Area Catholics now can grow in faith while not turning away from their smartphone or mobile device.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend announced Tuesday it has launched a My Year of Faith mobile app and blog in conjunction with the Catholic Church's worldwide Year of Faith observance, which began Oct. 11 and continues through Nov. 24, 2013.
The mobile app also fits in with Pope Benedict XVI's call for the church to “witness to the Gospel in the digital age,” a diocesan news release said.
The app, developed by Catholic-oriented Little i Apps LLC of South Bend, is available for iOS and Android devices and can be purchased from the iTunes store and Android Markets for 99 cents. Daily reflections also can be accessed free via the blog at www.myyearoffaith.com.
The app and blog offer short daily reflections on topics including the Apostle's Creed, 10 Commandments, what happens at Mass, prayers and traditions, family faith, and other topics, the news release said.
The app and blog also have a daily challenge related to the day's posted thoughts to encourage users to grow in faith through prayer, reading or actions. The app's calendar can be customized so users can add their own prayers and reminders.
Contributors to the app and blog include well-known Catholic bloggers, authors and speakers as well as bishops, priests and local lay men and women, the news release said.
Nationally known people expected to contribute include Lisa Hendey, author and founder of CatholicMom.com (including this Thursday); The Rev. Leo Patalinghug, a priest, author and chef who has appeared on major TV networks such as ABC, CBS and Food Network; and Brandon Vogt, a Catholic blogger and author of “The Church and New Media.”
Content provided by local people will come in various forms, said Megan Oberhausen, associate director of the diocese's Office of Youth Ministry. The youth ministry office is a part of the Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries.
Each Friday or Saturday, a priest or deacon from the diocese will write a reflection on a Scripture passage being read at that Sunday's Mass, Oberhausen said.
The diocese also schedules the topics that will be written about each day, and selects diocesan residents to write about some of them, she said.
For example, for this past Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, the diocese invited Fort Wayne college student Flower Ortega to write about Christ the King through her experience at the Catholic Church's 2011 World Youth Day in Spain.
Ryan Guthrie of Fort Wayne, the organizer of a support group for young adults with chronic illness, recently wrote a post about redemptive suffering, Oberhausen said. Emily MacMichael, a young mother of a 1-year-old, wrote about how the liturgical calendar gives rhythm to daily life.
The My Year of Faith blog currently doesn't allow people to leave comments, Oberhausen said. The diocese has not yet worked out a plan to moderate the blog closely enough and to respond to questions, she said.
However, the blog posts are put on the diocese's My Year of Faith Twitter and Facebook accounts, and people can ask questions and leave comments via those two social media, she said.
The accounts are @MyYearOfFaith on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/MyYearOfFaith on Facebook.