International Federation of Catholic Universities creates online platform for collaborative projects
UNESCO explores mobile technology opportunities for refugee education in online report
Brussels, April 8, 2020 (Manila Buletin). The Lenten Season is probably the most important season in the Catholic faith. While Christmas may be the most celebrated, Lent is the more solemnly observed as it leads up to the most significant holy day for Christians, Easter — the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. This 40-day observance starts with Ash Wednesday, or the day when Catholics are marked with ash to be reminded that man “comes from dust and dust he shall return.”
The ensuing five weeks is observed with prayer, fasting, and abstinence. And all Catholics are encouraged to repent and go to confession at this time. As an institution that has existed for hundreds of years, it comes as no surprise that the Catholic Church is adapting to the times and has taken advantage of technology and the convenience of the cellphone to reach the faithful. Here are ten apps devout Catholics may find useful, especially in this season of prayer and contemplation.
Laudate is a free Catholic app that offers just about everything a Catholic needs. It is basically a prayer app with significant add-ons. It offers the more formal prayers, like Daily Bible readings, Liturgy of the Hours, The Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and even some Latin Prayers (with English translations). It also has the Douay-Rheims Bible for offline use, cathechism, and a convenient confession feature. It even has a section on Vatican documents, featuring the Second Vatican Council, the Code of Canon Law, and papal encyclicals. Laudate claims to be “The most popular and most comprehensive free Catholic App” which is available in 17 languages, including Filipino. For the serious Catholic, this is the go-to app.
One might call Formed on Demand the Catholic Netflix. This is an app for various streaming content all focused on the faith. Participating producers are veritable institutions in Catholic media, like the Augustine Institute, Catholic Answers, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), FOCUS, Ignatius Press, Knights of Columbus, Marian Press, Sophia Press, St. Paul Center, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and many more. Formed On Demand features movies, children’s programming, audio dramas and books, as well as Bible studies, sacramental prep materials, documentaries, books and audio talks from leading Catholic experts. Formed On Demand is available on Google Play, the Apple App Store for a free one-week trial, and a subscription of $9.99 per month. It can be accessed via mobile, tablet, or connected TV device with Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast among others.
This is a daily prayer podcast based on Ignatian Spirituality. The main feature are daily 10-13-minute prayers have been written by Jesuits complemented with music. Catholics on the go will find this helpful when seeking “peace” during the daily commute. The app does not stop there. Aside from the daily prayers, Pray As You Go also offers prayer tools for loneliness, insomnia, grief, depression, anxiety, ageing and addiction. The prayer tools also include a guide to praying the Rosary divided into the mysteries, and the Stations of the Cross. All the prayers come with either choir or contemplation music and quick reflection points. The app is available for free on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Some Catholics prefer to refer to the Bible. What if the Bible is a full audio production, featuring more than 70 professional voice actors including Stacy Keach, Kristen Bell, Sean Astin, Brian Cox, Malcolm McDowell, Julia Ormond, John Rhys-Davies, Blair Underwood, and Michael York? Truth & Life offers this plus a study bible, news from the Catholic community, and content from EWTN. Truth & Life is an app available in iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook*, and PC that features the full New Testament of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE), supplemented by the Ignatius Catholic Bible Study. It is endorsed by the Vatican with an Imprimatur, and a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. It also has feeds from the Catholic News Agency and EWTN on Demand. For a preview, the Gospel according to Mark is available for free along with the corresponding Study Bible. The whole pack can be purchased for $29.99, while packages of selected features can be accessed for $19.99.
Many Catholics refer to the lectionary and the daily readings for a guide on which text to use in prayers for the day. For a convenient reference, the Magnificat app is the digital version of the missalette. It comes from the same publishers of those used in masses. Aside from the official texts for masses, this app also features prayers for morning, evening, and night inspired by the Liturgy of the Hours, meditations from the writings of Church Fathers and spiritual masters, and the profile of the saint of the day (based on feast days). The app is free for those who subscribe to the printed format. For exclusive app-based users, it is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store for $1.99 per month.
For most people encountering challenges, one common response is to ask God why it is happening. In response, church leaders often recommend consulting the Bible for answers. This app is a digital resource to help the wondering Catholic find those answers more easily. Browse through the topics list and find out what the Bible says about any query. It has Bible quotes for more than 6,000 of the most asked questions. It also features articles explaining Bible verses which can be downloaded and bookmarked for future reference. If a question is not that common, there is an ask-a-question feature that lets the app sort through its database for possible answers. Got Questions? is available for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Children cannot be left behind in this solemn season. Storybook Bible for Kids is an app that will both entertain them while letting them learn more about the Catholic faith. So far, this app features 35 stories with colorful illustrations talking about trust through the story of Abraham, bravery with Esther’s, faithfulness with Paul’s, and, of course, compassion with Jesus’. At the end of each story, there are questions that families can bond over with discussions. Storybook Bible For Kids is available for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play.
iDisciple is a ons-stop-app for the Catholic family. It features multimedia content from over 300 authors, speakers, and Christian organizations, including Daily Devotionals, sermons, articles, videos, music and more. The content is focused on just about every facet of the life of the faithful, including Adoption & Foster Care, the Bible, Career, Children/Teens, Emerging Generation, Evangelism, Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Men, Money, Parenting, Personal Productivity, Prayer, Purpose, Relationships, Spiritual Growth, Women., and more. The app itself is free on the Apple App Store and Google Play with three audiobooks. The fourth book onwards can be purchased in-app from$4.99-$9.99.
A significant part of Lent is the act of contrition. That’s the entire exercise of examination of conscience, the confession, and the penance. This app is the digital guide to how to undergo this process more meaningfully for adults and children alike. It is based on the booklet, “Short Guide for Confession” by Fr. James Socías which has become a popular reference for this sacrament. It features a helpful tip on the ideal confession, and a copy of the significant prayers for penance like the Act of Contrition, among others. For the conscientious Catholic, this app goes the extra mile and helps track when the last confession was done. ConfesGuide is available for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play.
While going through the heavy traffic of the daily commute, podcasts provide the ideal distraction. This is why Relevant Radio is the perfect app for the commuting Catholic. It has live streams of radio programs and podcasts for the faithful, including the Conversations with God show. It also offers audio prayers, a confession helper, daily readings, news for the Catholic community, and many more. Relevant Radio is available for free on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon.com. This list is far from being comprehensive, but it has some of the most useful apps available for the faithful. There are many more apps that can be used, especially during this season of prayer and repentance, and many are free. With these apps, these days it is easy to keep the faith– it is as simple as being on a mobile phone.