Most of us are busy with work, family, and other responsibilities. Without drastically changing our habits, how can we grow an active prayer life between our morning coffee and bedtime?
The answer is as close as your smartphone. There’s an app for that! In fact, there are lots of apps designed for Catholics on the go.
CatholicApps.com lists apps in such diverse categories as devotions, prayer, the rosary, the sacraments and the Bible. The site belongs to Tom Lelyo, who describes himself as a faithful Catholic who loves technology.
Lelyo reviews Catholic apps and gives them up to five stars for price, performance, design, usability, and Catholicity. One recent review of an app called Catholic Bible received five stars in all categories. “This Catholic Bible app features a free online Douay Rheims Bible,” Lelyo writes. “Smart Search–I really loved this feature. Navigating your way through the Bible can be quite daunting, especially for newcomers to scripture. This app lets you search the entire Bible and pulls in topics related to your search, as well as direct scripture quotes that are relevant to your search criteria.”
His top apps for 2017 include The Catholic Novena app, Laudate, Mary Our Mother and CNA, Catholic News Apps. Lelyo says The Pope Emoji–which is exactly what it sounds like–“is a fun and creative way to add life to your texts.”
“If you are a Catholic and you have friends that are Catholic as well, you will appreciate this little fun app that is both Android and iOS compatible,” he adds.
One app that may surprise users is Confession–A Roman Catholic App, an interactive app that takes users through a full confession. Lelyo notes that the text of this app was developed in collaboration with Rev. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Rev. Daniel Scheidt, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka, IN. The app received an imprimatur from Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes of the Diocese of Fort Wayne in South Bend. It is the first known imprimatur to be given for an iPhone/iPad app.
Confession: A Roman Catholic App, offers an interactive experience including a personalized examination of conscience for each user, password-protected profiles, and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament. “This app invites Catholics to prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance,” the introduction says. “Individuals who have been away from the sacrament for some time will find Confession: A Roman Catholic App to be a useful and inviting tool.” Seven types of penance are available.
FocusonCampus.org, designed for college students, emphasizes its availability and convenience. “In the car? Out for a run? Make the most of your time by getting teaching, training, and encouragement,” it notes. “You’ll find audio and video of past FOCUS conferences and events from some of the best speakers in the Church today.”
One FocusonCampus.org blogger challenged users to a 30-Day Prayer Dare. Kevin Cotter’s challenge uses the Gospel of Luke to develop 30 days of meditations on the life of Jesus.
“There is no one correct way to pray,” Cotter writes. “But, when developing a habit of prayer, it is helpful to have a method to fall back on.” The stories of the Gospels can provide a great springboard for prayer, he notes, as users are guided through the narrative of the Gospel tracing the life of Jesus from his birth to his death and resurrection.
Whether you are a millennial, Gen-Xer or baby boomer, Catholic apps offer new opportunities for prayer-on-the-run–or just an old-fashioned read through the Bible.