Electric Prayer

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

June 2021 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 23 June 2021

Welcome to another Newsletter. It marks the 25th anniversary of Universalis!

The Easter Alleluia

The Easter Alleluia feature in the iPhone/iPad and Android apps has been a great success. More than 800 people contributed their recordings, and we ended up with a total of 277 triple-Alleluias for everyone to listen to. So many voices and so many personalities really made the celebration of Easter universal this year, so a big thank you to everyone who took part.

People certainly did listen to those Alleluias. I particularly valued the comment of one man who was rather disdainful of the whole thing to start with but gradually found himself being sucked in and ended up being quite an addict. Quite a few people have told me they felt a sense of emptiness when the Easter season finished!

The 25th anniversary

Several emails of congratulation arrived earlier this month from people who noticed that if Universalis started in 1996 it must now be 25 years old. It is an alarming thing to find one has done anything for 25 years (nobody sets out at the beginning of a new activity saying ‘I will do this for a quarter of a century’) but it is also wonderful to be reminded, and rather humbling. When all this started, CDROMs were still the favoured medium, the Internet was a very new thing, and the first program (we didn’t call them apps in those days) was for the Palm V, which few people will now remember. Technology has developed greatly since then and it has been a wonderful privilege to harness it in the service of prayer. And it has been a spiritual education, as well.

Thank you to all of you for your support over the years. Without you, Universalis would not have grown and spread as it has.

Getting a good habit

G.K. Chesterton wrote ‘If a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing badly’. His wife added ‘Music and dancing and singing have all been banished from our lives because we are afraid to do things badly’. She could have added prayer to the list. So now is the time to resolve to pray even if we do it badly. Do Morning Prayer (for example) every day, sometimes hurriedly, sometimes distractedly, sometimes superficially. Provide the regularity, and over time the Holy Spirit will do the polishing.

A detailed review of Universalis

A blog called “The Catholic Man Reviews” has published a review of the Universalis app. It is immensely detailed and therefore comes in two parts. Here is part 1 about the Hours, and here is part 2 about the Mass and the other features. If you haven’t taken the plunge and got yourself an app yet, then this may help to decide you; and if you have already got the app then it may be worth reading it anyway to see if there are any features you have missed. This blogger takes his reviewing job seriously and reviews books as well as software. You may find that it is a blog worth following.

Local calendars

I have just had an update with the latest feasts and texts from the Diocese of East Anglia saying, “This has taken many years and several to and fro exchanges with Rome, but we’ve finally had it approved. We’re all so delighted with the outcome, as is Rome! I know a lot of our clergy use the app for the Office. I don’t know if it’s possible to include something in the Universalis newsletter, as that might give Liturgy teams of other Dioceses an incentive to update their texts and send them to Rome for confirmatio… just a thought!”. So if anyone is currently managing their local calendar with a patchwork of photocopied texts from various eras, perhaps you will see this as an incentive to bring things up to date. If you need any advice about the process of confirmatio, write in and I will pass your questions on.

As far as using Universalis is concerned –  the Universalis apps and programs do their best to guess what your local calendar is, but they can’t guess as far as dioceses. So if you are in England, Wales, Scotland, Australia or parts of the USA, do look at your calendar listing and see if it just refers to your country. If it does, you can refine it to include the diocese as well. You will end up with a more detailed and interesting calendar. (In the apps, you bring up the calendar by tapping on the leftmost button in the toolbar, and the name of your local calendar will appear at the top). As for countries, the latest ones to be added are Kenya and Finland.

Sung Latin Compline

The Universalis apps include the option to buy Sung Latin Compline by the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. This Schola has just recorded the Office of Compline for the Church Music Association of America’s Virtual Sacred Music Colloquium 2021. The pre-recorded service will feature as Tuesday evening’s Night Prayer for Colloquium participants, and you can watch it using this link. As well as Compline in the New Rite, chanted in Latin, the Schola sings Te lucis ante terminum by Thomas Tallis and Melchor Robledo’s Salve Regina.

Charles Cole, the Director of the Schola, has kindly agreed to keep the link to this performance active for a few weeks, so do take the opportunity to watch the video while it is there.

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