Irish Dominican brother develops app for the 50th Eucharistic Congress

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On the 24th of January 2011, Pope Benedict XVI released his message for the 45th World Communications Day. In it, he reminded all Catholics of the need to witness to the truth in this new digital age of internet communication and social networking.  He reminds us that, "there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others." The Dominican Order has indeed risen to the challenge and this is what connects the Dominicans with the business of designing apps.

The Church in Ireland is preparing for the biggest Church event to take place on the Island nation since Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Visit in 1979. The one month countdown to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012) is being marked in Ireland with a special Mass celebrated by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown on Sunday 6th May. The Congress itself will be held in Dublin from  10-17 June, 2012.

In conjunction with the final countdown, IEC2012 organisers have also launched a free iPhone and iPad App. Using 21st century technology, the IEC2012 App gives pilgrims from all over the world the opportunity to experience the Congress. The App was designed exclusively for Congress pilgrims by Dutch Dominican Friar Luuk Dominiek Jansen, OP.

Bro. Luuk Jansen who is currently studying in the Irish Province has some experience in developing applications or 'Apps' for the iPad, iPhone and similar devices. According to him,

“I feel that being part of the Dominican Order, still a student at the moment, we are trying to look at new ways of communicating as a lot of the traditional ways of bringing the Gospel to people, is becoming harder, especially here in Ireland where there are less people going to Mass or involved in prayer meetings although still a lot of people are interested in their faith. It seems to me important to grow with the rest of society in using modern means of communication. The app is just one vehicle to bring content to people and help them to discover their faith”.

Bro. Luuk, a former agnostic, revealed that he hopes the Eucharistic Congress will help people discover God, just as he did over 9 years ago while working as an engineer in Galway, through an encounter with a Catholic colleague who challenged his certainty that God didn’t exist. An encounter that changed his life and lead him to make a life changing decision. He is currently studying philosophy and theology with the hope of being ordained a priest. He will deliver a workshop in the Youth Space during the Congress programme about his journey from agnostic to becoming a religious friar in the Dominican Order.

The App provides a comprehensive guide for pilgrims to the Congress programme including a pilgrim guide, a pastoral resources tool, and news and multimedia feeds. Additional functions within the App include a daily guide for pilgrims about Congress events in the RDS; where the main Congress programme, youth programme, prayer space programme, children’s programme and exhibitions take place. Information is also fed through the App about the host churches' programme that will run across 34 Dublin Churches and Statio Orbis in Croke Park. The App also provides a map and GPS locations for each scheduled event on the Congress programme. Pilgrims will be able to locate where they want to go and how to get there.

It is important to note that the Dominicans already have a free App in the market known as iDoms Portal. This app was created jointly by Friars from St. Joseph Province and the Province of Ireland and is suitable for both the iPhone/iTouch and the iPad.

As a way of continuing the evangelization in the digital age, the App provides access to articles, videos and audio files aggregated from the various websites of the Dominican Order. Future updates of the application will provide access to a wider variety of content and will introduce extra functionality. The Brothers have also created an App which can be used as a Vocabulary/Flashcard training tool for Greek, Latin and Hebrew, the iDoms Vocab. You can read more about it here: the iTunes store

So, if you have an iPhone/iTouch or iPad read more on the iDoms Portal App page or download the iDoms Portal app from iTunes.

Full Interview with Vatican Radio:  http://www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=585317