Apps following and featuring Pope Francis and other Popes

A recent consolidation of Vatican media has swallowed up your old “Pope App” which is now called Vatican News (Free) Apple | Android.  If you have the old blue/yellow app installed, it will automatically switch to the re-branded red/white app. You don’t have to do a thing.

As the name suggests, this re-branded Vatican News app provides newsy up-to-date (even live!) content connecting you with all things dealing with not just the Pope, but the Vatican, the Church and (Catholic) World in those four categories.  This app was developed by the Vatican’s relatively new Secretariat for Communication as the official “network hub of Vatican communications” based on its web site. So, while it still follows the pope, it also encompasses the entire Holy See and anything concerning the universal Church that would be of interest to the masses. In covering the pope, the app includes official papal-related content in a variety of formats: his Twitter feeds (@Pontifex), news, synopsis articles of his daily homilies, photos, some official text and, of course, video.

Regrettably, gone is the all-access pass to Pope Francis with his calendar schedule, list of writings, (you have to jump over to the Vatican web site for that) and the galleries with the latest images and videos in one convenient place (now farmed out to social media). Also gone is the terrific option to have the app send an alert when something momentous takes place like the Live Christmas and Easter messages or some event on a papal trip.

Pope-related links are provided for social media content: Instagram–now the place for galleries; Facebook-Vatican page (the pope himself does not have a personal Facebook page because that outlet is a cesspool that also weeds out politically incorrect content); YouTube –live and on demand video found here; and the pope’s Twitter feed –another content-discriminated cesspool, but necessary.

What you can’t do is forecast when something cool will happen because it lacks a timeline/schedule. So at what time here in the east coast of the United States do I tune in to hear the Pope’s live Easter message for the world? I used to know with the old Pope App. It also used to send me a push notification as it was about to occur.

If you want an app that exclusively covers the pope,  this app is still the best one out there.

Finally, we regret that some of the more interesting things the pope says and does are still NOT included in this app. So when he accepts a clandestine meeting with an individual  or group, or says something off-the-cuff, or crazy, don’t expect to see it on this app.

6 languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German.  Requires internet service. 

BUTTON-appStore BUTTON-Google play

popemojiPopemoji-screenshotText and tweet about His Holiness with Pope Emoji (Free) Apple | Android — a keyboard app of animated GIFs and stickers devoted to the character, Pope Francis. We’re talking 52 pope-themed stickers and 14 animated GIFs with a cartoon pope in various settings appropriate to his historic visit to the United States, September 22-27, 2015. And it’s pretty popular. In the first four days since its launch, reports Fortune, more than 30,000 people have downloaded the “Popemoji” keyboard and sent 235,000 “Popemojis” via text, email, Twitter or Facebook.
The free keyboard app can be used just like any other third-party keyboard app. But don’t let the name fool you. These are NOT emoji-sized graphics. They are larger stickers–pope eating a hot dog; pope in a taxi cab; pope saying “Hi” or giving a thumbs up. And they are animated GIF images of pope snapping his fingers; pope in front of a waving American flag; pope ringing the Liberty Bell.

Operation is pretty straightforward after downloading: re-set your keyboard setting with prompts; choose a sticker or GIF image and choose the social media you’d like to use to send the image.

Occasionally, developers update the characters for Christmas or other messages relevant to the times.

BUTTON-appStore BUTTON-Google play


ClickToPray (Free)  Apple |  Android

Pray with Pope Francis! Did you know that each month the Pope announces his specific prayer intentions?  These prayers are generally aimed at particular challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. Click To Pray app is designed to help people around the world to pray along with Pope Francis in these particular intentions of his. To encourage you stay engaged in daily prayer, the app gives you the ability to send reminders to your smart phone three times a day, morning, afternoon and evening–a different prayer or reflection each time. Brought to you by the Apostleship of Prayer, a Jesuit organization, the Click To Pray app is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French enabling people from around the world to unite their prayers with the Pope’s. In addition to the prayer reminders, registered users may post a prayer on the app/website Prayer Wall and share them on social media.

The prayers for each day take a component of the Pope’s general prayer intentions for the month and focus them on a particular element of concern for the day. The prayers are brief and well-written with heart and compassion. When you open the app, you can see how many people around the world have prayed the very prayer you are holding in your hands (on your mobile device). Here’s a screenshot of a prayer for the morning which follows the them of the Pope’s intentions for the particular month. Here’s a screenshot:


BUTTON-appStore BUTTON-Google play

xCatholic Church appCatholic Church App (Free) Apple | 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). ThisIntroducing the Catholic Church app 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

Portals include:

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.

BUTTON-appStore BUTTON-Google play

VaticanRadioNEWRadio Vaticana (Free)- iOSAndroidWindows Phone.

You get three basic functions: Radio, Pope’s Agenda, and News. Radio has 5 channels, 70 programs in 40 languages.  Follow Pope Francis in real time with text and audio of his various public appearances. The world news portal contains an international news feed and links to mp3 audio of the reports if you want to access news delivered in that format. Enjoyable, enlightening reports and interviews from the geographic center of the Catholic faith with coverage around the world.

Previous Popes

canonization-j23-appJohn XXIII: the Official App of Canonization (Free) Apple | Android.




canonization-jp2-appJohn Paul II: the Official App of Canonization (Free) Apple | Android.

These apps are designed for use by participants in Rome at the canonization AND we folks staying home. The apps come in several languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese. The obvious omission is Polish (?! really ?!) You don’t need the schedule of events during the course of the weekend or travel help, but what is still valuable are a few other salient features. Check out archived videos of the two popes, read their encyclicals, read about why they have been designated “saint,” pray their official prayers and read their biographies. You will find language options in the “settings” tab on the home screen. Ours defaulted to English as we downloaded in the United States off iTunes here.

e-votion-jp2eVotion Saint (Bl.) John Paul II (Free) iOS and Android. eVotions are a series of digital Catholic devotions. This one is designed around Saint Pope John Paul II who was canonized on 27 April 2014. You get image galleries, streaming video, and push notifications for praying novenas. The app also offers common prayers, introductions by well-known Catholics, and writings on the tradition and history of each saint and blessed, according to developers.

– Introduction by Archbishop Charles Chaput
– History, Traditions, and Videos about John Paul II
– A novena that allows you to customize your experience
– Alert notifications to remind you to pray your novena
– Prayers both to and by Blessed John Paul II
– lots of great photographs of John Paul II that you can customize.

Recordatio ($1.99) iOS only.“Among the pleasant recollections of Our younger days are the Encyclicals … written to the whole Catholic world …” Pope John XXIII  Here’s your opportunity to read major documents written by Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and many more popes. Among this app’s offerings are ALL the papal encyclicals for the last 50 years! Lots of Church documents including the documents of Vatican II. Many prayers categorized for ease of selection. Updated to include significant papal documents of recent years. Unfortunately, it has not been updated since 2010, so the content is lacking anything from Pope Francis. But for the purpose of reading some of the more important documents of the the Church and writings of our great popes, this app is worth the two bucks.

No comments yet.

Your app recommendations and comments are welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: