I’m an app-a-holic. Specifically, I’m a Catholic app-a-holic. When I hear there’s a new Catholic app on the market, I’m nearly helpless not to go right over to iTunes and download it.
So I was especially heartbroken when, a few months ago, my iPad had a fatal encounter with my son. I’ve been discovering just how bad Catholic app withdrawal can be. (And the discussion about distance from material possessions? Don’t get me started.)
If you’re one of the many with an app-loving device in your pocket or purse, here are a few of my favorite apps, especially the ones I miss most now that I’m without that device.
Until New Advent comes out with an app, I’ll take Catholic News Live (catholicnewslive.com). It has feeds from all the major Catholic news sites (including New Advent), and it’s easy to use. It’s available for both Android and iOS and at 99 cents, it’s a great bargain.
There’s also Missio, which was launched globally by Pope Francis earlier this year. It gets its news and information from Fides News Agency, the international news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and from the Vatican. It also includes streaming video from Catholic News Service and the Vatican. And hey, it’s free!
Confession, by Little i Apps (littleiapps.com/confession), isn’t a new app, but it’s been recently updated, and it’s one of my go-tos. I like how I can personalize my examination of conscience and track the times I’ve committed a sin (which isn’t as depressing as it sounds at first). Getting the push reminder is almost as effective as actually scheduling my confession a month ahead of time. I consider every penny I paid for this app well worth it. It’s on both iOS and Android for $1.99.
My favorite app for charting and keep track of my fertility.
I’ve been on board with MyFertilityMD (myfertilitycycle.com) since its early days, and I only love it more as I use it longer. After my iPad was accosted by a certain 2-year-old, I found myself having to rely on the Web interface. It’s exactly the same as the iOS interface and has kept me on track with my charting.
The app is easy to use, has videos about each aspect and feature, and the developers will respond to your questions and inquiries. Also available are community forums, a picture library (where I find myself saying, “oh, that’s what that looks like!”), and the ability to share your charts with your spouse or your medical professionals.
It works with whatever method of Natural Family Planning you use — whether Creighton, Billings, sympto-thermal or anything else.
RosaryPlus & iRosary
As a Rosary junkie, sometimes a Rosary app helps change things up for me as I struggle to pray my daily five decades. Since I can’t pick just one favorite, I have two tied for my “Rosary apps I can’t live without” category. Unfortunately, they are both iOS only.
RosaryPlus, from St. Clement ePress (stclementepress.org, $1.99), is by far the most beautifully designed Rosary app I’ve found. It encapsulates the journey through the Rosary in a way that’s easy to use and somehow humbling. You’ll find Scripture integrated within it too.
The Rosary app that I’ve been using the longest remains my go-to: iRosary (opicury.com, $2.99). I keep coming back to it for its simplicity and ease of use. It’s the next best thing to holding an actual rosary.
I go through spurts with my attempts to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, but by far the best resource I’ve found to keep me from failing is the Divine Office app (divineoffice.org).
It’s pricey at $19.99, but it is beautifully done. Each day includes both the text and professionally produced audio for Morning and Evening Prayer, the Office of Readings and a few of the daytime hours (Midmorning, Midday, and Midafternoon). Talk about punctuating your day with prayer!
Another Liturgy of the Hours app that’s worth mentioning is iBreviary (ibreviary.com). It’s free, but I’ll be honest: It’s always felt more like “inside baseball” to me when I’ve tried to use it. Give it a try, though, because praying the Liturgy of the Hours is better than not praying it!
With a faith as rich as the Catholic one, there’s always so much to learn. As a friend of mine says, we started 2,000 years behind the game and need to get to work. Enter iPieta (ipieta.com), one of the first apps I downloaded. With this one app, you get the complete text of two different translations of the Bible, liturgical calendars, and enough prayers to set you up for at least the next 10 years. And then there are the documents: papal encyclicals, the Summa Theologica, the Baltimore Catechism, writings of various saints and more. It’s a bit clutzy to use, but at $2.99, it’s a bargain for what you get.
One of the apps I used a lot (and whose absence has made me have to lift a missalette from our parish) is iMissal (imissal.com, $4.99). My favorite feature of this app was the daily Mass readings. I know, I know, you can find them easily enough online. But for someone who’s prone to distraction (and appreciative of beautiful design), this app was simply perfect.
The mobile package includes everything you’d find in a paper missal, including the full liturgical calendar, the readings and the order of Mass. You also get audio and videos, too. There are prayers, too, as well as a nifty “Our Daily Bread” feature that gives you a Bible verse each day. As a bonus, there’s an option to have saints of the day highlighted (in-app purchase).
Sarah Reinhard writes from Ohio. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com.