Cell phone apps, Web sites assist the faithful during Lent

March 10, 2015

Some Catholics use the season of Lent as a time to fast from technology that can distract them from prayer and from God. But if giving up a phone or computer doesn't seem like a viable option, there are ways to use these tools to grow in faith this year.

During the season of Lent, the faithful are called to deepen their prayer life in anticipation of the celebration of Easter. Yet many people struggle to find the time in the midst of their busy schedules and hectic lives.

Thankfully, there are now a variety of Catholic Web sites and apps that can help people find time to pray and grow in faith wherever, and whenever, they have time.

So, instead of people checking Facebook or playing games on their phone, these resources help to take advantage of God's gifts during the Lenten season.

• When are we supposed to fast and abstain during Lent, and what do these practices entail? Visit www.archgh.org/lent.

• Did you know what you can read Pope Francis' Message for Lent online? Visit http://bit.ly/PopeLentMessage.

• The U.S. Bishops Conference offers a variety of online resources, including prayers, videos and more. Visit www.usccb.org/lent/.

• Laudate is free app available for both iOS and Android. It also includes daily Mass readings and Order of Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross, Confession preparation with examination of conscience, various prayers in Latin with English translation, daily meditations, the New American Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and more. Visit http://bit.ly/LaudateAppDownload.

• CRS Rice Bowl App for both iOS and Android was created by Catholic Relief Services. This app takes a unique twist on almsgiving by putting a price on various items people may give up for Lent. With values in dollars, people can donate that amount to CRS through the app or make a pledge. The app also includes reflections for each day of Lent, stories and videos of people who benefit from prayers and almsgiving to CRS Rice Bowl, and even meatless recipes for Fridays during Lent. Visit www.crs.org/ricebowl-app/.

• The Pope App, available for both iOS and Android, is all about the Pope and is powered by news.va, which is run by the Pontifical Council for Social Communication. The Pope App gives you the latest news and information on the Pope as produced by the Vatican's own media services and featured on News.va, the official network hub of Vatican communication. The app allows you to follow live streaming of papal events, receive notifications of important events, view papal photos, videos, @Pontifex tweets, full texts of homilies and speeches, a calendar of events and links to all the Vatican media. Visit www.news.va/thepopeapp/.