Pope Benedict XVI & The New Evangelization
If you have been watching the news recently, you may have heard or seen a story about Pope Benedict XVI sending out a tweet on his iPad. The secular press made a big deal out of this, but if you have been following his papacy, you know that Pope Benedict has been very supportive of using new media as part of the new evangelization. The Holy Father has already published a Vatican YouTube channel and an iPhone app. On the eve of the beatification of John Paul the Great, the Vatican even invited 150 Catholic bloggers to Rome for a special conference.
Tuesday Tech Talks
In that light, today I will begin a series of Tuesday Tech Talks dealing with the world of technology and its implications or application in our Catholic faith. Today I will review a Catholic smart phone application that works on the Android, Blackberry and iPhone/iPod/iPad. It’s called the iBreviary and has been sanctioned by the Vatican. Several priests and even bishops use the application. Our own Bishop Kevin Vann of the Fort Worth diocese uses it when he travels.
There’s an App for That!
The iBreviary application was developed by an Italian priest, Father Paolo Padrini, who according to USAToday is a consultant to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The application essentially has three components: Liturgy of the Hours, the Daily Missal and the Catholic Prayers/Rituals. The application is available in five languages (English, Latin, Italian, French and Spanish) which you can change on the application settings.
The Liturgy of the Hours
The Liturgy of the Hours is also known as the Divine Office or Breviary and is the “official prayer of the Church” (EWTN). It appears on the app menu as Breviary and contains a collection of prayers, psalms and readings used for allotted times of the day. As official representatives of the Church, clergy and religious are required to pray the Divine Office throughout each day. Laity, though not required, are encouraged to pray the “prayer of the Church.” In fact many parishioners who attend daily mass will join their parish priests in praying the morning prayers. I know of at least one parishioner in our parish who uses iBreviary to join our pastor in morning prayer. You can join in the prayers anywhere you pray.
The Daily Missal
This portion of the application is listed on the menu as Missal and contains The Order of the Mass, Readings and Prayers, Preface and Eucharistic Prayer(s). This acts like the St. Joseph Missal or MTF missal to which you may be accustomed. Instead of using ribbons to mark your places, you simply update the app daily and use the button tabs on the application to advance to the next part of the mass. I personally use this for mass all the time. At first, I was concerned people were going to think I was texting during mass, but I got over that. I’ve had a few people ask me about using my phone in mass, but they were all curious if I had the readings on it; this gave me an opportunity to share the app with them.
This portion of the application contains a number of traditional Catholic prayers. Additionally, it contains supplemental prayers for the Breviary to cover special occasion like the Office for the Dead.
I recommend downloading the iBreviary app. First of all, it’s a great value – it’s free! Secondly, it’s an especially useful tool if you are traveling. I like that you can change the font sizes on the screen to make it easier to read. It does have a few areas where it can improve. Using your network connection, you have to sync the app daily by tapping the Today tab. This can sometimes take a while. I have gotten into the habit of syncing it while I am getting ready for mass. I’ve also had a few occasions when the mass readings did not match up with those read at mass. Again, overall it’s worth having on your smart phone.