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iPad App Brings Daily Missal To Church Altars

June 21, 2010

An Italian priest has developed a new application for Apple’s popular iPad that will allow priests to celebrate mass using the device at the altar rather than using the traditional Roman missal.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Reverend Paolo Padrini, said Friday that the free application will be launched in July in five languages — English, French, Spanish, Italian and Latin — and will contain the complete missal.

The application will contain all that is said and sung during Mass throughout the liturgical year. Upgrades for the app will feature audio, commentaries and suggestions for homilies as well as musical accompaniment, Padrini told The Associated Press (AP).

Padrini also developed the iBreviary two years earlier. iBreviary is an application that brought the book of daily prayers onto iPhones. More than 200,000 people have downloaded that application, he said.

In a phone interview from his home parish in Tortona, Italy, Padrini told AP: “Paper books will never disappear.” But at the same time “we shouldn’t be scandalized that on altars there are these instruments in support of prayer.”

Padrini says he expects the iPad and the application will be most useful for priests who have to travel a lot for work. He noted that he recently had to celebrate mass in a small parish where the missal was a small, dirty and old book.

“If I had had my iPad with me, it would’ve been better than this old, tiny book,” he said.

Pope Benedict XVI has sought to reach out to young people through new media. The pope was reportedly given an iPod in 2006 to listen to his classical music on. The Vatican also has a regularly updated presence on YouTube and Facebook. Based on the success of iBreviary, Padrini was recruited by the Vatican to oversee its youth outreach program.

Padrini stressed that the iPad application was launched at his own establishment and with his own money and is not an official Vatican initiative. Vatican officials have previously praised iBreviary as a novel way of evangelizing.

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