Pope Francis describes Lent as a “time of grace” and invites everyone to “live this Lent as an opportunity for engaging in … a formation of the heart.” Several Catholic apps are exclusively devoted to Lenten devotions designed to assist you in doing just that–opening your heart to transformative graces so you can go out there and transform the world. We highlight a few apps that are popularly recommended below. Of course, Confession apps cover that critical component of the Lenten experience, reconciliation. So be sure to check those out as well. As you take the spiritual challenge the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday (February 18) and Easter offers, may something within these apps be a key to help open your heart.
Make a digital retreat for Lent with Pray as You Go (Free) iOS and Android. Produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives out of Britain, this app invites you to spend about about 11 minutes per day in a systematic method of prayer which you follow in an audio format. Their Lent Retreat 2015 is titled: Women of the Passion. From developers:
“Join us this Lent in a Retreat following the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus as it was experienced by women. This retreat will focus on more than Mary, the Mother of God and Mary Magdalene, to look at peripheral characters like Pilate’s wife and the maidservant at the house of the High Priest. All of these reflections will, we hope, help you to experience a closeness with Jesus in his Passion throughout the season of Lent.”
This app is a valuable addition to your mobile device as a daily retreat you can engage all year long. A new prayer session is produced for each day of the week and one for weekends with material written by a number of Jesuits and other experts in the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola, according to developers. Although the content is different every day, it keeps to the same basic format of gently weaving together music, a passage of scripture and a few questions for personal reflection in a each prayer session. Developers say the framework of prayer allows you to:
* become more aware of God’s presence in your life
*listen to and reflect on God’s word
*grow in your relationship with God
The wide variety of music in this app is a significant feature, as this app review noted. Music is used as a conduit to help with your meditation. You WILL enjoy some pieces so much you will want them for you collection. No problem. Go to Pray as You Go’s web site to purchase/ download any of the music you discover on the app.
Meditation on the Passion of our Lord is a particular devotion during the season of Lent. The Passion of Jesus app ($1.99) iOS is designed to help you develop a tender daily devotion to Jesus Christ and his passion. Its developers note:
“The primary goal of this reflection is to engage believers to ponder and reflect on each aspect of the Passion by allowing time & eternity to intersect, by allowing the power of the cross to pour into our daily lives, no matter where we are or what we are doing….for a few moments, to pause and cast a glance at our Lord and permit this awesome, life-changing reality to bear fruit, to illumine, to set free & to save.”
Languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, French, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese.
Take a look at how the app works.
Magnificat Lenten Companion 2015 ($1.99) The popular print version is sold out, but you can get the e-book version for iOS (Apple devices) Kindle, Nook, Kobo. It is available as an app in iOS format only. This is the popular devotion presented in a day-by-day format. Includes daily liturgy, prayer, meditations, penance service, devotional prayers and much more. We are proponents of bringing your mobile device into church to use as your Missal because it is a terrific aid in being present at liturgy. This may be a good time to start because this app or e-book version is at your fingertips. Of course the convenience of having this resource is valuable for down times like waiting for your children at team practice or quiet times when you just want to steal a few minutes to meditate.
Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl (Free) iOS and Android Bring Lent to life through daily meditation and sacrifices. This app takes a unique twist on alms giving by putting a price on various items you may give up for Lent. With values in dollars, you can donate that amount to CRS through the app or make a pledge. I think that direct dollar value connection to giving is a real motivator because it puts your little sacrifices into concrete action to help others in the world who are in need. Available in English and Spanish.
•Prayerful reflection for each day of Lent which you can schedule to receive
•Customizable tool to set Lenten sacrifice goal and track progress towards its achievement
•Meatless recipes for Fridays during Lent
•Stories and videos of people who benefit from prayers and almsgiving to CRS Rice Bowl
Lentsanity (Free) iOS and Android. Fellowship of Catholic University Students offers a great little app designed for young adults that’s got an approachable, lighthearted feel to it, but in reality, has a lot of meat (no pun intended). You have to put your big boy/girl pants on to tackle the suggested Lenten “daily doses” in this app packed with intelligent activities, virtues, prayers and sacrifices that you can add to your days of Lent to make the journey profitable for your body and soul. Each dose (offered daily except Sundays) offers instruction about the challenge and how it can help you and others as you deepen your relationship with the Lord. Examples include: humility; sleeping on the floor; almsgiving; cold showers; Mass; reclaim friendships; confession; gratitude; go without makeup. Meat Police sends you reminders on days of Lent in which we abstain from meat. Read articles about WHY we abstain. Other resources include meatless recipes, and articles to help you understand the Lenten observance. This app respects the intelligence and the commitment of the user in plumbing the depths of Lenten practices. Here’s their promo video:
New videos updated daily! This app is a great way to take time out of the activities of our day – to allow God to speak Truth into the midst of the chaos of daily life, as developers note.
You can set the time you receive your daily notification reminding you to watch the day’s video reflection by this popular American Franciscan priest.
Xt3 Lent Calendar 2015 (Free) iPhone, iPad, Android Phone and Android Tablet. If you like to follow Lent with an Advent-style calendar in which content is released for view when the day arrives, this is for you. Starting February 18, the content on this app will be released daily to assist you on your Lenten journey. From developers [Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia]: The Xt3 Lent Calendar App is a Catholic resource, featuring daily videos, podcasts and articles to guide you toward the Christian celebration of Easter. This includes messages from Pope Francis, the Way of the Cross recorded by the Missionaries of God’s Love sisters, podcasts by Australian bishops, and much more!
LentBuddy (.99 cents) iOS This little app operates as a simple reminder of what the Church requires of you on a particular day in Lent and what your expectations are for yourself. It also offers daily Mass readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ web site (requiring internet connection). Upon opening the app for the first time, you are asked to set a time of day you would like your daily reminders to appear. This is useful, particularly if you need that early Friday morning reminder not to eat meat that day. You are also asked to list those elements of Lent you wish to focus upon–what you intend to give up or particular devotions or practices or disciplines you wish to engage each day. So, both reminders–Church and personal–are served to your device screen at the time you request.
Pope App (Free) iOS and Android Get the latest (even live!) reflections, homilies and Tweets from Pope Francis during Lent. Let the Pope be your guide as he helps you on your Lenten journey to Christ and his passion, death and resurrection. His homilies on the daily Mass readings during Lent can be a source of personal reflection since so much of what he preaches includes challenging our comfort zone. You can read his Tweets even if you don’t have a Twitter account. 5 languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish.
One Parish [(Free) iOS and Android] is designed to connect you to a local parish using a geo-locator map that shows all the Catholic churches in your area. Explore your Catholic faith in some of the content offered and, of course, stop in to the brick-and-mortar building for a visit, especially during Mass times. The app has added a Lenten section that will send daily reminders to you to engage in various Lenten activities you have committed to. These could be types of prayer, forms of service or giving (it has a payment portal to your selected parish).
The app insists that you choose a parish before your proceed any further. Once you are connected to a parish, it’s YOURS (unless you wish to change it, which is easy to do). In your parish’s portal, you have all the information you need to start engagement–most notably a Mass schedule, contact information and a link to the parish web site. Because this app is relatively new, not all parishes are up and running with other elements on the app like a parish directory and pastor’s message. Do double-check with the parish web site for accurate schedules as many parishes do not keep updated with the national program (Mass Times) which collects their data.
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross (.99) iOS. From developers: In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a new Bible-based interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. This devotional guide invites readers to prayerfully walk in solidarity with Jesus on his agonizing way of the cross—from his last torturous moments in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death and burial. Now with full-color station images from previously unpublished paintings by Michael O’Brien, this booklet creates an ideal resource for individual or group devotional use, particularly during the Lenten season. Available in English and Spanish. Authors: Amy Welborn and Michael Dubruiel.
Way of the Cross ($1.99) iOS and Android . Traditional stations with scripture passages and Reflections from the pope’s Good Friday Way of the Cross public prayer 2006-2011. From Developer: “In the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II directed an annual public prayer of the Stations of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum on Good Friday. Originally, the Pope himself carried the cross from station to station, but in his last years when age and infirmity limited his strength, John Paul presided over the celebration from a stage on the Palatine Hill, while others carried the cross… Each year a different person is invited to write the meditation texts for the Stations.”. Choose the version (year) you wish to use. This app would be greatly enhanced with reflections composed by Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, for the 2005 Good Friday observance at the Colosseum in Rome. [Listen to Fr Z’s podcast for an audio version].This app allows for landscape viewing in addition to portrait. You can enlarge both the text (for easy reading!) and photos. English & Spanish.
iStations ($1.99) Android and iOS. Traditional stations and the St. Alphonsus Liguori devotional text. For most people, that’s all they ask for. But you get more–There is an audio version imbedded. In that case, bring your ear buds if you’re in church. If you are not in church, the app helps to simulate the experience by providing beautiful traditional art depicting the stations for you to use in your private prayer. Two traditional methods, including a Franciscan method. Also, text of traditional prayers in English and Latin.
Stations of the Cross Walk With Me ($1.99) iOS and Android. The Pauline Press offers an experiential version of the Stations of the Cross in app form that includes audio. From developers: From start to finish, the Stations are all about the passionate love the Lord Jesus has for each of us. We follow him in these Stations not as spectators, but as his disciples, those he has called by name to follow him. Features include:
- Hear Jesus speaking directly to you
- Scripture and prayers with reverent narration
- Two sets of gorgeous images to choose from (one traditional and the other contemporary)
- The option to play the stations of the cross audio from beginning to end (perfect for praying the stations in the car or taking a walk)
- Two 4 minute slideshows for praying the stations without words for a more contemplative experience or when you have just a few minutes and want to pray the stations.
- Ability to continue right where you left off if you get interrupted
Check out the video of this great app here:
Cuaresma-Pascua 2015 (Free-Gratuita) Android y Apple, y para ordenadores está disponible en el apartado de MATERIALES y también se puede acceder directamente AQUÍ. Para preparar la Cuaresma y la Pascua Actualidad
El Arzobispado de Valencia, Espana, a través de las vicarías de Evangelización y de Acción Caritativa y Social, ha lanzado la aplicación móvil gratuita “Cuaresma-Pascua 2015” para preparar y vivir con intensidad estos dos tiempos litúrgicos.
El objetivo de esta nueva aplicación para teléfonos móviles, tabletas y ordenadores es poder seguir, día a día y en familia, la Cuaresma y la Pascua, con contenidos que enriquecen su preparación, como oraciones, tanto para niños como para la familia, el Evangelio de cada día y el santoral, reflexiones y meditaciones que pueden ser compartidas a través de las redes sociales, además de información sobre festividades como San José, San Vicente Ferrer y la Virgen de los Desamparados.