The ‘Pad is Mightier than the Sword – App Review

Fr. Sam's cathPadFirst of all, I would like to introduce the newest convert To the Catholic Faith, my iPad! I have over the last week successfully transformed it into the “cathPad”. I will give an overview of the apps I have installed as well as tips and tricks that you can use when that Protestant is trying to disprove ie., the Perpetual Virginity of Mary or Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist. Do not let your guard down and “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15)

The iPad is a revolutionary tool that Catholics can take advantage of by cramming all that apologetics material in without having to carry a bag full of books and a laptop to do research. It has numerous study enhancements and with every update, the apps are getting even better.

Now, part of any “serious Catholic’s” collection are a few preliminary resources I feel are vital no matter what in which I will cover more in depth and show you how to integrate into your iPad in a bit:

1. A printed and digital Bible (I recommend the RSV-Revised Standard Version for those that want a good solid translation for biblical study and apologetics.

2. A copy of the Cathecism of the Catholic Church (I don’t know of any digital copies as of yet, hopefully that changes quick, but you can bookmark the usccb.org CCC site

3. Fr. James Farfaglia’s (noted author, pastor, and writer for catholic.org) new book “Get Serious – A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics”. It takes you through the pillars of daily life that a serious Catholic needs to have to enrich their spiritual lives. There is even a version in pdf for download which you can access in your iBooks app for $9.99. Order it from here.

4. Something to follow along with the daily readings of the Mass with meditations on those readings preferable.

These are some of my recommendations that you should have in place already. Next, let’s move on to the techy stuff.

Out of the box, you should first set up the basics such as syncing your iPad to your computer, setting up your email account (I recommend setting up a Google account, much better, in my opinion, than Yahoo and other – you can sync your Google email, contacts and calendar. For steps on syncing your Google account click here), and choosing a religious background of Blessed Mother or your patron saint (keeps the nasties at bay).

After thats done, then we can talk about how to make your iPad the newest Catholic convert.

This is a brief list of apps that I recommend adding to your new “cathPad”:

1. The Divine Office app. This, in my opinion is the best Liturgy of the Hours app made. It has a great GUI with a feel of the real deal. It also has the audio for the hours that helps one get started on how the divine office is supposed to be prayed or for those that want to follow along with the audio. At $14.99 it may be priced to high for some, but the sacrifice is well worth it. Still, a free option is the iBreviary app, which still is a nice, but a more basic app without the feature of accessing without WiFi.

2. The iMissal app. This is a nice app which includes the daily readings, a liturgical calendar, and Catholic prayers. You can skip to a different day if need be (like the upcoming Sunday mass for liturgy prep) without the need for WiFi. Again, this is a paid app, $4.99 which might be a little steep for some, so the iBreviary is a great free alternative without the option to skip around to different days or the option to access without WiFi.

3. Barnes and Noble Nook or Amazon Kindle app with the Ignatius RSV Bible e-book. I personally prefer the Nook app because of the options to search, copy and paste, look up in the dictionary a word or series of words right within the same app. The Nook app is free, but the Ignatius RSV Bible e-book is $9.99. There are also all kinds of Catholic books available for instant download. iBooks is also a great app with a great variety of Catholic books available for purchase, but without the option of downloading the Ignatius RSV Bible. One cool thing about iBooks is that you can download PDF files and access them in your iBooks library just like an e-book.

 4. The iPieta app. This is a very phenomenal app with so many pluses. For the small price of $2.99, this app is among the top Catholic apps in my opinion because of the shear amount of information it includes. There are a few little quirks I wish could be improved, but for the price, I’ll live with them. iPieta is an app that includes the Doay Rheims Bible, liturgical calendar, Catholic Prayers and a ton of saint books, the Baltimore Catechism, information about the saints of the liturgical year, Ecumenical Councils, Papal teachings, The Summa Theologica , bible commentaries, and so much more. It includes a stack of books from the floor to the ceiling…literally! This is not just excerpts, but complete works! It has an e-reader type feel to it when you open one of the books you want to read. Just one of the writings is worth a lot more than $2.99! This is definitely one of my favorites.

5. Read it Later Pro. This app is awesome because it enables you to surf the ‘net and save whatever pages you encounter for later reading. You can save articles, how-to’s, bios, and anything else you want to put aside to read later on without the need for WiFi! I’ve recently used this app in apologetics and foresee using it a lot more in the future. Load your library with quick references from Catholic.com, EWTN.com, SalvationHistory.com or whatever other apologetics sites you may encounter. This app also converts pages from page form to an e-reader look extracting it into an optimized text-only view without all the extra unnecessary graphics and banners. This app is $2.99 and worth every penny!

6. GoTasks. This is a Google Tasks client app. You can make simple check lists that you can access from anything that has internet access. You can make separate lists for groceries, to do, shopping lists, or whatever other lists you want to access. Save time, paper and simplify your different lists into one easy to use app! You can see me shopping in the grocery store proudly sporting my “cathPad” loaded with this app! If you’re a list nut like I am, this becomes one of the most used apps, and best of all — IT’S FREE!!

7. Evernote. By far the best note-taker app out there in my opinion. It has a very user-friendly GUI that anyone can use, yet has enough features for the blood thirsty complicated note-taker. I recommend this app for the occasional jotter, the student note-taker, teacher, the studier, and yes – the apologist. This is the app I use to write blogs, copy and paste into from different sources, and just to jot a few things down. **Note: I also use the plain note pad that comes with the iPad when I have a quick note that I just need to temporarily take down, but if it’s something I want to file away, I’ll use Evernote. Yes, you can access your notes without WiFi. Evernote is FREE to download, so you have nothing to lose!

8. MyPad+ . This is the best Facebook app that I have experienced on the iPad. I like the look and feel of navigating Facebook with this app. I has pretty much all the options that Facebook does in the browser with small exceptions, but the typical user they will not be missed. MyPad+ has a few more options than the free version, but for $.99 who’s counting? CAUTION: Using Facebook can become addicting, and MyPad+ raises this to a new bar! Use at your own risk! Social media is the future for evangelization, so if you’re skeptical about Facebook, see what the Church is saying about social media!

9. Zinio magazine app. Whoa!!! Hold on to your hat, the future of technology is leading us deeper and deeper into new and exciting ventures! Just imagine an age when people no longer know what a paper magazine looks like. Well, with e-magazines, this is the future of the average joe. Bye Bye paper! Hello gorgeous LED-backlit 1024 by 768 pixel HD resolution at 132 pixels per inch! Best of all, the e-magazines are interactive with built-in video and links to external web pages. One of my new favorite magazines is Mother Earth News which includes loads of information about saving money, living naturally, eating right, protecting the earth, and simply being a good steward with what our Lord has given us. It is our obligation to practice good stewardship and the Mother Earth News magazine helps us do just that! The app is free and Mother Earth News runs right at $10.00 for a year’s paper subscription including access to the digital editions as well right from the Zinio app.

10. Netflix for iPad. Anyone who doesn’t know what Netflix is by now……welcome to planet Earth! The Netflix app takes your instant streaming account and allows you to watch any instant streaming movie right on your iPad via your data plan or WiFi without any extra charge above your Netflix membership. Netflix, in my opinion, is a great alternative to cable, if you want to go hard-core on cutting expenses and cutting out all the smut out of your daily life. Cable – BOO! Netflix – YEAH! **A Netflix account is required to use this app, you can go to http://www.Netflix.com for different options for levels of membership.

This is a just brief look at a few of my favorite apps. If you have any that you want to add, leave a comment – other Catholics are depending on you! Stay tuned for more app reviews, as well as, tips and tricks for evangelization and apologetics.

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Author:John Sena

I am a husband and father of 4 young children that we homeschool. I am a totally avid technology nerd with special interests in smartphones, tablet pc's, laptops, desktops, wireless technologies, and the integration of technology into the "New Evangelization" through different internet-based mediums, as well as any new technology coming out that allows an individual to simplify the daily noise of everyday life. I have experience and knowledge in graphic design, web design/developing, internet marketing, technological repair, cell phones, and have interests in basically anything else technology based. I work in the aviation field and am a die-hard Catholic that does not waver on Church teaching and will never waver on the stance of the Church. I believe firmly in the family as the fundamental structure of the Church and in the need for the socialization of fellow Catholics in communal celebrations that integrate the rich liturgical life and structure of the Church into the day to day of the laity.
  • Craig

    Nice list!

    Couple others I’ve found…InstaPaper Pro (it’s similar to Read It Later) and SimpleNote (stripped down notes app)

    • John Sena

      Thanks for the input Craig!

  • Alex

    Great blog entry…but the picture is not a good representation of the uses of the IPAD.  We should not use the IPAD for the liturgy (I am referring to liturgical usage and not personal usage).  The books used during the divine liturgy have been consecrated for that specific purpose.  You cannot do that with an IPAD.  Image using the IPAD for the sacred readings during Holy Mass at the altar and then later using for Facebook.  That would be base and crude  Here is a USCCB blog about the topic http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com/2011/08/sacred-liturgy-in-digital-age.html.