While good Catholic booksellers and piety stalls often have an excellent range of books to nourish the spiritual life, there are an increasing number of very useful apps available for download to your iPhone or Android smartphone.
There are many apps which will help you to pray the Rosary, prepare better for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and say your daily prayers.
In this article, I will refer to just a few of the free or inexpensive apps which will help you to pray ... and enhance your understanding of the faith.
Two of these general apps are iPieta and Laudate.
iPieta is an extraordinary app, containing official Catholic documents, teachings, books, catechetical texts, prayers, and liturgical calendars.
With the iPieta app, these Catholic treasures are instantly available, at home or on the go, for teaching, on the spot apologetics, and for the benefit of your own soul and those around you. It contains:
• Two Bibles: Douay-Rheims and Clementine Vulgate.
• Several catechisms: Baltimore Catechisms 1-3 (original), the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, the Roman Catechism, and the Catechism of St Thomas Aquinas.
• Both the Ordinary (Novus Ordo) and Extraordinary (Tridentine) calendars with access to the day's Gospel and other Readings from the Douay-Rheims and Vulgate.
• Numerous devotions and prayers, including 33-Day Total Consecration Preparation, Novena to the Holy Spirit, St Alphonsus Stations of the Cross, and the St Bridget 1-Year and 12-Year Prayers.
• Spiritual works from authors including St Louis de Montfort, St Teresa of Jesus, St John of the Cross, St Catherine of Siena, St Thomas Aquinas ( Summa and Catena Aurea), St Francis de Sales and St John Vianney.
• Papal Encyclicals and Conciliar Documents.
• Fathers of the Church (Erdman's collection).
• Scripture for the Holy Rosary, Examination of Conscience, and Butler's Saint of the Day.
All this is available for just $1.29 from the iTunes store. The size of the download is over 180Mb, so you will need a wifi connection to download it all.
The Android version comes as several downloads. The core app is called iPieta, and costs $0.99. It contains prayers, bibles, biblical commentaries, calendars (Traditional and Novus Ordo), and catechisms.
The other modules (available free) can be downloaded separately, and interact seamlessly with the core module.
Laudate (the Latin word meaning "Praise") is another extraordinary app, available for both iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets. It is a 20Mb download.
This app began its life as "Mass Readings", then became CatholicOne, before taking its present name to reflect the breadth of its functions.
It includes a suite of modules, including daily Mass readings (US text), Order of Mass, Liturgy of the Hours and the New American Bible.
It also includes the Rosary and Latin Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Seven Sorrows Rosary, Chaplet of St Michael, Holy Wounds Chaplet, St Jude Chaplet, Franciscan Crown Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and Saint of the Day.
It also includes the full Catechism of Catholic Church, Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), Daily Examination of Conscience, various prayers and prayers in Latin with English translation, and podcast for Rosary and Stations of the Cross.
Further, it contains daily meditations, and you can download the Douay-Rheims Bible for offline use, Vatican II documents, Code of Canon Law, and the Holy Father's Encyclical letters.
Another free general app is Pocket Catholic which contains prayer and devotional material of particular interest to Catholics.
While its focus is on Mass readings, and finding local churches in the United States, it also offers online access to the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) audio, and has sections which assist you to say the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and make an Act of Contrition.
There are a large number of Bible apps for both Protestants and Catholics, some of which contain particular translations of the bible, while others add commentaries.
The most common free Catholic bibles are the Douay-Rheims translation of the Vulgate and the Challoner version. However, both of these are based on St Jerome's Latin bible, an excellent translation, but one which was based on the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament, rather than the Hebrew Bible.
A more comprehensive app, using more recent bible translations, is the Catholic Study Bible App, based on the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition Bible.
The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (also known as the RSV-CE) is an English-language adaptation of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) Bible for use by Catholics, published in the 1960s.
It is accepted as one of the most accurate and literary Bible translations suitable for Catholic use.
Early in 2006, Ignatius Press released the RSV-CE 2nd Edition.
This edition removed archaic pronouns (such as thee and thou) and the accompanying verb forms (didst, speaketh). It also revised passages used in the lectionary according to the Vatican document Liturgiam Authenticam, and exchanged some texts with footnotes in passages that were favoured by traditional or familiar Catholic renderings.
For example, the controversy over Isaiah 7:14 in the Protestant RSV was resolved by replacing "young woman" with "virgin", as Catholics (as well as Protestants) point to this verse as foretelling the role of the Virgin Mary in the birth of Christ.
This app also includes a free selection from the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Ignatius-Lighthouse Edition - the annotated Gospel of John. In addition, the app allows users to purchase, at a special discount price, the full app annotated by Dr Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.