Popular Catholic Apps available for download

There's an app for almost everything — including Catholicism. 

Since the iPhone App Store was established in 2008, more than 2 million apps have been designed, including more than 100 Catholic apps that range from digitized prayers, games, videos and books. Because it can be overwhelming to sort through which apps are fruitful, some priests of the Arlington Diocese are sharing what’s worth downloading.

"Does (this app) help me love Jesus more?" Fr. Christopher P. Christensen, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington

The app that Father James C. Hudgins, pastor of St. Jude Church in Fredericksburg, uses the most is iBreviary. “I know lots of priests (who) use that,” he said. 

The breviary, also known as the liturgy of the hours, is a thick prayer book bound with multicolored ribbons for quickly finding hymns, liturgical prayers and feast days. The iBreviary app condenses all that on your phone.

“It arranges all the prayers for you — no learning curve required,” said Father Hudgins.

Father Bjorn C. Lundberg, chaplain of Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, can rattle off a list of a dozen apps without pause. He said he reads reviews to search through the “ba-jillion” different apps. Those he uses regularly are iBreviary, Discerning Hearts, Ordo 2017, Truth & Life, as well as many devotional and novena apps. 

“All these apps are great because they can potentially facilitate evangelization,” he said.

Even though Father Lundberg’s phone is loaded with apps, he’s concerned about apps that do not assist with living out a vocation. If used regularly, any app can become a habit. 

“If we want to pursue habits we ought to pursue excellent habits,” he said. 

Father Thomas P. Ferguson, vicar general and moderator of the curia, and pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria, said he uses iBreviary, as well as the Good Shepherd Mobile App.

Released in 2015, the Good Shepherd Mobile App is provided by Parish Solutions Company, whichdesigns custom mobile apps for Catholic parishes. The app features 21 resources, including Sunday readings, GPS directions, Mass times, prayers, Bible, weekly bulletins and weekly homilies.

CONNOR BERGERON  |  CATHOLIC HERALD“Our goal in communication is to meet people where they are,” said Lorraine Monaco, a communications staff member at Good Shepherd. “Having an app seemed like an important way to reach people.”

The Good Shepherd app has nearly 1,000 users evenly divided between Apple and Android. Other parishes have followed suit by using app companies to establish their own app such as Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington and Sacred Heart Church in Manassas.

“Technology is not going away in society, and it’s important for us to keep a healthy balance,” said Father Christopher P. Christensen, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington. 

He likes to keep it simple with using iBreviary and iPieta, a collection of Catholic writings and prayers, and prefers to use a real breviary over a digital one. Before downloading an app, Father Christensen suggests people ask themselves, “Does (this app) help me love Jesus more?”

Facebook and Twitter are two social media platforms available as apps, and though they are not Catholic, Fathers Hudgins and Ferguson use them as if they were. 

“The thing I like about Twitter is I can control what’s positive,” said Father Ferguson. “I avoid different sources that won’t be edifying and seek out things that I will like.”

Father Ferguson reads Catholic material by following people on Twitter such as Our Sunday Visitor, the Knights of Columbus and the Arlington Diocese.

Father Hudgins “evangelizes” himself through Facebook. His newsfeed is filled with “spiritual reading” from subscribing to different pages, groups and people. Facebook doesn’t have to be something plagued with politics or debates, he said, it can be used to find “wonderful resources.” 

Other useful Catholic apps:

Laudate, a quintessential Catholic toolbox, includes order of the Mass, saint of the day reflections, a collection of prayers, a guide for examining conscience, the breviary, the Bible, the catechism, Vatican documents and media sources. Laudate was released in 2012, and is available on iPhones and Androids for free in 19 languages.

Reimagining the Examen, or simply examen, is an app by Loyola Press based on the book Reimagining the Ignatian Examen. Similar to the book, the app provides short and daily reflections based from St. Ignatius’ writings. Examen was released last year and is free on both iPhones and Androids.

Mass Times is one of several apps that provide Mass schedules in proximity to your zip code. The Mass Times app is an extension of the popular website, masstimes.org. It is also free and available on iPhones and Androids.

Friars is a virtual prayer group that connects prayer intentions across the country to Franciscan priests. A candle is lit in a Franciscan church for each intention. Friars was released in 2015 for both iPhones and Androids.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

@cbergeronACH