Received a new smart phone or tablet for Christmas? You have by now set up and mastered it. Now it’s time to load it up with essential Catholic apps.
“Essential” ones are Swiss Army-type apps that come loaded with many useful resources and special features all in one package. Based on your type of device and platform, you have a few to choose from. After you choose one of those “essential” all-in-one Catholic apps below, then shop for others that fit your particular needs and interests in other areas of Catholic Apptitude. Let’s get started!
Laudate (Free) Apple and Android, Kindle Fire–Laudate touts itself as the #1 free Catholic app. That’s probably because it is the most fully loaded app at this, um, price point. It is hands-down the best value in a Catholic app and certainly worthy of residing on your mobile device given all its many useful Catholic resources. Indeed, most of the hard-core Catholic app users we’ve interviewed have this app on their mobile devices. Available in English, Español, Português, Italiano, Bahasa and Polski, Slovenian and many texts and resources in Latin. You get:
- Daily Mass Readings and Order of Mass for both Ordinary Form and Extraordinary form of the Mass
- Catechism of the Catholic Church- (as well as the Compendium) as a web view display of the Catechism published on the Vatican web site. Internet connection required.
- Liturgy of the Hours- includes text for all the hours for the day. NOTE: The English text is the British version, so it may not match up with texts of others if you are praying in a group.
- Traditional Roman Breviary (1960) with split screen Latin/English.
- New American Bible; NAB Bible when connected to internet only. It also offers Douay-Rheims Bible which is local so you don’t need to be connected to the internet. This makes for a large file, so they recommend moving the app to your phone’s SD card
- Complete library of all the modern era’s Church Documents including all the documents of Vatican II
- Confession app
- Pinch/Zoom capability
- Link to Pope App
- Rosary with a Podcast for Rosary and Stations of the Cross and Latin Rosary
- Chaplet of Divine Mercy (on Rosary screen)
- Stations of the Cross
- Confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation) preparation with examination of conscience
- Various prayers and prayers in Latin with English translation
- A Prayer for Religious Freedom
- Daily Meditations.
- Podcasts of Daily Readings and meditations with ability to bookmark them
- Launcher for iCatholicRadio
- Ability to bookmark prayers and podcasts and create your own categorized prayers. Export/Import for prayers.
- Bibles: The Douay-Rheims and Latin Vulgate Bibles (searchable; highlight text;Bible commentary imbedded).
- Catechisms: Catechism of the Catholic Church is offered as a web view display of the Catechism published on the Vatican web site. Internet connection required. There are NO apps with the text of the CCC imbedded due to copyright/translation issues. This is the only way you can view it using an app. [Kindle version via Amazon $9.95] Free on line in English here. Other catechisms available on this app are Baltimore Catechisms #1, #2, & #3; Catechism of Christian Doctrine; the Roman Catechism; Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas
- Calendar for Ordinary Roman Calendar and Extraordinary Roman Calendar (1962) in English and Latin. Comes with Saint of the Day, Liturgical readings. Audio version of Gospel readings available.
- Numerous devotions and prayers including a version of the Little Office of Our Lady, the 33-Day Total Consecration Preparation, Novenas to the Holy Spirit and to the Divine Mercy, St. Alphonsus Stations of the Cross, and the St. Bridget 1-Year and 12-Year Prayers. Many prayers are available in audio format if you choose to download them. You can selectively download what you wish.
- Library of spiritual writings by St. Louis Marie de Montfort, St. Teresa of Jesus, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Siena, the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas, the Imitation of Christ, Introduction to Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, selections by St. Jean-Marie Vianney, and the Treatise on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa. The Summa (apart from the Supplement) is also in Latin.
- Butler’s Lives of the Saints (with optional audio included)
- Papal Encyclicals
- Ecumenical Council Documents
- Scriptural passages for meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary
- Examination of Conscience in preparation for Sacrament of Reconcilliation (Confession)
Catholic Mega App (Free) iOS and Android Imagine jotting down all the very basic apps and web sites and blogs and podcasts and liturgical books and Catholic apologetics and prayers that you would want on your mobile device. That list might well match the offerings in the appropriately-named Catholic Mega App which bundled all those items and even more into their product. And like Catholic Apptitude, they concentrated on linking only the very best resources out there for you. So, you don’t just get any old Liturgy of the Hours, for instance, you get the popular iBreviary and DivineOffice.org links. That is considerate, indeed. Let’s open up this free gift and see what’s inside: Order of Mass, daily readings, Breviary, reading reflections, interactive Rosary, Stations of the Cross, the Confession App [the same developer], NABRE Catholic Bible, links to popular Catholic blogs and web sites, pro-life-resources, youth ministry resources, link to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and many prayers. Then it throws in a bunch of interactive social media options like a prayer wall, discussion board, a photo gallery input option, and links to Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest accounts of the Catholic celebrities–Pope Francis, US bishops and EWTN. Whew! And navigation is easily accomplished by holding your phone in one hand and using one thumb (Thumbs up to that!) The downside? Because most all of the resources are linked, you have to be connected to the internet to use most features of this app (other than the note pad). But for the price, this app is well worth the real estate it takes on your mobile device. Go ahead and consider it as the first all-in-one app you download IF your device is constantly connected to the internet.
Catholic Church App (Free) Apple and Android. Relatively new to the market is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ all-inclusive The Catholic Church App. As the title suggests, it is an attempt to bundle parishes and (arch)dioceses across the United States—even the Vatican—into one, single mobile resource. You’ll get comprehensive coverage on news of concern to Catholics from the Vatican and Catholic News Service (including CNS videos). This ambitious app is designed to be of service to every Catholic in the United States–all 75 million of us–with the ability to communicate to us right down to the parish level (although that is a development in progress at this time as, apparently, parishes and dioceses need to pay for subscriptions to hop on to the portal or to link their existing mobile presence for free). Right now, it serves up some useful resources like:
- (coming soon) Church finder by location, city, zip code
- (coming soon) Individual parish and diocesan pages
- Daily Scripture readings
- USCCB content integration
- English/Spanish capability
- News alerts, calls-to-action, events calendar
News–The app opens up to the day’s latest Church news–much appreciated because even if you aren’t a news junkie, the headline might very well grab you and help keep you informed, if only a smidgin, about what’s going on in the Church. Here you can scroll text and video reports. Reports of opinions of various bishops, archbishops and cardinals during the Synod on the Family, for example, were wide and varied. Their inclusion adds depth to coverage we don’t normally see in secular media.
Pope Francis–This tab offers the latest news, video and photos covering Pope Francis–all set in chronological order. While you can get the same information on the free Pope App, it is nice to have it bundled into your Catholic Church App for convenient access. Unlike the Pope App, you do not get the full texts of his speeches or writings, just the news reports about them. Under this tab you can also read the pope’s latest tweets from Twitter, so you do not need to have a Twitter account to read these messages if you have this app or the Pope App.
Events tab focuses on significant Church-sponsored gatherings going on like papal visits, synods, Eucharistic congresses or international events like World Youth Day. It also includes significant upcoming liturgical feasts like All Saints Day and Advent, and national events like the annual meeting of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference or National Bible Week. We were impressed with the coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Each and every time he spoke or there was a major event about to take place, this app posted a notification on our iPhone’s locked screen with alerts. Within two clicks, we were watching the pope on live video from a smart phone! The English language translation and commentary given during live-streaming video as the pope spoke was clear, timely, intelligent and respectful. This will be my go-to app the next time anything monumental occurs in the Church in which live streaming video is offered.
Daily Mass Readings–This is tailored for the United States, of course, and comes straight from the U.S. Bishops’ web site so you are assured the readings will be correct. Text is served up in mobile format, black with a bright white background– and is displayed in a clear, easy-to-read design that you can scroll through. If you plan to use this feature during Mass, please be aware that you need to have internet connection. At Catholic APPtitude, we always recommend that you set your mobile device to Airplane Mode during Mass to avoid disruptions of calls and various messages that could pop up. So we would recommend using another app that does not require internet connection to read text during Mass.
The Resource tab needs more work. Currently it is set to offer resources like a Bible (that just takes you to the USCCB web site’s Bible which is difficult to read on a smart phone); the Catechism of the Catholic Church (that just takes you to their “store” to purchase a hard copy) egads! If that isn’t frustrating enough, when you access those off-site resources, you can’t get back to the app unless you close out and re-open it. Aside from the fact that those resources are available on several free apps out there and the Pope App sufficiently covers everything about Pope Francis, this app is not quite the product it is meant to be–yet. We will keep you posted on developments with this ambitious project.
Social Media–We love how each news element comes with ability to share on Twitter or Facebook with one simple click (this helps with Evangelization!) However, this feature is a little buggy as we are not seeing the social media icons on our iPhone 6 screen, just the unnamed buttons.
While this app offers useful features you can take advantage of right now, it is not quite ready for prime time with several bugs to address (including the fact that sometimes Resource tab doesn’t work). As noted, while the app has the international and national arenas of Church information covered, it still faces the enormous task of including local information– it needs to get dioceses and parishes to link up and get the all-important church locator engine revved up for use. But at the free price, it is worth downloading now to get your timely news, live streaming video and sneak peek at what’s coming up nationally and internationally.
Download a Power Point Presentation of the App here. Internet services needed to run most features. Shockingly, the USCCB web site does not offer links to the download sites. We went on a hunt for you and found them above.
Catholic’s Companion Windows Phone (Free or .99 cents) The free version has ads. Precious few apps are available for this format, but this one will hold you over until more come on the scene for the Windows Phone. It is most comprehensive as an all-in-one Catholic app. From Developer: “This application has everything a Catholic needs. It is an app that is meant to help you grow in your faith. This app hold many different resources like the most common prayers, the rosary, the bible, an audio bible, daily mass readings, mass online, prayer reminders, journals, news and a breviary! You can read a daily bible verse and get information on a daily saint! You can search for local parishes and much much more!” On WindowsPhone 8 the content downloads are exceptionally fast.
Pocket Catholic (Free) Android. This is not as elaborate as some of the apps listed above, but for the price, it’s worth a look if you need limited features and want to save memory space. You get:
- a searchable list of common Catholic prayers
- search for Catholic churches near you based on your phone’s current location.
- a handy Note Pad area
- Daily Mass Readings
- listen to the Catholic Radio Station EWTN which you can stream while using other apps
Catholic Droid (Free) Android- This is a bare essentials app that contains access to several Bibles on line; a rosary that vibrates in place of touching beads; an examination of conscience to help you make a good confession; a bunch of prayers; and faith formation elements like 10 Commandments, gifts of the Holy Spirit and the sacraments. Think of it as a lite version of the other featured apps above. The benefit to you is less memory taken up on your device.
Disclaimer… To avoid disappointment, we encourage you to visit the links provided to read up on the details of the apps you are interested in. We include apps in this site because they contain certain functions or elements worthy of consideration. But the individual apps may not exactly fit your needs. The more information you look up, the less likely you will be disappointed in your purchase.