For several weeks, I have been corresponding with Paolo Padrini, a Catholic priest who has been pitching a new application for the iPhone, called "iBreviary". (If you ever need a persistent PR man to pitch your new product, let me suggest a priest. If Paolo is any example, these guys know how to convert.)
Padrini was kind enough to answer a few questions about the genesis of his software, which is, I'm fairly certain, the first iPhone application sanctioned by the Holy Roman Church.
English isn't Father Padrini's first language, so while I've fixed a few spelling errors, cut him some slack on the odd word choice. He also writes the Passi nel Deserto blog often — in Italian, of course.
You can download iBreviary from iTunes for $1. It is now available in Italian and English.
• What prompted you to write iBreviary?
fr. Padrini: The idea of the application "iBreviary" is born from a double awareness.
First of all, I believe firmly that today man needs to socialize, he needs moments of listening, and also moments of silence, of prayer and meditation.
Today man has the need for God, even if he doesn't realize it; today man needs spaces to talk with God and to reflect on life and death and so on...
Second thing: the new media are demonstrating more and more great possibilities, together with a lot of risks, but the possibilities are a lot indeed.
The media can become places of reflection, also of silence.... and surely they can contribute to a new socialization.
That's why I have wanted to invent "iBreviary".
"iBreviary" is not only a text that can be read on the web, but - and it's this the great innovation - an "action", that involves man and God: the prayer.
Once we walked with the Breviary and the Rosary in the hands.... today, why can't we do it with the iPhone?
• Did you write it yourself?
fr. Padrini: No. Help me Dimitri Giani from Pisa, an important italian web developer.
• Tell us a little about your day-to-day life; is writing iPhone apps or doing other technology-related things a typical activity for a priest?
fr. Padrini: I'm a Catholic Priest.
I work daily contact with people, trying to communicate to them the Gospel. I live every day the need to understand the Word of God does not sense in theory but in practice: how to respond to the needs of man and its major applications.
• Has there been any response from those in the Church?
fr. Padrini: The Vatican have appreciate the application. Vatican is always near new technology for evangelization. And my application received your applause.
• Any plans for more Catholicism-related applications?
fr. Padrini: The idea is to realize best interactive for ibreviary, with voice prayer. We al already work for an application for Facebook, named Praybook, already available.