Catholic app developers have been pretty creative in producing quality apps which help engage us in liturgical seasons like Advent, Christmas and Lent. The Lent apps we feature are filled with intelligent, Gospel-based ideas for living the season in such a way as to foster a more loving response to our neighbor and bring us closer to God. Okay…some also have alarm notifications to remind us not to eat meat on Fridays! So even with the humor of “Meat Police” (in the Lentsanity app), we see subtle, friendly ways of helping you to engage your faith and to live your Christian life more fully (even with a smile). Of course, Confession apps cover that critical component of the Lenten experience, reconciliation. So don’t forget to wonder over to that page to check those out. Here are our recommended Lent apps:
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. Check out their review of fish sandwiches at popular fast-food establishments in the U.S. Even with these fun elements included, Lentsanity delivers in respecting the intelligence and the commitment of the user in plumbing the depths of Lenten practices.
Here’s their promo video:
3D Catholic (Free) iOS and Android Developed by University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life 3D Catholic app is designed to promote three traditional Catholic practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (works of mercy)–practices traditionally connected to the season of Lent. But the developers hope users go beyond a one-shot attempt, so they programed in unique features designed to help the user develop a daily habit of engaging these practices cultivating a life-long practice. This is achieved by joining a community connected through this app and by setting daily reminders for prayer, fasting and almsgiving (including works of mercy).
From Developers: “Join other Catholics in your area praying the Angelus every day at noon, abstaining from meat on Fridays throughout the year and performing least one corporal work of mercy weekly. View the real-time map to see where others are practicing the 3 devotions. Upload prayers to the prayer intention stream and take other users’ petitions into prayer while you are engaged in the practices of the 3D Catholic community.” Check out this detailed look at the movement behind this app.
We like the fact that it is a simple, yet serious attempt to help users cultivate a life-long habit of prayer, fasting and engaging in works of mercy. Just as with quality health/exercise apps, this app is integral to the process of engaging in fundamental spiritual exercises which can radically transform us in our spiritual journey.
– Set daily reminders for Praying the Angelus at noon and Fasting on Fridays
– Find opportunities in your area to volunteer; add reminders to your personal calendar
– Prayer Intention stream generated from the app community
– Anonymously share prayers with people around you
– Track your progress on Prayer, Fasting, and Works of Mercy
Make a digital retreat for Lent with Pray as You Go (Free) iOS and Android. Enjoy beautifully-produced audio retreats brought to you by Jesuit Media Initiatives out of Britain. This app invites you to spend about about 11 minutes per day (not just during Lent, but all year long!) in a systematic method of prayer which you follow in an audio format; they call this form of exercise “imaginative contemplation” as you are taken on a guided mental cruise of spiritual discovery and wonder and challenge with music, Scripture and questions for reflection.
Their Lent 2016 Retreat is a special addition to their regular daily offerings. Titled,
A Year of Mercy, a Lent of Healing, this retreat will explore the healing miracles of Jesus taken from the narratives of Matthew’s Gospel, say to developers who add, “We hope that you will join us each week to encounter the word of God in a new way, whilst reflecting on the healing and merciful action of God in your own life.”
You will also enjoy their audio meditations on the Stations of the Cross or the Rosary for the Lenten season!
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
You will appreciate the ability to set the time you’d like reminder notifications to pray. 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.
Sacred Space, is a daily audio retreat format produced by a joint apostolate of the Irish Jesuits and Loyola Press since 1999. They feature special Lent retreats (in conjunction with PrayAsYouGo) which you can follow at your own pace as you carve out a few minutes each day for this devotion. These mini-retreats are designed to gently guide you through meditations on Scripture suitable to the overall theme. Pray As You Go provides the glorious audio production/music for which they are known. The 2016 Lent retreat titled Year of Mercy, Lent of Healing reflects on the healing miracles of Jesus in the Gospel narratives of Matthew. A new session of the retreat is uploaded each week. Last year’s retreat titled, Women of the Passion, is wonderful and still available for this year.
Passion of Jesus app — 50% off through Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016! Meditation on the Passion of our Lord is a particular devotion during the season of Lent. The Passion of Jesus app ($1.39) iOS and Android is designed to help you develop a tender daily devotion to Jesus Christ and his passion by engaging you–in real time–in the last 24 hours of Christ’s life. The events are put in sequence as found in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Based on your local time, you are served a respective passion image, a corresponding reflection (based on the collective writings of Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri), response and suggested prayer intentions.
This passion timeline enfolds over a 24 hour period, but you can change this to other timelines to accommodate your schedule– 8 hours, 1 hour and 30 minutes. 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 and 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.”
Also included with this app are
- Way of the Cross by St. Alphonsus Liguori
- Way of the Cross through Mary’s eyes
Take a look at how the app works.
Magnificat Lenten Companion 2016 You can get the e-book version of this popular devotional booklet for iOS (Apple devices $2.99)
Kindle, ($3.21) Nook, ($2.99) Kobo ($2.93). It is available as an app for iPhone or iPad format only ($1.99). This is the popular devotion presented in a day-by-day format.
Includes daily liturgy (Mass readings), Stations of the Cross, 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 Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas– iOS Lite version is free and offers meditations every other day. Full Version is $2.99 and offers each day’s meditation beginning on Septuagesima Sunday–three Sundays before Ash Wednesday–through Holy Saturday. If you are looking for daily in-depth, scholarly meditations from the great Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, this is your app. You will be impressed by the myriad of topics diving into Scripture passages each day right up through the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord. Feast on his famous “points” to each meditation which draw you deeper into the theological perspectives the great saint shares. You will enjoy the ability to share meditations on social media, email or just copy into your notes.
Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl (Free) iOS and Android , iOS Spanish Version. 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. 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
EWTN: Lenten Reflections 2015 (Free) Android. EWTN Lenten Reflection App includes new 1-minute long video reflections with Fr. Benedict Groeschel.
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.
You can set the time you receive your daily notification reminding you to watch the day’s video reflection by this popular American priest.
Xt3 Lent Calendar 2016 (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 on Ash Wednesday, you will get videos, podcasts and articles to guide you toward the Christian celebration of Easter. This includes messages from Pope Francis, an audio/video Way of the Cross, podcast reflections, and much more!
This year’s theme: Open Wide the Doors of Mercy. From developers, Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia:
“A special feature of this year’s Lent Calendar App is the Holy Year of Mercy podcast, which includes a series of reflections on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy by clergy, consecrated men and women and lay people from around Sydney.”
If you want to access the calendar via your browser, here it is! But remember, it’s a calendar that only opens when the individual day arrives.
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.
Stations of the Cross
Way of the Cross ($.99) iOS and Android ($1.99). Traditional stations with scripture passages and Reflections from Pope Benedict XVI’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. 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 images of stations and the popular 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 preview of this great app here: