.- The beginning of the Catholic Church’s Year of Faith comes at a time when several dioceses have released smart phone apps to inform Catholics and help them live out their faith.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend released its “My Year of Faith” app for iPhone and Android systems on Oct. 11, the first day of the year called by Pope Benedict XVI. The app’s customizable features aim to deepen users’ understanding of the Catholic faith, increase their prayer life, and motivate them to share their faith with friends.
It includes reflections and daily updates from Catholic bloggers and writers, including Lisa Hendey of CatholicMom.Com, Dr. Greg Popcack, and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the diocesan paper Today’s Catholic News reports.
The app, designed by Little i Apps, has interactive web challenges that focus on a monthly theme.
Megan Oberhausen of the diocese’s Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries told Today’s Catholic News that the monthly challenges encourage interaction and sharing on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. In December, the app asks users to take a photo of their family’s Nativity scene and post it to social media sites.
“If you’re using the mobile app, you can do this right from your phone. It’s a fun little challenge, but it also is a way to practice the New Evangelization,” she said. “And if all our readers and followers are doing the challenge, imagine how many people will encounter those photos and links that day.”
Its website is www.myyearoffaith.org.
In Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori released an app version of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s website on Oct. 11. The app provides archdiocesan news, parish and school locators, and events and information directories.
“Sometimes people don’t realize there is a school right in their neighborhood,” Archbishop Lori said, according to The Catholic Review.
The free app, developed by the Washington, D.C. firm Fig Leaf Software, is available for iPhone, iPad and Android users in the iTunes Store and Android Store under the search phrase “Archdiocese of Baltimore.”
Bill Glover, the archdiocese’s chief information officer and director of technology, said the app focuses on the functions that most people use the archdiocese’s website for.
“We’re just making that more accessible and a better user experience,” he said.
The app also provides information about the Year of Faith.
The Diocese of Orlando has created an app for the Year of Faith called “Sharing my Faith.” It includes videos of people talking about their faith and their hopes for the next year. The Orlando diocese described the app as providing information and resources to help users “make the most of the Year of Faith.”
The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android systems. It can be downloaded through the diocese’s website, www.orlandodiocese.org.
The Year of Faith lasts from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013. Its first day, which Pope Benedict celebrated with a Mass in Rome, was also the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.