The Bible makes me Appy

Happy New Year! 

It is that time of year again where we use this fresh start to try and make ourselves a better person. I saw a commercial the other day that apologized to January because we made it a month of cleanses and juice diets, gym workouts and hydration challenges. Most people this time of year make resolutions. The new trend this year seems to be to choose a word to focus on for the year. Either way we promise ourselves that we are going to make ourselves better. Self-improvement is important but we can also use this time to improve ourselves Spiritually.

One of the hardest parts to keeping our resolutions is that our life is so busy that we lose track of what we need to do. Many people turn to different apps to help them stay in shape or get in shape as a part of their “new year, new me” campaign. In today’s world we are so used to being connected to our devices (sometimes literally, as I sit here typing with my iPad plugged into a charger). If we use our devices to keep track of our steps, our calories, or our cardio, then we can also use them to help us on our walk with Christ.

I downloaded different apps on my phone to see which ones would be helpful to me to grow in my prayer life. I found some more helpful than others for my own personal preference but in general, I think these are all helpful tools in our Spiritual growth.

Laudate is a Catholic app that is great for daily readings and for the saint of the day. This app also includes audio versions of the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy so that you can pray along with them. I have used this tool several times when I am on my own and need to stay focused on prayer. Lastly, this app includes two versions of the Catholic Bible, Vatican documents, the Breviary, and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The one downside to this app is that in order to use many of the tools you have to be connected to data or WiFi.

Along with being a part of the Laudate app, you can also download iBreviary. iBreviary allows you to easily pray the Liturgy of the Hours, when sometimes the Breviary can be difficult to navigate. While you need to be connected to data or WiFi for this app, you can download all of the readings up to one week at a time so that you can use it when you are offline.

Idisciple is an app that I just recently discovered. This app lets you create a growth plan for yourself so that you can either borrow a plan that is already created or you can create one yourself that you think best fits your needs. It also includes a daily devotional and the ability to connect to and listen to worship music.

We have all probably been in that situation where someone asks us to pray for someone or something. The app Prayermate allows you to make and keep lists of prayer intentions. It can be divided by relationships and communities. You can set an alarm through the app to remind you to pray. It also creates a new daily list for you that includes formal prayer, Scripture, and a reflection that you can choose to shape in the direction you would like.

The last app that I have been exploring is called Prompter. Prompter helps you to pray by giving you a starting off point when we have those moments where words are hard to come by. Prompter is separated into two sections: Meditation and Prayer and Petition/Intercession. Within each section they are subsections that allow you to focus in more specifically. It’s helpful if you want to pray for a specific person or event. When you click on that subcategory, the app gives you a prayer to pray for that intention. I did find the app to be a little confusing at first and probably the least user-friendly of all of the apps.

Whether you are comfortable with technology or not, we all know that this time of year is a great opportunity to step back and see where we can improve in our faith lives. Although technology often gets labeled as a device that takes us further away from God (and it absolutely can be), we have this chance to use it to help us grow in faith. I pray that you have a Happy New Year and that we all use this time to work on our journey with Christ. 

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.org.


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