From the Catholic geek files news desk comes the exciting update that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, will engage in a historic moment on Friday when he activates a brand new smartphone app called “Missio”. I’ll share the full press release below, but just have to say that this is a fascinating development in the New Evangelization. Having recently had the opportunity to attend and speak at the National Meeting for Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, I truly feel a part of their “One Family in Mission“. To see them employing the most modern technology available to aid all of us in better understanding and embracing our role as missionaries is a true gift. I’ve already downloaded my Missio App and will be waiting and watching on Friday when Pope Francis “unlocks” it!
Pope Francis to ‘Launch’ New Mobile App entitled MISSIO
ROME – On the Friday before Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis is set to “unlock” a new media initiative of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States — MISSIO App.
“This App is a way for the Church and our Holy Father to reach the growing number of the world’s people who have access to handheld mobile devices — a way to connect as the one Body of Christ,” said Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. “We’re delighted our new Holy Father will ‘unlock’ the new App. What a great use of the Keys of St. Peter!” The launch will take place during an audience with the Pope of the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies who are participating in the annual meeting to distribute collected funds.
“Handheld mobile devices and smartphones are increasingly democratizing the information superhighway, and have a capacity to empower the poor in particular,” said Father Andrew. “In fact, by the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on earth than people. Smartphones worldwide exceed one billion, growing globally by some 40 percent a year, especially in the some of the poorest parts of the world served by the Pontifical Mission Societies, namely in Africa and Asia.”
Over three-quarters of Americans age 43 and under now use a smartphone. Research suggests mobile technology could benefit education in poor countries.
“The response of the Pope’s Twitter account has been phenomenal,” continued Father Andrew. “Jesus called people to be His followers, and if used properly, the new media allow for a more intimate relationship between peoples and nations, fostering peace and mutual-understanding.”
The App is currently available for download but remains in a “locked” position. During Friday’s event, the Pope will press a button marked “Evangelizantur” which is a Latin phrase meaning, “They have been evangelized.” Subsequently, a push notification will be sent to all those who have downloaded the App indicating that the Pope has launched the MISSIO App.
“Ever since his election, Pope Francis has reached far beyond the Vatican, touching people’s lives in simple and meaningful ways,” noted Father Andrew. “His great message of unity and communion will be expressed in this unique event, as he puts the missionary Gospel in the pockets of millions of people, young and old, rich and poor, believer and searcher.”
“With mission stories available in eight languages – English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic – the App fits very well with the Church’s celebration of Pentecost, when the disciples began preaching the Good News in all tongues and dialects,” he added.
Supported by Apple and Android devices, the App provides the Pope’s daily homily, and includes news from Rome and around the world. Sources are FIDES, the international news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and the Vatican’s own news site, News.va. There are videos as well, from Catholic News Service and News.va. MISSIO App includes photographs from various Missions around the world, intended to encourage personal reflection and prayer. There is also the opportunity for mission support.
To create the MISSIO App, the Pontifical Mission Societies commissioned Little i Apps, LLC, an App development company headed by Catholics committed to making connections, when able, between digital and sacred spaces, contributing in this way to efforts for the new evangelization.