Apr 112017

Since I started attending the Traditional Latin Mass on Sundays I thought it was time to get a good 1962 Missal to use. I had considered buying the one from [Baronius Press][press]. For one I have other of their books and they are super high quality so I knew I could not go wrong. Still I took the question to social media and got several suggestions including Baronius Press’s offering.

One suggestion surprised me, using an app called iMass. This was suggested by several TLM goers of whom I have respect for. Now I am pretty geekly and use technology a lot, but did I want to use it during Mass? Plus there was the dichotomy of using a phone app during the TLM. Are you allowed to only use technology developed up to 1962?

Plus there is a vanity in me that doesn’t want to stick out. I figured if I started using a phone app during Mass the other Mass goers would be all like this:

Still I have noticed that more and more people are using phone apps during Mass for the readings. Something not confined to just younger people, but something I have observed across age groups. Still my first reaction when I see somebody holding a phone during Mass is:

Couldn’t they wait to text later on! Oh wait they have a app with the Mass readings.

So I decided to give the iMass app a tryout.

Now this app contains a full Missal along with the Breviary in multiple languages including Latin. You can even view live streams of Latin Masses and Liturgies.

So previously while attending the Latin Mass I used the booklet they hand out that helps you to follow along to an extent. The iMass app lets you fully follow along.

The app is used in landscape mode so that you can see both the Latin and the English text. I have an iPhone 7 Plus so the screen size is pretty much perfect for this. Mostly you just scroll along as you coordinate what the priest is saying to where you are in the Missal. Mostly I was able to do this despite the priest being soft spoken. I also found that I was able to read the English text as I was doing this and stay in place. The rubrics also help you to identify where you are in the Mass based on what the priest is doing. Besides just using the scrolling there is also quick navigation to the top or next section.

So I was pretty impressed with how useful this was since if I was using a Missal I would have been skipping around more. So mostly I was able to stay focused on the Mass and to see the translation.

This app is on both iOS and Android.

So when it comes to using technology for prayer I have a simple test. Does it actually help me pray or is it a distraction? Or a distraction to others. The iMass app passes this test for me.

I once suggested the iHALO a visual indicator showing you are using a Mass appropriate app.

Speaking of Mass related technologies. Recently Apple came out with Theater Mode on the Apple Watch. This is different than just the mute button. In addition to muting, the watch would not light up when you moved your wrist.

So I now call this Mass mode and I now always put my watch in this mode before entering the church along with muting my phone. I wish the watch could mute both. Now I am pretty good about remembering to mute my phone before entering the church, I just usually forget to un-mute it later on. The “Mass Mode” provides me a reminder that I am muted and to remember to turn off “Mass Mode” and to un-mute my phone.

  10 Responses to “Using Apps during Mass”

  1. It sounds great but we really have to think about mobile phones in church and in the queue for the confessional. This is time for God, not for checking our phones, not for the screen of our phones disturbing the prayer of others. I’m happy if apps have a night-time mode but Christians have to think about loving their neighbours in church and not disturbing inspirations from, and communications with, the Creator. Serious thinking needed here and serious conversation among the regulars at Mass, in church and so on.

    • “It sounds great but we really have to think about mobile phones… in the queue for the confessional. ”

      I use an app with a number of very good examination of conscience features while un line for confession. Plus all the prayers.

      Maybe phones are distracting at times, but there is no way I can carry in paper everything Laudate has in my pocket.

    • Hmmmm, there’s a thought…”the screen of our phones disturbing the prayer of others”. So what about the holy pictures printed inside my missal “disturbing the prayer of others”? Must I then stop using my missal at Mass? Or what about the obviously reverent sign of the cross I make “disturbing the prayer of others”? Must I then revert back to the slipshod manner that resembles wiping cobwebs away from my face? Or the slow way I shuffle up to receive Holy Communion due to my arthritis “disturbing the prayer of others”? Must I then wait until the end of the line and let others go ahead of me more speedily? But oh wait, then I keep Father waiting and that might disturb his prayer and why should he have to suffer, right? Frankly, I think the solution is an oldie but a goodie — custody of the eyes. That places the responsibility precisely where it belongs — on the individual whose attention is wandering. And along with custody of the eyes goes custody of the imagination and the mind. Apps on cell phones are nothing new, not even in church. They’ve been around for years already, at least here in my diocese. If it’s not this, it’s something else, and, given our human nature, we can easily find fault with the other person. Let’s not.

  2. You may like http://divinumofficium.com/
    All possible information for free in your browser.

  3. I recently also started using iMass, but I am a bit worried that my iPhone warned me about the app being not updated (last update Oct 2012 when it went to 3.0), and though a web search reveals a page about version 5.0 coming “soon”, there’s no release date listed. I do hope that they are working on it diligently and release it before the current version stops working!

  4. If you came to my Mass I would ask you to turn off your phone altogether, irrespective of whether you were i-missaling or whatever-ing. The Mass is holy; we do not need extra screens in our churches. Can’t you put your phone away all together for the 40 or so minutes it takes to participate in the sacred mysteries? The trouble with digital screens is that they attract far more attention that a missal does. As a priest I have noticed that even if you put a prayer that everybody knows, e.g., Lord’s Prayer on a screen in the church, the congregation look at the screen instead of the altar. No more screens please!

  5. Interesting post Jeff, glad to hear the backstory on your social media query. Love me my Baronius, but you make an indisputably good point about not having to skip around. The landscape mode would be annoying for me since I have a small screen iphone but for the cheap price of the app I’ll get it!

    As far as distractions, I’m far more distracted by the fellow with a missal since I’m drawn to books like a duck to water, and phones don’t interest me.

  6. Jeff, I hope you’re feeling better after the death of your wife.

    Long story short, as for cell phones in church… if it was only people as yourself using them, I would most likely probably agree with it.

    Longer story shorter, there are people in some churches nowadays talking while people are praying and to top it all, some even talk while the priest is performing Mass. What really concerns me is how atheist might use this to their advantage to brain wash some… especially children who might be tempted to who knows… maybe taking pictures and/or videos… by accident mind you… but then again they could probably go to confession with their cell phone.

    Happy Easter


    God Bless


  8. Been tempted many times to use the divinumofficium app when I forget my missal, but I don’t. Way too distracting for others. Don’t do it! It will be the beginning of the end for the Extraordinary form.

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