Be a Missionary: There’s an App for That!

Learn about a brand-new way to help the Church’s missions in far-off places, and TWO prizes you can win! I’ve got some swag to give away, and if you sign up soon, you can win a trip for two to Rome!

MISSIO, a unique new Catholic crowdfunding platform designed to make a difference for the poor and forgotten around the world, is now live at MISSIO.org and on the MISSIO app. MISSIO’s revolutionary concept uses technology to directly connect people with a mission project they’re passionate about.

Originally launched by Pope Francis, MISSIO was created by the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, the Pope’s official mission arm, which has been engaged in building up the Church and serving the poor for 200 years.

“Pope Francis has urged Catholics around the world to maintain a close and personal connection with the poor, just as Christ did,” said Oblate Father Andrew Small, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. “MISSIO helps you do just that.”

“MISSIO makes the Mission Church visible on your mobile phone or computer screen,” Father Andrew continued. “In a world where everything is so accessible – from deliveries to the sports scores – why shouldn’t your faith, your Church be that visible? MISSIO provides that space, one that is safe, trusted, transparent, reliable – and effective.”

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Missio has a social-media presence as well as an app for iOS and Android. You can use Facebook Messenger to participate in a chat with Pope Francis! On Twitter, follow @1missionfamily.

Would you like to win some Missio swag? Just visit the Missio website or download the app, then leave a comment telling me what Missio project most interests you. You’ll be in the running to win a Missio coffee mug and T-shirt!

Giveaway open through 11:59 PM Eastern, February 1. Winner will be chosen by random drawing and notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. If prize is unclaimed, alternate winner will be chosen.

Some content from this post was provided by Missio.org. All rights reserved. Images used with permission.

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Tech Talk: Permission NOT Granted

Back when I was on Team Android, I used an app called SleepCycle as my alarm clock.

The idea behind this app is that you tell it what time you wake up, put the phone on your bed, and then it analyzes your sleep pattern based on movement, using the phone’s accelerometer, waking you up sometime in the half-hour before your target wake-up time, at a point when you were less likely to be in deep sleep. Hitting the snooze will cut the difference between current time and target wake-up time in half. Then you’d see a spiffy display showing your times of deep sleep and light sleep.*

I switched back to Team iPhone last winter, because diabetes-management software for iPhone is several months ahead of the same software for Android. Since I liked the app, I downloaded it to my new iPhone.

When I started up the app, it requested permission to use my device’s microphone. I found that puzzling. The app was really pushy about that, too. It will work with the accelerometer, but “recommends” microphone use. If you use the microphone you can leave the phone on your bedside table instead of on the bed.

"Tech Talk: Permission NOT Granted" @Franciscanmom
Via Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain

I’m just not OK with granting access to my phone’s microphone to an alarm-clock app. How do I know that someone’s not on the other side of that microphone listening to what is said in my house–or anywhere else I happen to be with that phone in my hand? It creeps me out.

My friend Christine shared an article at Aleteia that shows that this issue isn’t limited to just alarm clocks. Facebook is listening in as well. Now, I don’t use the Facebook app on my phone or tablet. I look at it in the browser.

But the idea that any of my apps can eavesdrop on things? That’s disturbing.

To see who’s potentially “listening” on an iPhone, just go to Settings>>Privacy>>Microphone, to view the applications that have requested access to the microphone in your device. If you don’t like the idea of apps having access to your microphone, you can turn them off until needed.

To learn how to turn off your Facebook app in an iPhone or Android, click here. (Aleteia)

Check your settings, and think twice about what permissions you grant when you install an app.

*And about that display: I tested it once. I turned on the app during the day and left the phone in the bed, which was empty all day. It still showed an up-and-down pattern. So much for that super-duper analysis of my sleep.

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Prayer Should be Free

Yesterday my friend, Liturgy of the Hours expert Daria Sockey gave me a heads-up that my favorite Liturgy of the Hours app was being removed from the App Store and Google Play Store because of copyright issues with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

We have been a ministry dedicated to bringing the Liturgy of the Hours to everyone everywhere for many years. We grew out of an RCIA Committee to become facilitators of thousands of people who pray together. I have dedicated more than 10 years in God’s service to this work. In that zeal to serve and naivety we acquired some permissions, but we are missing some key ones. —Dane Falkner, producer of Divine Office

Daria kindly gave me permission to share her article on the subject at CatholicMom.com, encouraging readers to purchase the app at a discounted price before it would be removed from the stores today.

And then, overnight, the app was pulled from the stores early; it appears that pressure was brought to bear by the USCCB.

I’m all for giving credit where credit is due and for obtaining permission before using text or images that belong to other people.

But the USCCB’s policy of requiring complicated permissions on their translation of Biblical texts is absolutely ridiculous and counterproductive. Divine Office’s app and website are there to help people pray.

This is not the first time this has happened; see Matthew Warner’s comments on Daria Sockey’s original post on this subject.

The USCCB and LEV need a serious wakeup call when it comes to this stuff. They are literally requiring you to pay them money in order for you to share the bible, catechism and other liturgical texts with people FOR FREE. It’s insane and the definition of scandal. They are literally SELLING CHURCH TEACHING. This is not like selling a book or some material (where clearly the physical item and those who produce, market and distribute deserve just compensation). But even if I want to take the most basic and essential church teachings, do ALL of the work myself to share it with somebody, give it to people FOR FREE…the USCCB and LEV STILL demand somebody pay them huge amounts of money (royalties), all for helping them do the work of the Church! It’s insane and we should be ashamed. Bishops should be outraged the the organization that represents them is going around threatening to sue the good guys and implementing policies that don’t stop the bad guys. —Matthew Warner

What can you do to help save DivineOffice.org?

Daria has some good ideas. I’ve summarized them here, but go to her blog for full information.

  • register as a user on their website (it’s FREE) while you still can
  • respectfully write to your Bishop and to Bishop Serratelli (of the Paterson, NJ diocese)
  • donate to DivineOffice.org to help with the legal expenses they will undoubtedly incur as they fight to keep their site open and their app available

And please spread the word. I’ve seen hashtags #prayershouldbefree and #freetheword and #savedivineoffice — and the USCCB is on Twitter @USCCB. Find Divine Office on Twitter @DivineOffice.

Divine Office for FI prayer should be free

Small Success Thursday: Home Improvement

Small Success dark blue outline 800x800Thursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

I’ve been doing a little here-and-there organizing this week, and I’m pretty pleased with that. So I called this week “home improvement,” even though no hammers, screwdrivers or power tools were involved.

1. In my continuing battle against the wet-swimsuits-left-in-random-places issue that comes along every single summer, I took the laundry drying rack out of the basement and put it up on our enclosed back porch. I don’t think that a laundry drying rack looks very nice on the porch, but it sure beats crumpled, damp swimsuits, t-shirts and towels on every porch chair. That’s mildew waiting to happen, people!

2. I also tackled the laundry area of the basement, which has a large shelf unit that’s handy for holding detergent, “Pray ‘N’ Wash,” the old towels we keep around in case the utility sink overflows or for when we defrost the freezer, and cleaning supplies. The shelves are fairly deep, so things get pushed to the back and never seen again. One hour and one Hefty bag, later, I’d cleaned, sorted, and put things back neatly. I even used some old kids’ placemats to line the shelves in case of detergent spills. It’s much better, and the stuff I need most frequently is easy to reach. (Since I’m the only one who does the laundry here, this job was all for me, but I was happy to get it done.)

basement before and after

3. I started using the free Wunderlist app, which syncs across all my devices, to keep track of those little home-organization chores I want to get done. wunderlist logo(I use it already for other purposes, but having the list there means I don’t lose the piece of paper where I wrote down the tasks I want to complete for the basement or porch or family room.) And I just found out that this app allows for repeating tasks, making it even MORE useful.

Share your Small Successes at CatholicMom.com by joining the linkup in the bottom of today’s post. No blog? List yours in the comments box!

Of Street Urchins and Earrings

Things Street Urchins Say logoOne of the Street Urchins has pierced ears. And he wears fairly BIG fake-diamond earrings. (At least, I’m pretty sure they’re fake. If they’re not, then whatever adult gave real diamond earrings to a kid in middle school has more money than brains.)

Hubs has been warning this Urchin, ever since he showed up sporting rapper-worthy ear jewelry, that he can’t wear his earrings in the pool. Earrings and pool liners don’t mix.

The other day when the Street Urchins were here, no one was swimming. The Kid has swimmer’s ear and would rather not swim at all than swim and wear earplugs but not be allowed underwater. So they were playing Kick the Can, which involves lots of hiding in two adjacent backyards.

Suddenly the whole pack of them, minus one, burst through the back door.

“[Earring Urchin] lost his earring!”

“It might be in the pool!”

Wearing only one earring and dripping wet, that last Urchin came inside as I asked what he was doing in the pool with jewelry on.

“I didn’t mean to go in the pool…”

Now, they routinely use the pool and pool deck as hiding spots for Kick the Can, but it’s a little hard to go into the pool without meaning to when the pool is above ground.

I sent the whole crew back outside to search for the earring. Daughter got into the pool because none of them would. Instead, there were four boys muttering excitedly about metal detectors and waving iPhones 6 inches above the grass as they crawled around the yard.

It seems there’s an app for that. Quite a few, in fact.

Whether those apps are real or not is another question (kind of like the Street Urchin’s earrings). This might make a good Science Fair project for the Kid for next year, though. And maybe a good Tech Talk for me.

 

 

Monday Recap: June 15, 2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writingThere’s still some Monday left in today. It’s been a busy day around here, what with school getting out tomorrow and all…

There’s nothing new on the recipe front, but just wait until Friday when I’ve got something really special over at Cook and Count!

At CatholicMom.com:

Weather app logo collegeTech Talk: Whatever the Weather. How long until that thunderstorm comes your way? My favorite weather apps will keep you up-to-date on all those summer storms. Also, you’ll find out where Hubs, AKA The Meteorologist, gets his weather info (hint: it’s not an app!)

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Unleashed Book Club: Chapter 1. At CatholicMom.com, we’re reading Sonja Corbitt’s Unleashed. Various authors host the book club discussions each week. I discuss the connection between hospitality and fear.

 

CM Sunday Brunch 3Sunday Brunch. Here’s a big bunch of the week’s best articles at CatholicMom.com. I curate this weekly feature.