The Catholic Community at Stanford (CC@S) recently launched a mobile app for Android and iPhone devices that includes a variety of resources for Catholic life at Stanford, including mass times, upcoming events, prayer materials, podcasts and videos.
The Catholic communities at Stanford and Yale University were the first to purchase the customizable app from the Newman Center Service Company after the company reached out to campus centers across the nation.
According to M’Lis Berry, CC@S director of development, the CC@S staff had long been considering a way to make its resources more accessible on mobile devices.
“Certainly at Stanford, the fact is that there are many more times that you are going to be sitting in a Starbucks line where you may start surfing around on your phone [rather than a laptop],” Berry said.
“It was a no-brainer, because everybody is so geared towards [technology], particularly here,” she added.
Elisa Figueroa ’15 praised the app’s abundance of prayer materials.
“It’s awesome for college students, especially here, because we’re all so busy,” Figueroa said. “Having those readings on the phone is really helpful because you can just walk to class and read the gospel for the day and meditate on that as you’re walking.”
More than 250 people have downloaded the app since its soft launch on Oct. 3. Yale University’s Catholic community saw a comparable number of downloads in the same time period, according to Berry.
There are about 1,000 registered members of the Catholic Community at Stanford, 400 to 700 of whom regularly attend one of three prayer services on Sundays.
“[The app] could be also helpful if maybe someone who hasn’t been to mass in a while is there and kind of forgot some of the prayers,” Figueroa said. “They could just look on the phone so they don’t feel left out or embarrassed that they don’t know it.”
Campus Minister Lourdes Alonso spoke about the role that the app can play in facilitating individual Bible studies among students. One of the community’s affiliated groups, Esteem, encourages students to read a specific Bible passage prior to mass every Sunday.
“Instead of having to find out what that reading is, look it up in the Bible somewhere, they could actually pull it up [on their phone] and they know on this day, these are going to be the readings and they can pray with that on their own,” Alonso said.
The launch of the mobile app complements the other technological offerings by CC@S, including podcasts and YouTube videos of weekly sermons and Newman Night lectures.
The CC@S staff has been impressed by the app’s positive reception among not just students but also other community members, including faculty and local residents. Berry also noted that the app has been very popular with alumni.
“It’s been remarkable how many people in their 60s and 70s in our community are all over this,” Berry said. “For the alumni who aren’t local, they really like to see what events are going on on campus and have a way of really plugging in quickly and easily into the lectures and the sermons.”
“It just makes them feel like they’re part of what’s going on here even though they’re far away,” she added.
Contact Lindsay Funk at lfunk ‘at’ stanford.edu.