Today we live in an audiovisual culture. Hence the need to offer attractive products that present the Christian revelation in a close and attractive way. A good example of this are the two historiograms presented in this article, which are a good way to introduce the reader to the understanding of Christianity. Perhaps one of the keys to the success of these works is that their author is not an expert biblical scholar but above all a popularizer, who presents these proposals from his experience giving training courses to a non-specialized public.
In the year 2000, the Argentinean priest Hernan J. Pereda, a member of the Congregation of the Parish Cooperators of Christ the King (CPCR), elaborated a historiogram of the History of the Church. It presented in a graphic way a timeline with the main events in the history of Christianity. The result was so successful that large-format panels were printed for temporary exhibitions in cathedrals and museums. The Foundation for Evangelization and Communication was subsequently commissioned to publish a full-color booklet with 8 fold-out plates. Over the years, 15 editions of this work have been published, reaching 50,000 copies.
From Adam to the Apocalypse
Seeing the success of the product, in 2010 Father Pereda published another historiogram, this time focusing on salvation history. The format and design is also appealing and clearly illustrates the main biblical facts. Maps are also included in this publication to give more context to the events. The reception has also been very positive, with more than 15,000 copies sold. It was presented to Pope Francis in a private audience in 2016.
The bibliogram allows us to retrace the path of God's revelation to the people of Israel and reaches back to the early years of Christianity. Just as for centuries images have successfully illustrated a multitude of Christian works, the maps and diagrams in this work constitute a very useful synthesis for understanding the space and time in which the history of salvation unfolds.
The secularization of our culture has made many people, including Christians, unfamiliar with many of the biblical stories. And of course few believers are able to have a chronological thread of the main events and books of the Old Testament. In this regard, Father Pereda's contribution is especially timely. On a cultural level, knowledge of the biblical stories allows a minimal understanding of many works of art, especially pictorial and literary works, as well as being a remarkable enrichment for understanding human nature.
A map to guide you
Every person minimally educated in the Christian faith knows that the Bible begins with the creation and the story of Adam and Eve, and that Jesus Christ and the apostles are at the end, at the end of the Bible. New Testament. Now, very few would know how to order chronologically Moses, Tobit, Jacob, Abraham, Melchizedek and Amos. Moreover, trying to do so may seem an impossible undertaking unless one spends a great deal of time relating to the sacred scriptures. The initiative we now present greatly facilitates this task.
The bibliogram includes several levels to help the reader. First, there is a chronological axis, centered on the order of the books of the Bible and the main events of the Old and New Testaments. It also has geographical maps to follow the itinerary of the people of Israel, the prophets or the evangelization of the first Christian decades. There is also a timeline to place the biblical facts in the context of the main historical events of the time. Finally, it includes thematic tables with the main ideas of each of the 73 books of the Bible. In this way, Father Pereda's work opens the doors to understanding that the Bible is not only a book of the Bible, but also a book of the Bible. "the plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words intimately intertwined with each other". (cfr. Vatican Council II, Dei verbum, 2).
It is often said that it is important to make sure that the trees do not block one's view of the forest. The same is true when one wants to assimilate all the books of the Bible. Father Pereda's proposal divides the history of salvation into different stages (creation, patriarchs, exodus, judges, monarchy, exile, Jesus Christ and the Church), so that starting from the most general, one can arrive at the most concrete.
Visualize the story
The second product we bring up in this article consists of a great timeline of the entire history of Christianity, including also events of the 21st century. Its main value is to visualize the main events of the faith (councils, saints, popes, thinkers and heresies) framed with the most relevant historical events of each era (wars, rulers, artists, writers, thinkers, etc.). In this way, the reader acquires a perspective that allows him to relate facts and ideas that are otherwise very difficult to assimilate.
The work is intended not only to facilitate catechesis, but is in itself a catechesis. In the words of Father Pereda, this work constitutes "A good opportunity to look at the stars and through them to contemplate the navigation map in order not to make mistakes in the course of history. Here is an approach to this cartography so that it can be of use to crew members, navigators, passengers and visitors to the ship in port in order to better situate the direction of the itinerary. It is also an invitation to come aboard for those interested in following the voyage, especially if they discover the value of the point of arrival"..
Understanding the family
The Church is a great family, the People of God walking in history. And, as it happens in families, knowing the past allows us to take charge and understand many things. As one goes through the fold-out pages with the timeline, one assimilates many events and discovers others of which one was unaware. Seeing the rights and wrongs of 2000 years of Christian history helps to gain perspective and understand that Peter's ship and his sailors have written great pages of history, but also some not so positive ones. However, the negative counterpoints help to ensure that history is shown as a true teacher from which to learn.
On January 12, 2000, Pope John Paul II celebrated a Day of Pardon, one of the events to commemorate such a significant Jubilee.
This celebration was accompanied by the publication of the document Memory and reconciliation: the Church facing the faults of the past. The reflections published there by the International Theological Commission have opened a new stage in how the Church interprets its history and understands itself.
Another of the most striking aspects is the detailed number of facts that stand out from the twentieth century, but this is done with intention because, as the author of the work points out, it does so by "thinking of young people, who feel little initial attraction to history, that we present the century that is ending as an introduction to the fascinating adventure of mankind".
The bibliogram also has two versions in simplified format for children, especially interesting for catechesis or school religion classes. They can be purchased through the website for €5 per copy, while the complete historiograms cost around €18 (although there are discounts of 15% for orders of more than five copies). They can be easily purchased on the website of the Foundation for Evangelization and Communication (www.fecom.org).
In short, we find ourselves before an evangelizing work of the utmost interest and interest for all audiences.