iBreviary, one of the world’s leading apps providing the texts for the Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office), added a new language to its offerings this week: Arabic. That may seem to be a benign gesture. It isn’t. Consider that parts of the Islamic world have banned the printed versions of this form of prayer. The developer of iBreviary, Father Paolo Padrini, says he is meeting the challenge of this censorship by offering a means for Arab-speaking Christians in those regions to read the texts on an iPhone. This is a significant and bold move in the Catholic app world as a gesture of love.
From the Telegraph (UK) 14 April 2014:
“Now, with the launch of the Arabic version, the app can be used in those Muslim countries where the breviary [Liturgy of the Hours] is banned from sale and where, in some countries, you cannot legally even possess one,” said Father Padrini.
The app for iPhones is free and the Arabic is produced by volunteer translators, he said. The iPad version will be available in three weeks and the Android version by the summer.
Father Padrini said assisting Christian congregations in Muslim countries was increasingly important as priests suffer persecution and violent attacks.
“The Catholic who prays in Arabic is a symbol of religious coexistence and peace,” he said. “I hope that the app is seen as a peaceful and not as a hostile gesture. And I hope it is not censored.”
Keep in mind, iBreviary offers more than just the Liturgy of the Hours. This powerful app also contains the complete text of the Roman Missal, now in Arabic–a bit of an anomaly as the language is typically used in other Rites, is it not?
We pray for Father Padrini’s ministry and those in regions of the world who pray using these texts under threatening circumstances.
editor, Catholic Apptitude