Our Ordinariate co-blogger from the Ozarks in downstate Missouri, Shane Schaetzel, has made an interesting suggestion for smartphone and tablet fans:
… Now, as a member of the U.S. Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, I would like to put out a call and a challenge to everyone who has an interest in the ordinariates. You know, just as well as I do, how important the prayerbook is the the Anglican patrimony. For centuries, Anglicans used the Book of Common Prayer as their devotional guide, both publicly and privately. In the interest of promoting the Anglican patrimony in the Catholic Church, I am calling upon those who have the ability to put a small hand-held prayerbook into the hands of every ordinariate Catholic in the world. I’m talking about something that is comprehensive and yet small enough to take anywhere: to work, to school, travelling, etc. It needs to include all of the ordinariate rites approved by Rome, as well as those left over from the old Book of Divine Worship, but most importantly, it needs to be something that includes a practical guide to Anglo-Roman-Catholic private devotion…
- Personal Prayers & Devotions (including family prayers & devotions)
- The Daily Office from the BDW, and/or the Customary of our Lady of Walsingham with Psalter (with citations for readings)
- Divine Worship — the Mass — Holy Eucharist (with lectionary citations)
- Reception of Communion outside of Mass
- A Short Q&A Catechism
Now, if I may make a practical suggestion. While hardback, leatherback, and paperback versions are definitely needed eventually, perhaps some even attached to an RSV-CE Bible translation, I think the best place to start with this is electronically in the form of a smartphone and tablet application.
The reason why I say this is because in these early days of development, things are still a bit fluid. There will be small changes here and there. That’s to be expected. So what is needed is a single, handheld version of this new and revised Book of Divine Worship that can quickly adapt, and people can update automatically with a simple download. The application should be “stand-alone,” which means that once downloaded, it should not be dependent on an Internet connection for daily readings and such. This would make it possible for users to continue with their regular daily devotions, even in areas where Internet connection is spotty. It needs to be simple and easy to use, with hypertext links and guided readings. The user cannot get bogged down in losing his place, or trying to figure out what comes next. It all has to be seamless and simple. This is especially important for the daily office, but should also be applicable to the mass as well. Some good examples of stand-alone applications that follow this pattern are Universalis and iPray. The iPray app is an Anglican stand-alone application for the American 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which includes some additional Anglo-Catholic devotions. The Universalis app is for the Novus Ordo of the Roman Rite and does a better job with formatting, clarity and ease of use. I should point out here that the framework for the Anglican Use Daily Office has already been done on the Internet at Book of Hours. However, what we need for the ordinariates is something that is stand-alone, with automatic updates, uses the iPray and Universalis formats as a baseline, but is not limited to the daily office. We need something that does the same thing with the mass as well, and can easily reference all the other rites and devotions I’ve cited above. Yes, this is doable. I’m not enough of a computer whizz to do it myself, but I do know enough about computers to know this is very, VERY possible and practical. All you need is a computer whizz, and an Ordinary in England who is fully behind the project. (Hint toward Monsignor Newton here.) Of course, support from the other two ordinaries would be very helpful as well. After the electronic application has been in use for a while, and things have settled down into more permanent and reliable practices, the handheld print versions (hardback, leatherback & paperback) of this revised Book of Divine Worship can be published.
This electronic application would not be used in liturgical settings of course, except by the laity in their pews. Celebrants of liturgy need to have hardback books to do things properly and tastefully. This application would primarily serve the laity, but also be useful for priests while they travel, so they don’t have to lug heavy books around with them just to say the office or give an official blessing.
Admit it. The time has come. This is a fantastic and practical way for the Ordinariate Use to make its debut in the 21st century. A stand-alone electronic application will revolutionise the Anglican Patrimony for modern Catholics, getting it into the hands of as many people as possible, at an absolute minimum cost. A one-time download fee of $5 (US) would more than cover the cost of making the application, and let’s face it, $5 (US) is a bargain for a prayerbook! So there you have it. I’ve presented y’all with a vision. Now, let’s see if the right people will make it happen.