By REY FLORES
The Wanderer newspaper is not only one of the most respected Catholic publications across the world, but we also have the distinction of being one of the oldest Catholic newspapers in America, published since 1867.
Much has obviously changed in that time span and now technology seems to be the wave of the future. While our paper still publishes the good old-fashioned print version of the paper, our web site, www.thewandererpress.com is also creating a strong buzz on the Internet.
While some of our older readers may feel somewhat apprehensive about certain technology and gadgets that are so much part of the world today, the technology itself is becoming more user-friendly for people of all ages and generations.
As our world becomes more reliant on digital technology, Dan Gonzalez’s app The Mass Explained is one of the exciting new developments that bring evangelization into the 21st century through modern media.
While the app is mainly a tool for the already practicing Catholic, it can also be used as a tool to make people more comfortable in either returning to or even converting to the faith.
The app’s creator, Dan Gonzalez, has been determinedly tried to replicate his own experience for others, without the need for as much footwork as he put into it.
Since Gonzalez started his journey back home to his Catholic faith in 1989, he has read the Bible twice, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, countless books from Aquinas, Augustine, and also writers like G.K. Chesterton. As he puts it:
“Through the Spirit, I came to see that Catholicism is Biblical Christianity. The Mass, the Liturgy, the Sacraments, the Saints, Marian devotion, the Papacy — this is what the Bible teaches.”
Gonzalez hopes that the Mass Explained app “will be the seed that falls on good soil; it could be the spark that sets a person on fire for God and His Church.”
The Mass Explained iPad app is a multimedia journey through the Catholic Mass — in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the Mass with which most Catholics are familiar today.
It explores the roots of each section of the liturgy with its unique prayers and gestures. Packed with scriptural references, quotes from the Church Fathers, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and excerpts from councils and encyclicals, the publication is scholarly yet totally approachable and entertaining.
In addition to the hundreds of photographs, drawings, charts, and graphs that make for a visually stunning user experience, the Mass Explained iPad app contains several interactive elements, including some terrific slideshows of historic sacred art, immersive panoramas that can become virtual 360-degree navigational visits to the Sistine Chapel and other holy locales.
Other goodies you get with this app are interactive maps that follow the steps of our Lord and other prominent biblical figures and also guide you to where saintly remains are venerated today.
As a home-schooling dad myself, I always appreciate books that show ancient artifacts and holy relics that paint a visual for young minds to understand how our ancestors practiced the faith. On this app, three-dimensional objects can be taken for a spin; for example, a sixth-century Byzantine cross or a Mercury dime, which also explains its association with the Mass.
Along with visuals, music, and other audio elements are key tools to teach and learn about some of the most important aspects of how we give glory to God.
The Mass Explained app also features captivating audio of prayers in English, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Sacred liturgical music and chant are also something that you can plug into an external speaker and thus truly enjoy the “sounds” of our faith.
In addition to the interactive maps, visuals, and audio, no app would be complete without video presentations that incorporate three-dimensional animations about the Roman Catholic liturgy.
The Catholic Church has been blessed with a vast inheritance of paintings, sculptures, vessels, vestments, churches, cathedrals, and sacred sites. While nothing can compare to actually witnessing these objects firsthand and visiting the locations in person, a full-color reproduction will give a closer representation than would a black and white photo.
The Mass Explained app contains several hundred photographs, drawings, charts, maps, graphs, and tables, all chosen to help support and illustrate the text.
While the 300-page book app frequently references the Traditional Latin Mass as well as the Orthodox liturgy and other rites, its focus is on the Novus Ordo Mass.
This is the only drawback that I see because of the incredible and fast growth of the Latin Mass among young Catholics, especially home-schooling families who have many children and basically represent the backbone of the Church in the coming years.
While the app itself is limited to only the Apple iPad platform, it serves as a terrific tool to supplement educators at schools and home schools alike.
At this time, there are no plans to expand the app to function on iPhones or on the Android platform, but for now, if you do have an iPad or if your school has iPads for your students, I would definitely look at purchasing this app.
Visit www.MassExplainedApp.com to see screenshots, read excerpts, and watch a video demonstration.