The iPad Missal App

You saw it here first.


  1. I was waiting for it to happen. Just needed a good enough based. Looks like we have it in the iPad.

  2. I’m all for those that are on the cutting edge of technology. I know that printed volumes are so 16th century. Still, books never crash. It’s wonderful how computers can juggle the ordo for you. Still, low-tech options such as codices don’t require optional AC power adapters or SD cards. Would there ever be a time when a religious community might chant from electronic tablets?

    The Extraordinary Form version won’t be far behind. Both forms of the Mass will benefit, especially for the variable parts, use of the Gloria and Credo, and commemorations. I suppose that the iPad missal will also alert the priest to possible commemoration options and reconfigure the Mass texts around those options.

    If I were a priest, I wouldn’t want to reverence an iPad at the Gospel. Kissing an electronic tablet? Maybe it’s better to stick to the lectionary or missal for the readings.

  3. At last an electronic solution to this whole translation mess!

    Give us all the translations so that we can choose the one we prefer no matter what the priest is using.

    We could keep parish, diocesan, and national statistics on the most popular translations, something like American Idol!

    Such statistics might even encourage new private translations that could be added to the list of options.

    Prizes could be offered for new translations that make it into the top 5, or we could have gold, silver and bronze metal competitions.

    Young people might find the Mass far more interesting. There could be all sorts of special effects that would make the translations attractive to them. The modern equivalent of the ornamental manuscripts.

    Could be far more creative and interesting than the Byzantine politics of the current translation processes.

    1. Oh, the politics of the current translations are both Roman and American. We need not lay that at the feet of the Byzantines!

  4. It would save parishes money too. Instead of purchasing hymnals and missalttes, everyone would just bring their own IPad to Mass and press the parish’s website for what they need to actively participate. Of course we’ll need to train IPAD police to make sure the congregation isn’t looking at other things during Mass like the World Cup Soccer Tournament. But what happens when the IPAD malfunctions on the altar during Mass and the text of a Lutheran Service appears unbenownst to the celebrant? And worse yet, the congregation likes the sound of the Lutheran prayers better than the Catholic ones? Oh, the agony and ecstasy! Or the whole thing might shut down and we’ll have to pause for technical difficulties. Or the priest would then have to improvise without a text in front of him and then he would have two excuses to improve on the official translation.

  5. Not sure if Steve Jobs will permit the iMissal freeware app on the iPad…the Bible has texts that might be censored.

    1. I tried to get the imissal (which I have on my iphone) for my ipad – not offered as an option.

  6. Fr. Paul Turner often jokes in his Roman Missal presentations that the 1700-page book could be used as a murder weapon in Clue. Putting it on the iPad would make it far less useful in that particular capacity. 🙂

    For iPhone/iPod touch, Universalis is a lot more useful than iBreviary. Its only drawback is that it’s $25—pretty cheap for a lectionary-breviary combo, but expensive when you compare it to the price of other apps.

      1. I don’t disagree. After using it for a while though, I found iBreviary buggy. It also only grabs the readings for the day, while Universalis gives you an opportunity to look back or forward—which is certainly more useful for liturgical planning.

    1. “For iPhone/iPod touch, Universalis is a lot more useful than iBreviary.”

      Universalis does not use the approved texts. It was my impression that iBreviary did. Is that not the case? That would be a huge advantage for iBreviary.

  7. @ Christian Cosas #12:Not everything about cloud computing is good, as you’ve just demonstrated.

    I like my electronic reading toys, but they’re not my first choice for everything. Ever try to stick your finger in the page and thumb through for something else? The Kindle is very difficult that way.

    Of course, pens, pencils, and paper haven’t gone completely out of fashion yet, now that we’ve got computers, so diehard fans of the dead tree format probably don’t need to fret.

  8. I fail to see what if any advantages an iPad Missal actually enjoys over a book. In fact, I would argue that most computer technology remains an inferior form of “media” in the context of worship. An apt observation was made above that “books never crash.”

    It was also stated above that parishes could save money on books and hymnals by asking parishoners to bring their own iPads to worship. While I hope this comment was made in jest (and while I’m sure Apple hopes it wasn’t), I must state the obvious. First, this technology remains and will remain out of financial reach of many of the faithful. Second, command of this technology will remain out of reach for many faithful (as well as some clergy I suspect). And third, policing congregations in order to prevent them from straying from Mass with their iPads would be a pastoral disaster and an impossible task anyway.

  9. Thank you, Fr. Allan! I figured as much! I guess preparing for comprehensive exams has dulled my liturgical sense of humor!

  10. I didn’t think the idea was that everyone in the congregation had an IPad, I thought it was just the priest who would have the IPad instead of having the liturgical books? Maybe I’m wrong but that’s the impression I got reading the article. Oh well! I like technology but at the same time, I’m not sure what I think about this, part of me likes it, part of me wonders what it’d do to ritual, is there a ritual difference between using a book and an IPad, hmm???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *