The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Faith? There’s an app for that

posted by jmcgee

adams-finger.jpg
And what started as a fad is becoming a trend, according to Reuters:

Father Tom Eichenberger began a recent sermon by playing an iPhone ring tone of church bells into the microphone and talking about how praying is like using the popular mobile device.

“The same rules apply,” he told the Sunday mass congregation at St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church in this small town north of Milwaukee.

“You don’t just use your iPhone for phone calls, you have to use the apps,” he said, referring to small programs that make the popular smart phones perform specific tasks.

“And you don’t just use prayer to beg for things and treat God like Santa Claus,” said Eichenberger, 60, reminding parishioners that prayers are also for giving praise or listening to the Spirit.

With smart phones boasting apps to do everything from finding convenient restaurants to identifying stars in the night sky, developers were bound to make programs that bring age-old religious practices into the digital world.

Many contain full texts of scriptures like the Bible or Torah. Muslims can calculate the times for their five daily prayers and Hindus can present virtual incense and coconut offerings to the elephant-headed god Ganesh.

Not all religious leaders are as enthusiastic as Eichenberger. But many recognize that youth often use new media like smart phones or Facebook to define themselves, interact socially and seek answers for their deepest questions.

“Technology is one way we project outward our sense of the self,” said Rachel Wagner, assistant professor of religion at Ithaca College in New York. “Religion is an important part of the search for the self. Which apps people run says something about who they are.”

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Eugene Pagano

posted August 3, 2010 at 11:07 pm


Of the making of Bible apps there is no end. I recommend BibleReader’s apps, one of which is for the New American Bible that is read in Roman Catholic liturgy.
I have several other religion apps on my iPhone: the Roman Catholic 3 Minute Retreat, the Episcopal iBCP [Book of Common Prayer] and the Protestant/Episcopal Lectionary. All are recommended.



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cathyf

posted August 4, 2010 at 12:17 am


They didn’t mention the LOTH apps, which for about $30 allow you to prayer the ancient prayers of the Church, something up to now inaccessible to anyone not hard-core enough to plop down a couple of hundred bucks for the books, or lucky enough to live next door to a monastery where they can use somebody else’s books.
At the other end of the size scale is an app for managing your prayer intentions, so that when people ask you to pray for them you don’t lose track. (Although I use a dashboard stickie for that — no need to pay extra!)



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Eugene Pagano

posted August 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm


Universalis is a good app for the Liturgy of the Hours, and it works offline. I used it before leaving for the Episcopal Church,



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Deacon Lou Malfara, Philadelphia, PA

posted August 5, 2010 at 10:45 am


At the noon Sunday mass a few weeks ago the entire church (and neighborhood) suffered a blackout during the homily. No lights, no air conditionion. Our emergency flashlight battery was dead and candles added to the altar were of little help. I remenmbered that my HTC Evo from Sprint has a “flashlight app.” I retreived my phone from the sacristy and we were able to complete mass with the EVO propped up next to the sacramentary. This was one other compelling reason to justify my new EVO…less a phone, but more of everything else. Thanks, Deacon Lou Malfara



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