"The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings." - Pope Francis
How To Baptize Your Smart Device
No, we are not suggesting you dunk your phone in Holy Water. Instead, we offer something a bit less destructive: some concrete ways to turn your device into a spiritual transformation tool.
For many people, a smart phone can be an addictive and source of temptation. Why not choose to use your screen time in a more focused, deliberate way? We have compiled a list of recommendations that allow your phone to become a tool that will strengthen your relationship with God.
Although there are many recommendations in this list, it is best to start by picking one suggestion from each category. Do not become discouraged if you find some of these suggestions difficult! The important thing is discovering new ways to inject Christ into your daily routine. Disruption of your old daily routine is the goal, so start small and slowly build new habits.
There are many Catholic prayers that we are encouraged to pray at specific times of the day. Setting an alarm (or even just a reminder) to pray at these special times will allow you to break from the hectic nature of your day and refocus on the immense grace that God wants to pour out to you.
Most phones allow you to set a label with your alarm so that it not only will remind you to pray, it can remind you why you are praying.
Here are some options:
- Set a single alarm during the day to remind you to pause and pray for people in your life. This pause can be for only a few minutes, but it can make an enormous difference for those whom you remember.
- Set an alarm for 3:00 p.m. and pray all or just part of the The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is a prayer given to St. Faustina by Jesus in 1935. Its purpose is threefold: to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ's mercy, and to show mercy to others.
- Set alarms for 6:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m., and one other time of your choosing to pray the major Liturgy of the Hours. The Liturgy of the Hours is a set of prayers said everyday by all priests around the world. Although it can be said every three hours, the major Hours are 6:00 a.m. ("Lauds"), 6:00 p.m. ("Vespers"), and the "Office of Readings," which can be said at any point during the day.
- Set alarms for 6:00 a.m., Noon, 6:00 p.m. to pray the Angelus. The Angelus is an ancient prayer focused on the mystery of the Incarnation. Did you know when the Angelus bells are rung at the Vatican, everyone stops what they are doing and prays together? Now, you can join them, too!
Most podcasts are short (fewer than 20 minutes) and perfect to share with your entire family.
There are thousands of podcasts available to you, but here are just a few to get started:
- Liturgy of the Word - A 15-minute daily devotional produced by the Living Bread Radio Network. You’ll hear the daily Mass Readings, a reflection by a local clergy member, and beautiful music to kick start your day.
- Catholic Bytes - You don't have 20 minutes to listen to a podcast? This one teaches you our Catholic faith in 60 second chunks!
- Fr. Mike Schmitz - A rapid speaking priest from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He covers all kinds of relevant topics and is very popular with both adults and youth. He often combines his homilies into multi-week series that cover a particular theme and dovetail nicely into the readings of that week.
- Bishop Robert Barron - Bishop Barron does a great job peeling back the top layer of the weekly readings and going a layer deeper to increase your understanding of your faith. And if you enjoy his gospel reflections, you might also like his longer interview style with Word on Fire.
- Fr. John Riccardo - A priest from Plymouth, Michigan, who is well known from Catholic radio. He often delivers homilies that will speak to your heart and engage you to become a better Catholic.
- Catholic Answers - Each episode covers all kinds of common Catholic questions and topics. If you have friends or coworkers who ask questions about your faith that you find difficult to address, this apologetics podcast will help you find the right answer.
It was only a few short years ago when you had to carry forty pounds of hardbound books with you to read Scripture or pray certain prayers. Now, there are thousands of Catholic apps that conveniently move all of this content onto your phone to help you educate yourself, pray, and prepare for a better relationship with God.
Here are just a few recommendations:
- Laudate - Laudate is the Latin word for "praise," and this app fulfills this mission perfectly. It has daily readings with written reflections, Liturgy of the Hours, daily prayers and Bible verses, rosary and chaplets, Stations of the Cross, examination of conscience for better confessions and much more. (Android | Apple)
- iBreviary - iBreviary TS Pro Terra Sancta is the application that brings the traditional Catholic prayer of the Breviary and all the texts of the Liturgy on your phones and tablets. (Android | Apple)
- Living Bread Radio Network - Our friends at the Living Bread Radio Network have made it easy to listen to quality Catholic programming. This app gives you free access to Catholic radio anywhere in the world! In addition, it also gives you the ability to listen to hundreds of archived local programs that can help you learn the Faith. (Android | Apple)
- Pray as You Go - This app is run by the Jesuits in Britain and allows quick and easy access to a daily prayer podcast from your mobile device. These ten minute audio reflections on the daily readings are delivered by a person with a fantastic British accent which makes it feel twice as authentic. (Android | Apple)
- CALive - Run by Catholic Answers Live, this app contains every episode of their apologetics broadcast, giving you answers to Catholic questions that you didn’t even know you had. (Android | Apple)
- MassTimes - This app will provide contact information and Mass times for every Catholic Church in your proximity. MassTimes is a perfect app to have when you are traveling on vacation. (Android | Apple)
- Pray: The Catholic Novena App - Some people hear the word “novena” and think of their grandmother sitting around in a rocking chair holding her rosary and praying, but this is not the case — novenas are for everyone! The word “novena” means “nine,” and it is a prayer that you say for nine consecutive days or weeks. Many times novenas end on a particular Saint's feast day, but it can often be confusing when to start the prayers to make that happen. This app is extremely well designed and makes it easy to know when to begin your novena and even get reminders so that you don’t forget. (Android | Apple)
- Examen Prayer - What’s the one most important prayer we should pray every day? St. Ignatius said you should never omit the Examen Prayer, also known as the Examination of Conscience, from your daily prayer. This app will remind you to pray the Examen Prayer daily and walk you gently through the steps with the trusted guidance of Fr. Michael Denk. (Android | Apple)
- Verbum - Digital bibles, books, devotions and study tools help any Catholic to pray, reveal insights, understand scripture, and explore Church tradition. Look up any passage or topic and Verbum will instantly search all of your digital books and documents, giving you summaries and links that will deepen and expand your knowledge. Verbum offers many digital libraries for your budget, even a FREE startup library. (Android | Apple | Website)
How often have you said to someone, "I'll keep you in my prayers" and then later in the day, completely forget to pray for that person? We've got a perfect solution: start keeping a "holy list" using the notes app on your phone.
Here are some suggestions:
- Keep a list of people's names to pray for - this ties together very well with your daily prayer alarm/reminders. These can be family members, friends, or coworkers.
- Keep a list of things to bring to confession
This page was inspired by this great podcast episode from the The Jeff Cavins Show, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Columbus, Ohio