As the speed of life ramps itself up to an alarming pace, there has been a growing trend to turn even more often to technology to keep one’s self afloat – never mind being ahead of the game. Over the past couple of years, whenever one has felt the pressure of keeping up with the times, when there has been a sense of floundering in the current of the world, the answer to the problem has been a pat: There’s an app for that. A quick perusal of iTunes or the Google Play Store confirms this to be true – there is an app for everything, including our Catholic faith.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to the techno world. For the longest time I resisted the siren song of assimilation. My wife and I shared a flip-phone until only a couple of years ago, and the smart phone I have now is probably woefully out of date… but it works. Frankly, I’m sure I use my phone and laptop to about 1% of their capacity – my laptop really isn’t much more than a glorified typewriter (if you can remember what that is).
This all said, I have found that my smart phone has helped me to deepen my faith, simply because There’s an app for that. Actually, there are many Catholic apps out there, and I’ll honestly admit that I haven’t researched them all, but I have found 3 Catholic apps that I use almost daily.
Billed in the Google Play Store as the #1 Free Catholic App, Laudate lives up to the hype. Comprehensive, yet concise, this app has it all, but is streamlined for quick and easy use. I use the Laudate app daily for my morning offering, the saints of the day, as well as for the daily readings. I have also used the app sporadically to find prayers that are outside of my daily routine, to search out particular Bible verses, the Catechism or Vatican documents, as well as for its Examination of Conscience. The app also has other features such as the Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary/Chaplet, daily reflections, Stations of the Cross, Latin Prayers, EWTN, two Bible versions (NARE, Douay-Rheims) and access to a variety of Catholic media. Like I said, it has it all. Best of all, there is a Bookmark function that allows you to keep favourite aspects of the app at the top of the home page, saving you from having to hunt them out with 3 or 4 clicks. There is also an iPad version of the app, which my students have found to be very helpful in the classroom.
Honor your Inner Monk
This app is produced the Brothers at Saint Meinrad Archabbey to help the laity develop their daily prayer life, to discover their Inner Monk. I (try to) turn to this app twice a day for the morning and afternoon prayer. The prayers are short and to the point (never taking more than a minute), and with reflection are often very appropriate for whatever is going on in my life that day. One of the key elements of this app is your prayer tracker; like the tracker on your treadmill, you can watch your red line grow as you complete your prayers each day, ending with either cheers or jeers at the end of the month. In all honesty, each month my morning bar is usually a bit longer than my afternoon bar. The Inner Monk app has some other cool features including other short Catholic prayers, which you can use to accumulate bonus accolades, as well as a series of Gregorian Chants by the monks at the archabbey.
The Pope App
Admittedly, I don’t use The Pope App very often (but a good friend of my swears by it). This app is put out by news.va and is for Francis junkies. The Pope App provides video, audio and text of just about everything the Pope does. This app goes beyond news releases and brings the user the words of Francis from his public audiences, homilies and exhortations. It is even possible to live stream Papal events or pick up his Twitter feed (@pontifex).
I have a few other Catholic apps on my phone, which I really haven’t discovered yet. Perhaps the summer holidays will give me the chance to find a new favourite, or at least an app to come back to from time to time. These include Lighthouse Catholic Media, Shalom World, and DivineOffice. I would also be very curious if you have any other suggestions of Catholic apps for my smart phone, so leave them in the combox below.