Archbishop Leo Cushley of the Scottish Archdiocese of St. Andrew's and Edinburg launches the new Catholic App in St. Peter's Square on Nov. 22. CNA photo/Lucía Ballester

Catholic App brings GPS power to confession

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  • December 5, 2016

If you've got sins that need absolving or a conscience to be cleared, yes … there's an app for that.

The Catholic App — nicknamed "Sindr" because of use of its geolocation technology similar to the popular dating app Tinder — seeks to assist sinners find their way to the nearest opportunity for Reconciliation.

The first version of the app is expected to be available in early 2017 in Scotland's Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. There are no plans yet for a similar app in Toronto.

“The idea really was inspired by the Holy Father himself,” said Archbishop Leo Cushley, who previewed the app at the Vatican last month. “He said to be imaginative about what do for the Holy Year of Mercy. So we decided wouldn't it be nice to have our own app … to help people find their way to confession.”

The application is a joint effort between the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and Musemantik, a digital development company based in Scotland. In addition to scouting a parishioner's best bet to quickly confess their sins, users can search for Mass and Adoration opportunities.

Initially the application will only service Cushley's archdiocese, however the idea is that others from around the world will input the information from the parishes within their respective diocese.

Musemantik's founder, Maciej Zurawski, told the Telegraph in London that websites are on the way out.

“Websites are losing popularity,” he told the paper. “What is needed to engage with the mobile generation is an app that is smart and personal, an app that is like a companion, a friend that takes the initiative to inspire you – that’s the vision behind the Catholic App.”

In Toronto, the Archdiocese's emphasis has been on bringing all its 225 parishes online by creating a streamlined website development platform and template modeled after www.archtoronto.org. This allows parishes to produce and maintain their own website while preserving consistency in look and feel across the archdiocese.

“The biggest challenge is that things are always changing," said Bill Steinburg, the Archdiocese's communications manager. "We're not helping someone if they are trying to come back to the church and they end up showing up at the church door at the wrong time and it is locked.”

By the end of 2016 he expects to have 125 parishes online. The archdiocese also uses sub-sites to promote events such as the Days of Confession, meant to encourage confessions similar to the Catholic App.

“I really do hope that we have an app specific to the Archdiocese of Toronto one day,” Steinburg said. “To be honest there are enough people out there that I end up having at least one conversation a month with a company that builds apps.”

Josh Canning, founder of the online-only Canadian Catholic, said he has used other apps specific to Catholics and is encouraged by this new one.

"In the same way the Church has been at the forefront of arts and communication throughout her history, to share her message and to help people on the path of following Jesus, she needs to be at the forefront of new ways of reaching people today." he said.

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