Wanted: handler for heritage bible

The Roman Catholic Diocese in Hamilton needs to hire three people to look after the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible, a handwritten and illustrated bible presented for the first time in 500 years.

Knowledge of art, scripture and communication skills important says Hamilton Monsignor

The Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible consists of 1150 pages and 160 illuminations. (Saint John's University)

The Hamilton Diocese has put out a help wanted ad for someone to handle a valuable rare handwritten and illustrated reproduction of the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible, which is one of only 299 modern handwritten reproductions of the 500-year-old original.

Monsignor Murray Kroestch, the vicar and chancellor of the diocese, said the successful candidate should have good communication skills and be prepared to travel with the Bible to different communities, parishes and schools to share its contents.

When asked who he was looking for, Kroestch told Craig Norris, host of CBC K-W's The Morning Edition, on Thuresday that he was looking for "people who obviously have a love for the sacred scriptures, people who have some knowledge, not a PhD... of sacred scripture, [and] some knowledge of art."

The diocese, which oversees 124 parishes including those in Waterloo region and Wellington county, will be hiring three people for the job.

But why publish and promote a handwritten Bible when the text is easily accessible online? Monsignor Kroetsch explained it's a different when you encounter this specific Bible in person.

"When I was a student in St. Jerome's in Kitchener we studied the books of Shakespeare, from a Bantam book," said Monsignor Kroetsch. " You could develop a certain appreciation for the art and wisdom of Shakespeare. But it's a different experience when you go to Stratford, down the road and experience the play on stage."

Monsignor Kroetsch said this version of the Bible packs imagery, symbolism, colour and movement into the illustrations. He notes the illustrations presented themes of the scripture for people who who could not read.

Two volumes of the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible are also on display on St. Jerome's University Campus in Waterloo.