‘App’-ropriate Technology for Evangelization

St Andre Bessette MapleIn recent weeks, two tech giants announced the release of new phones (iPhone 6 and Blackberry Passport). The hype was significant, as industry insiders speculated about these devices for months. The day before the release of Apple’s iPhone 6, people lined up, prepared to camp on mall floors or sidewalks and be among the first to purchase the new device. It took only two days before the honeymoon was over and problems were discovered with this exalted device. It allegedly bends easily, the software is defective and it can’t be charged in the microwave.

The first man to purchase the iPhone 6 in Australia dropped it while being interviewed live on the news. The world let out a collective gasp of horror as we watched $800 worth of metal and glass hit the concrete. The whole situation was a great reminder that the things of this world are temporary –sometimes very temporary, as the Australia iFan learned. “Do not love the world or the things of the world […] the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17

We shouldn’t let our happiness ride on things. Nonetheless, in 2014, smartphones, tablets and laptops can act as a means to achieving a greater goal; as a tool in the mission of evangelization. When it comes to technology, it’s not a question of “yes” or “no” but more a question of “how.” How can we use technology in our lives as Christians? How can it be used to glorify God or assist in ministry? How can it bring us closer to Him? In the world of smartphones, a number of apps have been developed to help Catholics in their walk of faith. Here are few you may want to check out:
1. The New Mass App (iPhone and Android) – Developed by Cale Clarke, a Lay Pastoral Associate at St. Justin Martyr Parish in Unionville.
2. iBreviary (iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Blackberry 5, Webapp) – This is an electronic version of the breviary, which is used to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Perhaps its greatest feature is it puts the daily prayers on one page, eliminating the flipping and confusion that often ensues for newcomers trying to navigate the traditional breviary.
3. ThePopeApp(iOS,Android)–Get all the latest from the Vatican, including news, photos and videos. Includes full-text version of papal speeches and live-streaming of some events.
4. Mea Culpa (iOS) – This app is an aid to help Catholics prepare for the sacrament of Confession with a very thorough examination of conscience.
5. Laudate (iOS, Android) –This handy tool includes everything from daily Mass readings, the full New American Bible and the Catechism. It also includes Vatican documents, guides to praying the rosary and the Stations of the Cross and the whole gamut of all your favourite Catholic prayers (including Latin prayers). If you only have space for one Catholic app on your phone, this is probably the one to get.

For a more complete listing of useful Catholic apps, check out http://catholicapps.com/.

In a discussion of faith and technology, it seems appropriate to end with the wisdom of Pope Francis, as presented in his message for the 48th World Communications Day:
“Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better and ultimately, to grow in unity […] The revolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God.”

Marlena Loughheed, communications coordinator of the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Office of Public Relations and Communications.

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