New USA Catholic Church app offers exclusive coverage of papal visit

WASHINGTON — U.S. Catholic Church leaders have launched the USA Catholic Church mobile app offering exclusive coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. Sept. 22-27.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has introduced its first mobile app, USA Catholic Church. This is a screen grab from the app. (CNS)

“This is the most comprehensive virtual connection to the Catholic faith available,” said Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, chairman-elect of the Committee on Communications of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which created the app.

“We understand many people are looking for more ways to connect with the church and incorporate Catholic living into their busy lives — that’s exactly what this app is designed to do,” said Bishop Coyne, who heads the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont.

He made the comments in a Sept. 15 statement announcing the launch of the U.S. church’s first mobile app.

The USA Catholic Church app, available for use in the U.S., is free to download at Google Play and Apple iTunes in English and Spanish. It also can be downloaded for free via the site www.USACatholic.church using a smartphone or tablet device.

The announcement said the app is “designed to draw millions of Catholics closer to their faith by providing access to church information on all screens and devices.”

“This is the only app that brings together information from all Catholic sources: parishes, dioceses, the U.S. bishops and even the Vatican,” it said. “Not only will the app include religious news, daily Scripture readings and local parish content, it will feature exclusive, in-depth coverage of Pope Francis’ September visit to the United States.”

Content is available in both English and Spanish and lets users:

  • Follow Pope Francis with the latest news and communications, including videos and photos.
  • Access unique mobile features to view daily readings, make mobile donations, receive news alerts, get Vatican and Catholic News Service updates, including videos and photos.

The app also will offer up-to-the minute coverage of Pope Francis as he addresses a joint meeting of Congress in Washington Sept. 24, the United Nations in New York Sept. 25 and the public Sept. 26 in Philadelphia at the Festival of Families during the World Meeting of Families.

New parish and diocese functionality will be released for the app in October. Users can stay in contact with local dioceses and parishes through individual pages that will have Mass and confession times, homilies, events, blog posts, videos and bulletins. Users also will be able to locate local parishes at home or when traveling with a “Church Finder” tool that works by location, city, state or ZIP code.

“This is the first pope to address (both) Congress and the United Nations,” Bishop Coyne said. “It’s truly a historic moment for the pope, and the USA Catholic Church app will provide news and coverage that people simply can’t get anywhere else.”

People around the world will be able to follow live coverage of the papal trip via a video livestream at www.usccb.org/live. The USCCB also is launching social media profiles on Twitter and Instagram, “Pope In US” and “Papa En USA,” and will post updates to Facebook at: www.facebook.com/usccb and www.facebook.com/USCCBEspanol. In addition, #PopeInUS and #PapaEnUSA are hashtags being promoted with the visit.