The Catholic Church in Scotland has unveiled a pioneering app for smartphones and tablets it says will help people to stay connected to its work and teachings.
In what is being described as the world’s first interactive mass and confession finder app, Catholics across the country will be able to find churches and services close to them and receive regular news.
The Catholic App, developed in partnership with Edinburgh-based technology firm, Musemantik, is powered by GPS technology, a relatively old innovation but one the app’s developers believe could bring far reaching benefits.
Dr Maciej Zurawski, the company’s founder and CEO, said the Catholic App as “personal, compassionate technology” that can “change minds and hearts.”
Rather than an impersonal website, he said the mobile software acted like “a friend that takes the initiative to inspire you.”
As well as providing information of nearby services, the app sends out regular “spiritual inspirations” to users. It also stands to assist dioceses by attracting younger Catholics, providing statistics about when and where masses and confessions are most needed, and cutting down on the costs of printing standard literature.
Dr Zurawski explained: “Mobile technology is transforming the world, society, industry and human interactions. It has already transformed how we engage with the world and each other. Even websites are losing popularity as people spend more and more time using mobile apps, which can provide a superior user experience. Mobile apps can be so engaging that they can in fact influence someone’s behaviour and change their life.
“We’re interested in mobile apps for health and wellbeing. There are already plenty of apps for optimising physical health but we believe much more engaging apps are needed for spiritual wellbeing. They have the potential to change and deepen how we grow spiritually.”
The firm hopes other Catholic dioceses around the world will purchase the app, with five others in Scotland already said to be interested.
The Catholic Church in Scotland said the app was a “personal thank you to Pope Francis” in the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The app, which be released next year, was unveiled today by Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh while on a visit to the Vatican.
He said: “This is a little bit of smart technology that could make a big impact on how the Catholic Church brings the mercy of God and the joy of the Gospel to our contemporary world.”
The launch event was attended by Monsignor Dario Vigano, prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication.
He said: “I congratulate Archbishop Cushley, the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh and the Catholic Church in Scotland for being so imaginative in responding to the Holy Father’s call to bring the mercy of God to modern society by means of modern communications.”