Catholic Biblical School Spanish Workbook Responds to Growing Church
Date published: May 26, 2016
Its publication was a decade in the making, but in August 2016, the Spanish version
of the Ann and Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry Catholic Biblical School (CBS) program’s
Year One student workbook will be available from Paulist Press.
UD’s own Neuhoff School of Ministry Director of Continuing Education Programs and
Affiliate Instructor Pía Septien, MTS ’04, began translating the Year One workbook
shortly after she was hired in 2006 along with Affiliate Instructor Juan Rendon, BA
’00; a provisional version of the workbook has been in use by the CBS ever since,
printed and bound at UD on an as-needed basis. Septien and the school of ministry’s
dean at the time, Brian Schmisek, approached Paulist, the publisher of the English
version of the workbook, prior to beginning the translation to see if they were interested
in publishing the Spanish version as well. However, Paulist didn’t believe there would
be a market for it, though they did give the go-ahead to proceed with translating
and try to find a different publisher.
“They said that if we could prove there was a market, they would reconsider,” Septien
said. “Well, we proved it.”
Septien and Rendon went on to translate the other three workbooks as well. These translations
were not easy, as they required in-depth knowledge not only of the two languages involved
but also of the Bible; a translator who was not also profoundly familiar with the
Bible and all of its terms would likely have used the incorrect Spanish word for some
of the English ones: for example, the title of the Year One course, “Old Testament
Foundations,” might have been translated as “Fundamentos del Viejo Testamento” rather
than “Fundamentos del Antiguo Testamento.”
Moreover, the translations had to be done during the summers prior to each year of
the program while also planning and preparing for the teaching of the course.
The original English versions of the workbooks were written by Schmisek, Professor
of Sacred Scripture Gene Guiliano and two former instructors in the ministry school
-- Judith A. Hubert, who retired seven years ago, and Dorothy Jonaitis, who now teaches
elsewhere. There is a workbook for each year of the four-year CBS program, an intensive
continuing education and faith formation course that covers the entire Bible and is
designed especially for deacons, religious education teachers, lectors and leaders
of Bible study groups.
Septien also pursued getting the Spanish versions of the workbooks published through
Liguori Publications, the publisher of other books used by the CBS, but they had no
luck there, either, although Liguori did request another sequence of books from Septien
and Rendon, the “Biblical Study Series,” that was then published.
Finally, after 10 years, Paulist reviewed the evidence at hand: the number of Spanish-speaking
students who have gone through the CBS program and benefited from the translated workbooks.
“As an alumna of the Catholic Biblical School at the University of Dallas, I'm sure
this workbook will be very useful not only for students, but for those who are thinking
of leading a Bible study in their parishes; they will have a great resource at hand,” said Cecilia Rangel, CBS ’10.
“The Catholic Biblical School is an invitation to learn not only the story of salvation,
but also how the same story relates to yourself and to the whole world,” said Sonia
Dimas, CBS ’10, Hispanic ministry coordinator at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in
Farmers Branch, Texas. “This school has opened up my eyes to the Scriptures and given
me an ability to see myself in any Scripture passage I read. I’m so happy that this
wonderful work will finally be published.”
Now that Paulist is publishing the Spanish version of the Year One workbook, other
schools can benefit from it as well. The workbook will be available in bookstores
across the country, as well as on Amazon. In subsequent years, the workbooks for Years
Two through Four will also be published.