the many compartments to compartmentalize be toiletries, shirts, socks… and spiritual tools that I will outline further.

2. Crucifix – When I was a part-time sacristan at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, I remember seeing a prayerful woman who was there often, both weekends and weekdays in the first pew of the Cathedral, near the Blessed Sacrament. She often had many prayer cards laid out in front of her but what stood out for me was a large crucifix which she would often carry in her arms.
The crucifix is the sign of salvation. The cross that was once a symbol of shame, of death, through the death and resurrection of Jesus became for us a sign of victory and life. Therefore, I think it is important for one to have a crucifix with them wherever they go. It does not need to be a big one – there are many high quality crucifixes from reputable Catholic shops. Some you might want to consider is the indulgenced pardon crucifix. I personally carry a simple crucifix that has a depiction of Mary at the back. I bought it some time ago at the Liturgical Centre in Toronto but unable to locate it online. Interesting fact: this crucifix has served as an altar cross twice for a camping retreat, in which unfortunately the liturgical team failed to prepare an altar cross. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) no. 297 states that, “The celebration of the Eucharist in a sacred place is to take place on an altar; however, outside a sacred place, it may take place on a suitable table, always with the use of a cloth, a corporal, a cross, and candles.” (emphasis added)
In brief, the cross with the crucified Lord is a symbol of our faith, and let yourself be reminded of this sign of salvation always.

3. Rosary – a sacramental that helps with travelling on long roads is the rosary. I remember sitting on the bus one Sunday travelling from Barcelona, Spain to Nice, France. I remember praying with the scenery as the bus was passing by mountains and cities. Praying is not an act to pass time, but rather, a connection with God at a certain moment in time. You can bring any rosary, a ten-decade or a five-decade rosary. I have many but have a few that I use frequently. Throughout my time in Europe, I used a Pocket Rosary from Catholic Milestones which I often carry with me on travel. I do recommend Rugged Rosaries as well, which provides rosaries in all shapes and sizes, including pocket rosaries. I recently bought their Catholic Gentleman Rosary and highly recommend that one, especially if you don’t mind the little bit of extra weight.

4. Breviary – pilgrimage and retreats allow one to immerse further into prayer and if you have a breviary, I highly recommend you bring it along. I have mentioned countless times on the blog that I can not recommend enough the use of a paper, hard-copy for breviaries, missals and prayer books. May I recommend a breviary cover as well? This protects your breviary and even missals, from wear and tear. Have not been able to purchase a breviary? I highly recommend Universalis or the free-alternative, iBreviary or Divine Office.

5. Missal – pray with the Mass readings on your journey and at Mass with a hand missal such as the Daily Roman Missal. Along with that, I highly recommend if you are going to another country and have the chance to participate in Mass in a foreign language, The Order of Mass in Nine Languages by Liturgical Press which includes the Order of Mass in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese, Tagalog and Vietnamese. (Note the new Order of Mass in Italian with minor revisions in the new edition has not been reflected in this current publication.)

6. Journal – it is a noteworthy practice particular on retreats and pilgrimages is to have a journal. It is also a worthy practice to do spiritual journaling everyday in which one would be able to record the ways in which you see God working in your life. On pilgrimage or retreat, you may find yourself in a thought and mode to jot down a prayer from the heart. Journals as one may know, come in all shapes and sizes, but choose the one that fits you. Personally, I prefer a small sized, passport-sized journal. Some people may prefer larger. One journal I would recommend is a leather cover traveller’s notebook. I purchase mine from an AliExpress vendor, IPBEN which has very affordable styles and even free customization for their traveller’s notebooks. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but the purchase proved to be very smooth and the item is of good quality. I have also used pocket composition notebooks throughout the years which have proved to be a fine companion as well.

7. Bible – especially on a pilgrimage, you want to have a bible with you. I have reviewed a variety of bibles on our blog, and if you have read through the various reviews, there are various bibles of different formats and sizes that will suit your needs. For on-the-go Catholics, I recommend the The New American Bible Revised Edition – Black Zipper Duradera Compact Edition from Oxford University Press or the feature-filled New American Bible Personal Size Gift Edition. If you are leaning towards the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, I would recommend either the NRSV Catholic Bible Personal Size Standard Edition or Thinline Edition (to be reviewed soon on our blog) both from Catholic Bible Press. You can even bring only the Gospels with you if you think that is sufficient for you in a particular point in time. I have seen the paperback New American Bible translation Pocket Gospels and Acts of the Apostles published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Recently, I just bought from Amazon a leather copy of Ignatius Press’ pocket New Testament and Psalms of the Revised Standard Version, Second Edition translation. I have seen Cardinal Collins’ copy and admired it and therefore, recently, decided to get a copy for myself and may hopefully review it on this blog in the near future.

8. Prayer Book – it is in the moments of silence in a church that I have had the opportunity to flip through my prayer books. While the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours are the prayers of the Church, there are countless litanies, prayers of the saints that speak to your heart in a specific moment. A beautiful traditional prayer book is the Manual of Prayers published by the North American Pontifical College in collaboration with Midwest Theological Forum. A prayer book that I have brought with me so many places is the Handbook of Prayers – Student Edition published by Midwest Theological Forum, edited by Fr. James Socias, the figure who was also behind the Daily Roman Missal. I have that copy stuffed with prayer cards. For a truly portable prayer book, I recommend the beautifully illustrated St. Joseph Pocket Prayer Book from Catholic Book Publishing Corporation. I often keep the two – Handbook of Prayers and St. Joseph Pocket Prayer Book together when travelling.

Am I missing anything from the list? Maybe? Each person is different and may bring along with them other items that will aid their spiritual life, that will help them become connected with the liturgy and prayer life of the Church. Which other “prayer-tools” do you bring along when on-the-go? Put them in the comments below! I would love to know.