Local Ministries

Apps bring the church to a high- tech society

by Kara Hansen

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Technology-savvy Catholics in the archdiocese are keeping in touch with Christ in cutting-edge ways.

Barbara Berg uses several apps on her iPhone that have given her a portable Catholic reference of sorts. Berg, the director of religious education at St. Dominic in Holton and St. Francis Xavier in Mayetta, uses the iMissal app to follow the Scripture readings at daily Mass.

“I often have a hard time hearing the lector and with this app I have the daily readings in my hand,” said Berg. “Our parish missalette gives the reading citations and the psalm for each day, but not the text of the readings.”

Berg also uses the iBreviaryPro app, which includes the Liturgy of the Hours, a set of prayers largely based on the psalms that Catholics can pray throughout the day. Berg said she finds it helpful because it can make prayer more portable.

“If I am somewhere without what I regularly use to pray the [Divine] Office I can use this app,” said Berg.

Pat Padley, a parishioner at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, said he finds Catholic apps helpful by creating an opportunity to access Catholic spiritual resources in a modern, current method.

“I think that people believe that the church doesn’t have a relevant message anymore in this new high-tech society,” said Padley. “However, in reality, the message is even more important and more relevant. The thing is that the church’s message doesn’t need to change . . . but the way we access it and present it to people does.”

Padley, who works in the social media field and produces his own podcast, said he thinks using technology — like smartphone apps — can only serve to help Catholics in our culture keep connected to their faith.

“It’s presenting the beauty of the church in a new way, using new communications tools,” he said. “That’s why people shouldn’t be scared of it; the church has done this for years. It started with word-of- mouth, then went to books, then to radio/ Tv, now it’s new media.”

Padley said he uses iPieta, Magnificat, the Catholic Directory and CatholicTv apps currently, but iPieta is his favorite.

“It is the best Catholic app, period,” he said. “Imagine having every Catholic document you ever wanted in one place. This is that to a T. You have the catechism, almost any prayer/devotion you want, the calendar of all the readings . . . and the whole Bible, all in one app. It’s quite useful.”

While having access to so many faith- building resources at his fingertips is an advantage, Padley said the method will still take some getting used to for fellow Catholics, particularly those unfamiliar with the world of Catholic smartphone apps.

“I’m sure it looks a little odd when people see me or my good friend Paul Camarata use the [Magnificat app] during Mass,” said Padley. “People are probably like, ‘Why are these guys texting during Mass?’ Instead we’re diving deep into Scriptures and following along.”

The sky is the limit for future use of Catholic smartphone apps, but Padley sees it as only helping the ministry and mission of the Catholic Church.

“Someday, you may find that a traveling priest pulls out his iPad and celebrates Mass with it,” he said. “And to me, that would be perfectly fine.”


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Kara Hansen

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