LINE TO HEAVEN The Click to Pray app, designed to allow the faithful to pray with a click, is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken in Rome on Oct. 19. —REUTERS
VATICAN CITY—It’s so secular, clicking to order food, clicking to buy shoes or clicking to reserve tickets.
Pope Francis wants you to click to pray.
The Click to Pray app is being relaunched, the Vatican said on Tuesday, permitting more Catholic faithful to “connect your prayer with the world.”
Francis, 84, is no stranger to social media—he has a whopping 19 million Twitter followers and 8.3 million on Instagram and a high tolerance for selfies—and has acknowledged that social networks can be an “opportunity to promote encounter with others.”
Since it first appeared in 2016, the social media app has been downloaded by more than 2.5 million people, offering daily prayers and messages from the Pope, while allowing users to send prayers to others.
Click to Pray 2.0 will be launched on Nov. 1 after a test period on beta users comprised of cloistered monks and nuns around the world, Vatican officials said.
The new version—available in seven languages—offers more individualization, allowing users to set an agenda to schedule prayers, provides more in-depth background about specific prayers and also links to Vatican-approved outside initiatives such as Tweeting with God.
From all over
“The idea is to be able to use it (the new app) and give an instrument to people to pray, to be in communion,” Msgr. Lucio Ruiz, secretary of the Dicastery for Communication, which oversees the Holy See’s entire communication network, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
On Tuesday, the app’s community page listed a host of prayers from around the world, with headlines such as “Please pray for my daughter,” “Prayer for my sick mother” and even one “for my career.”
After creating a profile, a user can organize a prayer agenda, choosing content and setting notifications and reminders to pray during the day.
Besides social media, the Vatican has multiple traditional media resources to spread the Church’s message to the 1.3 billion Catholics around the world, including the Holy See’s official website, a daily newspaper and a radio.
But outside Saint Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday, no European visitors approached by AFP had heard of the app.
On the Google Play Store, most users gave the app five stars, although some cited glitches, especially of having to sign in repeatedly.
One user gave the app one star, saying: “God knows who I am, why should I need to identify to the Pope, too?”
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