Pauline Edition of the bible In malagasy for Madagascar
- The Country’s Socio-Political Situation
Madagascar has about 19 million inhabitants, with a 2.7% annual growth rate. About 73% of the people are farmers. The country suffers from a very high rate of infant mortality. In fact, between 2005-2010, about 65.5% of all the nation’s newborn infants died.
When the political regime of President Ratsiraka ended in 2002, Madagascar went through a period of crisis that came to a head in January 2009 with a coup d’état that removed President Marc Ravalomanana from office. The deposed president was forced to leave the country so that the transition government could function. This socio-political crisis had a strong impact on both the presidential election and the legislative elections that followed and the political instability gave rise to increased poverty and a food recession that weighed heavily on the poorest segment of society. In fact, unemployment rose to new heights.
23% of the men and 34.7% of the women of Madagascar are illiterate. The median age of students is about six so the percentage of semi-illiterate people in the country is increasing. Only 5.4% of the population has access to the Internet.
- The Ecclesial Situation
25% of the Malagasy people are Catholics. The country is divided in 21 dioceses. The Local Church is dependent on the help of the many foreign missionaries present in the country, even though local vocations to the diocesan clergy and to religious institutes are on the rise. The Church of Madagascar is very involved with the people through its intensive pastoral work, evangelizing activities, openness to ecumenical dialogue, promotion of the mass media and concern for women.
- The Bible in Malagasy
The first edition of the Bible in Malagasy was printed in 1938. The bishops entrusted this work to the Jesuit missionaries, who were helped by a number of Malagasy catechists. In 1982, Cardinal Victor Razafimahatratra asked the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver to publish a new edition of the text, which was reprinted by the International Bible Society.
Now we have reached the second decade of the Third Millennium. Given the fact that Malagasy Christians have not been able to purchase a Bible in their own language for the past two years because the Bible Society has not reprinted the text for decades, the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar–in response to the appeal of the Synod on the Word of God, which invited all the faithful to read and get to know the Sacred Scriptures–decided to launch a project to reprint the Bible in the local language.
The Episcopal Conference asked the Daughters of St. Paul to take charge of this important initiative. The Project requires them to bring the language of the 1938 translation up to date, oversee the impagination and printing of the text, and disseminate it throughout the country.
- The Daughters of St. Paul in Madagascar
The Daughters of St. Paul arrived in Madagascar in 1983 and immediately began to print catechetical and formative books in the local language. They decided to give priority to printing texts in Malagasy so that more people would benefit from them and so as to promote the cultural heritage of the nation.
The Edisiona Mad Paoly Publishing House is well-structured and well-organized from both the creative and diffusion aspects and is highly esteemed by the Local Episcopal Conference, teachers and pastoral workers. In the last few months, with the help of Fr. Bonaventure Ramboasolomanana, SJ, a noted biblical scholar and an expert in the Malagasy language, and assisted by other competent persons, the sisters re-read the updated version of the 1938 text.
Unfortunately, the socio-political and economic condition of the country does not allow the people to purchase this new edition of the Bible at a price that covers its printing costs. Therefore, the Local Church, with the Daughters of St. Paul acting as intermediaries, is asking for financial aid for this Project so that the text can be sold at a more economical price.
- Objective of the Project
To permit a wider diffusion of the Word of God by offering the new Malagasy edition of the Bible at an economical price and thus help to nourish the faith and hope of the Malagasy people, both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Note: Because of the high cost of printing the Bible in Malagasy, the Episcopal Conference is submitting its request for aid to various funding agencies.
Total Cost of the Project:
| 2-year work of correcting and impaginating the text || € 6.000 |
| Proof-reading by 3 Bible scholars || € 1.800 |
|Illustrations, maps and Bible cover || € 1.200 |
| Printing || € 95.000 |
|Shipping, customs and other local tax levies || € 10.500 |
| Total expenses: || € 114.500 |
Looking to the future
So as to ensure a continuity of pastoral action centered on this new edition of the Bible, we believe it is necessary to set up a REPRINTING FUND. With this in mind and with the consensus of the Local Episcopal Conference, the new edition of the Bible in Malagasy is priced at €15.000 Ar. (local currency), equivalent to € 5.00 per copy. In this way, the Malagasy people will be involved in the project and help take responsibility for it by paying a modest sum for the Sacred Text, in the knowledge that the money will help to foster its dissemination in the coming years.
We foresee that the sale of 20,000 copies of the Bible will yield €60.000 for our Reprinting Fund.