An interesting suggestion from the Catholic in the Ozarks – an Ordinariate Use app

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
  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Matrimony
  • Reconciliation
  • Healing
  • Funerals
  • Blessings
  • 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.

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6 Responses to An interesting suggestion from the Catholic in the Ozarks – an Ordinariate Use app

  1. EPMS says:

    Expect a miracle. But a normal uptake for à successful non-profit app is 20,000 in the first month. This is about 9 times total Ordinariate membership.

    • EPMS, I am really getting rather fed up. Must you always be so negative? I have already deleted a couple of your most defeatist comments.

      We are all not enthralled by the relatively low number of faithful who have followed the Ordinariate idea so far and the relatively high age of those who have. Had the Ordinariates come 20 years earlier they would be considerably larger than today, and I must say that I am still hopeful that many of those who entered the Catholic Church back then may find their way into our midst. After all, I myself “swam the Tiber” in 1969.

      Who is to say what the situation will be in 20 years’ time, when the Ordinariates will have had a chance to make an impact in the Church? The Pastoral Provision only ever managed to muster SEVEN communities. We are already a long way beyond that, with nigh on 100 communities worldwide, 12 former bishops, 150 priests in less than 3 years, several seminarians on their way, and a sizeable number of religious.

      Our task is now to evangelise. In mainland Europe we hope to have the Mass being celebrated in English by Ordinariate priests and affiliates at four or five locations, hopefully the beginning of some new Ordinariate groups. Two of the American parishes that I am aware of have started missions elsewhere. Individuals and groups are being received by most Ordinariate communities. Especially those which are parishes or medium-sized missions are very active liturgically, socially, catechetically and in various kinds of apostolates.

      So please support our progress rather than talking us down.

      I would prefer you ceased to write comments on this blog, if you cannot be constructive. Instead come and join us and contribute to our success.

      Pax et bonum

      David Murphy

      • jeff says:

        I just read on the Foolishness blog that the Canadian deanery of the Chair of St Peter just got three new members and here’s the thing–none of them were former Anglicans. All came from other Protestant traditions. (Admin: This news is online here too.)

        A decent percentage of young seekers of the faith have computers and the internet and know about the TLM and the Ordinariates. The Ordinariate spirituality isn’t just attractive to Anglicans but other Protestants as well. We can expect to see a decent trickle of converts to the Church (and not just former Anglicans, but anything from former pentecostals to atheists to Hindus) seek out entry via the Ordinariates. These guys will marry and bring up their children in the Ordinariate. This will take time but I’m confident that it will grow slowly and almost imperceptably but steadily.

  2. EPMS says:

    Fair enough. Your tone, certainly, is always positive but realistic, or perhaps I mean positive AND realistic.

  3. derek siemens says:

    Sign me up! I would love to contribute, but have neither the time nor expertise. However, i would certainly commit to paying more than 5$ if it helps to get this idea up and running!

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