If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’ve got a smartphone in your pocket. There are hundreds of Catholic apps available. Today, I’ll highlight 5 great apps that will help you grow in, live out, and share your faith. And they’re all free.
iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry 5, Web App
iBreviary was one of the first Catholic smartphone apps available, and I think it’s still one of the most handy apps to have on your phone. As you might guess from its name, it provides you with an electronic breviary, the book used to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. And, on top of eliminating the need to carry your breviary around with you all the time, it also cues up the prayers for the day, eliminating the need to coordinate ribbons and flip back and forth in a book.
A few other apps offer a breviary function, but iBreviary is the only free one I know of that uses the same translations for the psalms and prayers as a paper breviary. Very handy when praying with other people.
On top of replacing your breviary, it also provides the Mass readings of the day, a short saint biography on feast days (click the picture of the saint on the opening screen), and TONS of prayers and blessings. You know all those books priests use for celebrating Mass, baptizing babies, and blessing motorcycles? There’s an app for that, and it’s called iBreviary.
Another reason I really like iBreviary is that it’s available for nearly every device out there, as it also has a web interface that can be accessed from anything with a browser (including my favorite, the browser on an e-ink Kindle).
It wouldn’t be a FOCUS blog app rundown without including a FOCUS app, now would it? The FOCUS Equip app didn’t make the list just because it’s from FOCUS. It’s on the list because it not only helps you grow in the faith with great talks and video clips, but it also helps you evangelize.
You can access most of FOCUS Equip’s videos and audio talks right on the app. You’ve got a treasure trove of formation resources right in the palm of your hand! Just check out the media and training sections. These are great to listen to during workouts and commutes.
Looking for a how-to guide or want to lead a Bible study? Check out Resources. You can lead a Bible study right from your phone or tablet! Each resource is easy to share with Twitter, Facebook, and email buttons. And the Blog section lets you keep the focus blog right in your pocket!
The Pope App
Most people know the Pope has a Twitter account, but did you know he has an app? As you might have guessed, The Pope App is all about the Pope. It’s powered by news.va, which is run by the Pontifical Council for Social Communication.
If you like the Pope, you’re gonna love this app. You can browse photo galleries of recent General Audiences and Papal events, watch video clips of the Pope’s addresses, read transcripts of his speeches, check out the Pope’s upcoming schedule of events, and even watch live streaming video.
The Pope App also has a Pope News section, links to other great resources (Pope’s Twitter account, various Vatican news sources, etc.), and Vatican webcams. Wish you could see who’s praying at JPII’s tomb or how many people are in St. Peter’s Square right now? Now you can!
Mea Culpa helps make you a good confession. In addition to a great examination, it has a Confession FAQ section and if you can’t find an answer to your Confession questions there, you can ask your question by email.
The bread and butter of this app is the examination, and it does it well. Pray the included prayer before Confession, then make your way along the bottom of the screen. Venial and Mortal tabs take you to examinations grouped by the 10 Commandments. Swiping right on the sin ups the tally for that sin, left reduces it. If you touch the sin, you’ll have a chance to enter in a note. Marked sins and notes appear in the Committed Sins section that will provide you with a guide to Confession and your sins. Once you are absolved in Confession you can hit the Clear button and reset your sin totals. The app can also keep track of the dates you clear sins so you’ll know exactly how long it’s been since your last Confession.
You can set a passcode for the app, and turn on a daily reminder to examine your conscience. Both helpful.
Mea Culpa is free and available only for iOS. Other Confession helper apps (Confession iOS Android, The Confession App iOS Android) are available for both iOS and Android, but aren’t free. If you’re on Android and would like to try out a electronic examination aid before buying either of the aforementioned apps, check out the examination of conscience in Laudate.
Truth & Life
Truth & Life contains the RSV-CE (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition) translation of the Bible, which is both a great translation and tricky to find electronically.
The app’s full name is Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible, and guess what: you can listen to the Bible, and the app lets you download the audio for the whole Gospel of Mark for free. Now, this isn’t just some guy reading the Bible, but it includes music, sound effects, and different actors for different people.
Truth & Life reveals a treasure trove of extras when you touch the menu icon (three lines) in the upper left corner. For most books you’ll find an introduction, outline, and study questions. The introduction and outline are really helpful, but the questions are awesome. They are marked by verse and contain understanding and application questions. Awesome. You can also read the introductions you’d find at the beginning of a paper copy of the RSV-CE, indexes of Church doctrines and links to the Bible verses they come from, Jesus’ miracles (with links to the verses), Jesus’ parables (with links), and over 35 maps. Purchasing the study Bible will unlock topical essays, 75+ word studies, and eleven charts.
While Truth & Life contains a LOT of great features for free, it also offers in-app purchases to add the audio for the whole New Testament ($19.99 as of writing) (Audio for the Old Testament is not available) and the notes, essays, charts, and commentary of the Ignatius study Bible ($19.99 as of writing). They’ll cut you a deal (25% off) if you buy both at the same time. The audio and commentary for the Gospel of Mark are included free so you can get a feel for what you’d be purchasing.
With these five apps, you can build, live, and share your faith from pretty much anywhere. So tell Angry Birds to move over, and download these apps to turn your phone into an awesome faith-building tool. Remember, they’re all FREE, so go click some links and get downloading!
Be sure to share your favorite Catholics apps in the comments!