I was recently contacted by Dan Gonzalez and asked to check out his new iPad app, Mass Explained. As someone who loves both the Church and technology, I was so happy he did!
I have gone through a dozen or more “apps” in the last couple of years which focus on Catholicism. As of today, I may only use three or four of them. As for the others, I got rid of them because I found the application either lacked intuitiveness or the depth of material was just not sufficient.
It is critical, from a technology standpoint, for an application to have a good “flow;” it must make sense when the user is interacting with it. If a user has to “hunt and peck” to find what they are looking for, then they’ll quickly become frustrated or lose interest. With the number of apps available today, a user will not waste time navigating a cumbersome product; they will just simply delete it and move on to the next one.
As someone who has spent over two decades studying the Catholic faith, I have found “apps” lack the level of detail and scholarship I would like to see in a product. I have concluded most Catholic applications built for smartphones and/or tablets are for people only seeking information at the introductory level.
Mass Explained for iPad hits a home run both in its easy functionality and for its scholarship! I can’t think of any other Catholic app which allows you to zoom in and out of pictures, spin 3-D objects, and view 360 degree panoramic images?
Mass Explained allows the user to use buttons, drop down menus, or swiping gestures to navigate through the material. That type of flexibility, allowing the user to customize their experience, is a great feature! The use of pop up windows also allows the user to stay a page while “drilling down” to the information they want.
From a scholarship perspective, Mass Explained, succeeds where others have failed! Hundreds of quotations and references to scripture, the Early Church Fathers, the Catechism, church councils, papal encyclicals and more! Mass Explained even has audio files, allowing users to hear prayers in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English. This is great application for people looking to go beyond a basic understanding of the Mass. I could easily see RCIA catechists using Mass Explained to introduce the Mass to prospective Catholics.
The current Mass Explained app is “Volume 1,” which looks at the Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word. A planned “Volume 2” will cover the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Concluding Rites.
Congratulations to Dan on creating a beautiful, easy to use and informative product for Catholics and non-Catholics alike! I heartily recommend adding Mass Explained to your list of Catholic iPad Applications!
This is a slightly modified version of a post under the same title which appeared on Christopher’s Apologies on 17 Feb 2014.