Science & Tech
New iPhone app helps Catholics see the light

An iPhone with an older app aimed at helping Catholics through confession in Rome Feb. 9, 2011.

Credits: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

TYLER ORTON | QMI AGENCY

VANCOUVER -- The app is my shepherd.

Metro Vancouver Catholics unsatisfied using their iPhones just for Angry Birds can now seek some spiritual guidance from their Apple devices after the local archdiocese released an app that finds church locations and displays mass times.

The Vancouver Catholic Official Archdiocesan app can chart a route to a parish, share devotions and even tell users the exact time of confession at a particular church.

Archdiocese of Vancouver spokesman Paul Schratz said the app, which is available on iTunes, is aimed at locals looking to track down a church after visiting friends or attending a kid’s soccer game in an unfamiliar Lower Mainland community.

“We’re all very busy people, and we travel a lot on weekends and you don’t always have a chance to get to your home church.”

He said the app was developed after the archdiocese’s website registered a large number of hits for a search engine function allowing people to find nearby parishes, but Schratz acknowledged the tool could also help with dipping numbers at services.

“There is an issue with people drifting away on Sunday mornings because of their busyness,” he said.

“They find one weekend they don’t go, the next weekend it’s easier again not to go and they just get out of the habit.”

Despite the archdiocese’s willingness to embrace technology, Schratz said it’s still a good idea to turn off the phone before settling in a pew.

“It’s becoming more common to hear the priest or somebody make an announcement beforehand like, ‘Just like when you’re in the movie theatre, silence would be appreciated'.”
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