CATHOLIC charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has distributed a new translation of its Child’s Bible to the Amazonian Sateré-Mawé people, who at last can learn God’s word in their own language.
More than 1,000 copies of the ACN Child’s Bible, God Speaks to his Children, were distributed to representatives of nearly 30 Sateré-Mawé communities, who live in the Andirá and Marau regions of the Amazon.
In total, the charity has printed 51,459,477 copies of the book in 193 languages, including more than 10 million copies in Brazil alone.
The Sateré-Mawé people numbered just 1,200 in 1972 and were in danger of extinction because of disease and neglect by the civil authorities.
They now number more than 12,000, with Sateré-Mawé children benefitting from a network of bilingual schools.
Dercival Santos Batista, a member of the Sateré-Mawé and one of seven local catechists who translated the new edition of the Child’s Bible, praised the initiative. He said:
“Through this book, our children and our youth will be able to walk along the right path. It is also very important for our own understanding of the Word of God.”
Father Henrique Uggé, an Italian missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), who has spent decades working with the native people of the Amazon, said: “We all like to hear, read, and meditate on the Word of God in our own language, in our own cultural and historical context.”
He added that the Sateré-Mawé will also be able to hear Mass readings in their indigenous tongue, emphasising that “this will be most useful for them”.
The Child’s Bible, which includes key stories from the Old and New Testaments, is funded and distributed by ACN.
Besides the Sateré-Mawé and the standard Portuguese versions, the Child‘s Bible has been translated into other indigenous Brazilian languages such as Guarani, Tukano, Ticuna and Macuxi.
In some cases, the Child’s Bible was the first book ever to be published in that specific language.