6 Apps for a Prayerful Lent

Family Matters: Catholic Living

For the faithful looking to use apps to make this a fruitful, prayerful and holy Lent, leave it to Catholic experts’ Lenten app recommendations.

“My first and foremost is the ‘CRS Rice Bowl App,’” recommends Son Rise Morning Show host Matt Swaim.

“Not only does it have daily reflections (a staple of most Lenten apps), my favorite feature is the recipes. Each Friday, the app has instructions for a simple meatless meal from one of the countries benefitting from Rice Bowl. Families can make the meal, learn about the work of CRS in that country and learn about a family that’s part of one of the CRS programs. Simple, free and super engaging for kids.”

CRS’ “Give” feature also allows users to keep track of Lenten strivings and almsgiving.

Swaim has another favorite Lenten app: “the ‘Lentsanity’ app from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.”

As he explained, “My favorite feature: The ‘Meat Police’ push notifications around mealtimes each Friday. It’s great for people like me who can forget what day it is and need a little extra reminder not to stop at White Castle on the way home.”

Author, blogger, speaker and new-media authority Brandon Vogt suggested looking into “Verbum”:

“My favorite is the ‘Verbum’ app. It brings tons of the best Catholic books, including the Bible, Catechism and Church documents, onto your phone or tablet.”

It’s spiritual reading in an entire library of Catholic resources, including the “Pictoral Lives of the Saints,” which not only tells about the saint, but offers a reflection for each day.

Lisa Hendey, founder and editor of CatholicMom.com, heads to one of the Vatican’s websites.

“I recommend ‘The Pope App’ by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (News.va/thepopeapp/),” she explained. “Part of my daily Morning Prayer routine involves praying the Liturgy of the Word and, in particular, the day’s Gospel. Along with using our reflections at CatholicMom.com (CatholicMom.com/category/daily/), I often turn to ‘The Pope App’ for teachings and homilies from Pope Francis.”

“The app contains texts of his homilies on most days,” she explained. “I find also prayerfully reflecting upon Pope Francis’ tweets (which are included in the app) to be great fuel for prayer and a deep call to mission. Another special feature of the app is the ‘webcams’ section, where six live feeds from in and around the Vatican can help me pray in solidarity with others around the world. While ‘The Pope App’ is primarily a news-related tool, I find it a great centralized resource for spiritual support from our Holy Father, which will be a true blessing during the Lenten season.”

Internationally known speaker and Catholic evangelist Marcel LeJeune offers this advice:

“‘iBreviary’ is one of my favorites, because I lost the ability to flip around my real-life breviary and need it to keep me on track with the Liturgy of the Hours.”

“iBreviary” isn’t only a virtual Liturgy of the Hours; it has the daily readings, order of the Mass, various rites of the Catholic Church and a host of prayers for just about every mood or occasion to add to prayer routines for Lent and beyond.

“I also like ‘Victory’ app by Life Teen,” LeJeune said. “It is another good tool I recommend to those who struggle with purity.”

Not only does “Victory” help keep users on the road to purity, it also offers the opportunity to connect with prayer partners, mark the dates one has been to confession and store journal entries.

That’s six new apps that will help make this Lent an occasion of real conversion.

So Catholics, observe Lent “app happy.”

Marge Fenelon writes from Cudahy, Wisconsin.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.