CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Smart breviary not just for priests and religious

HONG KONG (UCAN): It is becoming more common these days in Hong Kong to see people in public places reading, watching videos, playing games or texting friends, while at the same time completely oblivious to the bustling world around them.

This phenomenon coupled with a change in reading habits inspired a middle-aged priest to develop a new app to promote daily prayer among the Catholics.

The iBreviarium, a Chinese language app developed by Father Paul Leung Kai-kwong, provides daily Mass readings, breviary liturgy, prayers, liturgical information and stories of saints for people to reflect on, use in prayer and meditate on.

Since it was launched for the iPhone for free in August, about 2,000 people have been using it. Father Leung has added a QR code that makes it easier to find and download.

The Android version, which became available on November 16, is also free of charge.

He hopes more people will make use of this app to pray the breviary, which he explained is not meant to be the monopoly of priests and religious.

Father Leung, who served in Rome for around 20 years, decided to create a digital breviary in Chinese after noticing an online Italian one in 2005. He began by creating a Chinese breviary Website and then thought of putting the breviary into a smartphone in early 2011.

During a workshop on November 19, the Salesian priest introduced the app to about 200 people and demonstrated how to download and use it.

“A priest wrote to tell me he failed to say the breviary every day because he was too busy, now he says he is happy because the new app allows him to pray whenever he can find a quiet corner,” Father Leung said.

A priest in Taiwan said that bought an iPhone as soon as he found out about the app.

Though Father Leung believes young people spend too much time on their smartphones, he thinks the Church should look after their spiritual needs by putting more Catholic content onto the Internet.

Anna Chan Kai-yung and Salesian Father Domingos Leong, both experts in sacred liturgy, also explained the structure of the breviary to workshop participants and how anyone can benefit from using it in their prayer.

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