Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, editor, marketing professional, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of many books, the most recent of which she co-edited with Lisa Hendey: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com and writes online regularly at CatholicMom.com and Integrated Catholic Life. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and children.
Leave it to EWTN to come up with a Lenten app. And no, I’m not just toeing the party line here. These four apps (two from EWTN) offer those of us who find ourselves preoccupied with mobile devices to use them to bless our Lenten efforts.
Read the Gospels
First, there’s the EWTN app (free on Android, Apple and Kindle). It’s full of all the things you would expect from EWTN: radio programs on demand, video programs on demand and the Bible.
There’s also a special feature: a 40-day challenge to read the four Gospels during Lent. All you have to do is make a little selection (instructions, with pictures, here) in one of the menus, and you’re set with a reminder and a daily reading schedule.
Come Easter, you’ll have read all the Gospels. What’s not to love?
Lent With Cardinal Dolan
Then, there’s the new “Lenten Reflections With Cardinal Dolan” app from EWTN. It’s not supposed to be available yet, but I was on the Android store, and look what I downloaded. (Insert triumphant response.) From what I understand, it will be available on iTunes soon.
I’m really looking forward to this one. Each day offers a brief video with Cardinal Dolan. The videos automatically update, and the interface is straightforward and easy to use, without being ugly. (What can I say? I’m a girl. I like pretty.)
Bonus: You can set a reminder alarm. I think I’m going to make this my lunch/midday reflection time.
Exercise Your Soul
Sinner2Saint (free on Android and Apple) is, in the developer’s own words, “the first ‘Exercise for Your Soul’ app that focuses on the interior life and growing in virtue. Sinner2Saint helps you to take up your cross and alleviate the same sins you have struggled with for years. Once you choose your sins, your 21-day ‘Virtue Exercise’ program begins.”
If it wasn’t for Lent, I’d be staying far, far, FAR away from this one. But it’s the day before Ash Wednesday, and I’m up for a challenge. You earn halos in the “Soul Tracker” part of the app by completing prayer, penance, sacraments, Scripture, fasting and mental disciplines.
Then, once you’ve built up virtue, you can take “Virtue Challenges” like “Text a family member you don’t normally talk to” or “Forgive someone from the past.”
I’m betting the experience is transformative. I’m in!
Rice Bowl Goes Digital
And I can’t not mention the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl app (free on Android and Apple), because it’s awesome. It really takes the experience of Rice Bowl almsgiving into the rest of your life. This helps you stick with the three pillars of Lent — almsgiving, fasting and prayer — right from your device.
There are reflections for each day of Lent, just like on the calendar you get with your Rice Bowl, but you also get to watch videos of the people whose stories you learn during Lent.
Each Friday, there are meatless recipes, along with a family whose story is featured (you can eat the same thing they would eat).
My favorite part is where you can pledge your amount and log your sacrifice for the day. I never actually put my quarters in my Rice Bowl, opting to contribute monetarily without coins, so this will really make me tally things.
Okay, chime in: What apps are YOU using this Lent?