Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

February 2020 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 11 February 2020

The 40 days of the Christmas season finished just over a week ago, and the 40 days of Lent are already getting near. Remember, if you have the kind of people around you who compare notes about Giving Things Up: the point of Lent is not only penance and repentance but also an increase in joy. Giving up bad things is no doubt good for you; but giving up good things is even better. It means that you can give thanks to God for them and rejoice when he gives them back to you at Easter. In some moods we need to be reminded that God made the whole world and saw that it was very good.

As for acquiring good habits for Lent (or any other time), hitherto unexplored parts of Universalis are always a good thing to try. They are there waiting for you and they are not too heavy a burden for ordinary people like us to bear. Recently I have found myself listening to the Spiritual Reading page when I go out in the morning. If you haven’t come across this page before, you’ll find it in all the apps and programs, and if you want to listen to it, it’s part of the Spoken Hours subscription. It is basically a collection of all the Second Readings that could possibly belong in any Office of Readings for today’s date – in any year, in any part of the world. So you get saints like St Teilo from Wales or St Cuthman from Sussex, whom you would never hear about otherwise. On some days it can be quite a collection of readings, and you’re sorry when the last one finishes and it’s all over till tomorrow.

New Every Day

I mentioned “New Every Day” in November, so I shan’t say very much about it now, but it still deserves a reminder. It is an e-book, mostly for the Amazon Kindle though Apple sell it as well in Apple Books. “New Every Day” is the Spiritual Reading Page combined with About Today, so you get the readings together with the biographies together with the illustrations. We could boast in November that it had 366 chapters, one for each day of 2020. The year has started now, but there are still 322 days of it left! Have a look at this page, which has a full description and sample pages, and tells you how to buy it from the Amazon Kindle Store and Apple Books.


This bit of news will be of no direct relevance to most of you but I hope it will still be as interesting to you as it is to us.

Universalis is now available in Danish.

Denmark is not a large country and it is almost entirely Protestant, which has made it difficult for the small Catholic community to get enough resources together to get a new edition of their liturgical books printed. Some time ago they asked us whether we would consider including the Danish texts of the Liturgy of the Hours in Universalis and we said yes, with enthusiasm. So since the start of this year it has been possible to do the Hours in Danish on Universalis. Danish-speakers don’t even have to buy Universalis because the Danish text is available free of charge in the Catholic Calendar app as well. Thus there is nothing to stop every Catholic in Denmark (and a number of Protestants as well) from saying and praying the Hours every day. “The Office is… the prayer not only of the clergy but of the whole People of God,” and now we have a chance to see that saying in action. It is all very exciting and we are looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

You may be wondering about your own language (if it isn’t English). We have found from experience that the only language projects that work are the ones where the initiative comes from a Church authority in the country in question. This is because there are permissions to be negotiated (both liturgical and copyright) and someone has to devote the necessary time to copying and pasting the texts. We can do everything else. So if you have a language, and know someone who has the authority and desire to drive the project forward, please get in touch.

Video tutorials

We are creating short YouTube videos to act as tutorials in the use of the Universalis apps. There are a lot of features and resources in Universalis, but since apps don’t come with big printed manuals to flick through, one can easily find oneself using an app for years without realising all its potentialities. The hope is that by providing video demonstrations of the main features, you will get more out of the Universalis and Catholic Calendar apps than you did before.

The first videos are out now. They cover getting the text the way you want it – the right size, the right brightness, the right typeface – and making the choice between scrolling and page-turning. Each video is just under 5 minutes long. Here are the links: iPhone · iPad · Android.

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