By Elise Harris
ROME (Crux) – Pope Francis on Sunday announced that he has created a profile on a new prayer app, saying the internet and social media are prime places both to build relationships and community, and to pray together.
In his Jan. 20 Angelus address, the pope noted how his message for the World Day of Social Communications will be published in the coming week and will focus on both human and digital communities.
The internet and social media, he said, “are a resource for our time; they are an occasion to be in contact with others, to share values and projects, and to express the desire to make a community. The internet can also help us to pray together.”
In this spirit, he then announced his new profile on the “Click to Pray” app, which was launched at the Vatican in March 2016. It is the official platform for the pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, which includes a branch for youth, called the “Eucharistic Youth Movement.”
Click to Pray is also the official prayer platform for World Youth Day in Panama, now taking place.
It is linked to the Jesuit-run Apostleship of Prayer network, which produces videos on the pope’s monthly prayer intentions. It was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884 to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer, particularly for the needs of the Church.
Among other things, the app offers different daily prayers and is available in both Android and iOS formats. It sends users prayer notifications three times a day – morning, afternoon and evening – and sends users a special petition on the World Day of Prayer, celebrated on the first Friday of each month.
There are three main sections on the app, one of which is called “Pray with the Pope,” and it provides users Pope Francis’ monthly prayer intentions, which typically focus on issues close to the pope’s heart, such as praying for families, the elderly, the poor, women and indigenous people.
Other sections include a “Pray every day” page with new prayers available three times a day, and a “Pray with the network” section where users, including the pope himself, can share their prayer intentions with others.
To find Pope Francis’ profile, users must simply click on the “Pope Francis” button in the praying with the network section.
In his Angelus address, the pope said the app allows him to share his prayers for “the mission of the Church,” and he encouraged especially young people to download the app, and to continue praying the rosary with him for peace ahead of World Youth Day.
Pope Francis’ profile on Click to Pray is the latest in his efforts to go digital, having launched an official “@Pontifex” Twitter page in 2012, currently available in nine languages with 17.8 million followers in English alone, and an Instagram account, “Franciscus,” in 2016, reaching more than a million followers in the first hour after its launch. It is now up to 5.6 million.
Going digital was also an aim of Pope Francis’ communications reform efforts, which is focused not only on streamlining the Vatican’s various communications entities, but increasing their presence on different multimedia platforms.