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

Archive for the ‘Downloadable Universalis’ Category

December 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 5 December 2022

Happy Advent!

At this time of year the Church’s calendar has what looks like a fit of unimaginativeness. All the rest of the year, days are marked as “Monday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time” and so on. Now, as we get near Christmas, the calendar solemnly informs us that December 17 is “17 December”, December 19 is “19 December”, and so on all the way to Christmas Eve. We feel a little cheated: we think we could have guessed that for ourselves.

Of course the designers of the calendar do nothing without a good reason, and even their accidents are not really accidents. You can see what they have been doing if you look up into the sky. Planets, when they get near the Sun, disappear, swallowed up in its glare; and in the same way Christmas swallows up the weekdays near it. What does the Wednesdayness of a Wednesday matter if it is four days before the celebration of the coming of our Saviour?

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Giving Universalis for Christmas

Posted by universalis on 4 December 2022

The easiest way to give Universalis is in the form of a Universalis registration code. A registration code really is a gift for life.

A Universalis registration code costs £19.99, which at today’s exchange rates is $24.54 or €23.30. It gives the recipient all the Mass readings for every day, forever, and all the Hours of the Liturgy of the Hours for every day, forever. There are also benefits such as the daily ‘About Today’ pages, with their stories of the saints and their illustrations. The registration code works on whatever devices your friend has – Android and iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and Mac and Windows – and also for making personal e-books.

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November 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 2 November 2022

As October is the month of the Rosary, so November is the month of the dead. Outside, the trees finish making next year’s buds and drop their leaves and take on the appearance of death. In the Church’s calendar the year comes to an end and so does the world itself, with readings dominated by the Apocalypse and the prophecies of Daniel.

At this season the Church bids us remember the dead. The day after All Saints we pray for the souls of all the departed, followed a week or so later (in many parts of the world) by those who gave our lives for us in war.

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October 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 11 October 2022

The Rosary

Sometimes you step into a church for a moment of silent reflection, and as the noise of outside fades away and the silence takes over, from out of the shadows you start to hear a voice. It is saying something, you don’t know what, and after some moments that voice stops and other voices take over and still you don’t know what exactly they are saying. Then it is the first voice’s turn again and you realise: it is the Rosary.

It is like when you are on a ferry and touch a part of the structure and feel the pulse of the engines that are making the whole thing go. The Rosary is the engine-room of the Church.

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September 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 6 September 2022

Welcome back! This has been a properly summery summer, but now is the time to welcome you all back from it, both literally and metaphorically. Autumn is a time for new beginnings.

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How the spoken audio works

Posted by universalis on 31 August 2022

The spoken audio of the Readings at Mass and of the Liturgy of the Hours is available on subscription. It is very simple to use. If you haven’t tried it before, do! You can listen to a sample before you subscribe.

How it works is this: you press the Play button, and a real, recorded human voice will speak the whole of the page you are looking at: the readings at Mass or one of the Hours. A yellow highlight follows the spoken lines and sentences, so you always know where you are.

You can read more about it all here for Android and here for iPhone and iPad.

The purpose of this blog post is to go just a little below the surface so that you can understand how it all behaves.

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Catholic Calendar on very old iPads

Posted by universalis on 25 August 2022

If you are using Catholic Calendar on a very old iPad running iOS 9.3.5, you may have difficulty activating it with your registration code. An error message can appear saying “An SSL error has occurred and a secure connection to the server cannot be established”.

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June 2022 newsletter: special book edition!

Posted by universalis on 30 June 2022

This is a slightly unusual newsletter because instead of giving various bits of news about the Universalis website and apps, it is devoted to one subject. The Creed in Slow Motion, by Martin Kochanski, is published today by Hodder & Stoughton. Being by the same author as the majority of the “About Today” pages in Universalis, it isn’t entirely unconnected with the normal subjects of this newsletter. And I would like to claim that this is an important book and worthy of your notice!

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John the Baptist in Australasia

Posted by universalis on 17 June 2022

This year the Solemnity of John the Baptist cannot be celebrated on 24 June because the Sacred Heart is celebrated on that day.

Australia and New Zealand are celebrating John the Baptist on 25 June; the rest of the world, on 23 June. This blog post explains the reason for the difference and also what you can expect Universalis to show you next week.

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May 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 18 May 2022

Happy Eastertide!

One way and another, this is going to be rather a bookish newsletter.

New e-books are ready

Those of you who use e-books rather than apps know that each e-book lasts only for a fixed time, and when it has finished you have to get an e-book for the next period. In this way an e-book is like a printed book –  it covers only the period it is designed for, whereas an app lasts for ever.

Ready-made Liturgy of the Hours e-books are available through Amazon for the Kindle. Because of the size of the Liturgy of the Hours, the e-books cover half a year each. The current one goes from Advent 2021 to Pentecost 2022, and Pentecost is approaching rapidly. The next e-book from Amazon goes from Pentecost 2022 to just before Advent, and it is available now. You can find the catalogue here.

You can also create your own e-books for yourself, which is cheaper because you only ever need to pay once. It is also more flexible because you can choose your own local calendar and the exact Hours you want. If this is something you have been doing already, nothing has changed in the way you do it – but as a reminder, this page has the instructions.

The Mass in Close-Up

The Universalis apps and programs have a feature called “Daily Books” which lets you read a book, divided into daily slices, as part of any of the pages in Universalis. The daily slicing means that you are never tempted to read too much at once, but can focus deeply on one passage at a time and get the most out of it. You can get at the books through the File menu in the programs and through the circled-I menu in the toolbar of the apps. This page has all the details and instructions.

There is a new Daily Book out now: “The Mass in Close-Up” by Father Antony Jones, who for some 50 years was a parish priest in Wales. As his priestly ministry proceeded, Fr Antony became increasingly convinced that the more we understand the Mass, the Church’s greatest treasure, the more we will love it and benefit from it. His constant aim was to instruct his parishioners about the Mass and from the resulting talks and papers this book was born. “The Mass in Close-Up” is a detailed examination of the Mass, exploring every aspect of it, theologically, historically and spiritually. In Universalis it comes in 70 daily instalments and you can attach it to whichever page you want, although the Mass Readings page is probably the most logical choice.

The Creed in Slow Motion

The publication date in the UK is now definitely 30 June and advance copies are already going out to reviewers and the like.

The US publication date is 18 October, but I know that some of our American friends have been pre-ordering the UK edition from The Book Depository.

This page tells you all about the book and includes the final cover design.

From Wednesday 18 May the Universalis apps and programs, and the web site, will give you access to a short daily audio clip telling you about each chapter of the book. There isn’t time, in 60 seconds, to say very much, but I hope that what is said will interest and intrigue you. On the web site it is a yellow box about half way through the About Today page or at the bottom of the Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer pages. In the apps and programs the box is in the same sort of position but it is grey rather than yellow.

Try a few episodes and see if you enjoy it! And if you aren’t interested, the boxes are not too obtrusive and will disappear automatically at the end of June.

And another thing…

While you are waiting for a book by one member of the Kochanski family, another member’s book is already out! It is Resistance: the Underground War in Europe, 1939-45 by Halik Kochanski, who is my sister. It was published in March in the UK and the US publication date is 24 May. It is not family solidarity alone that makes me mention this book. It is a solid, authoritative and compassionate piece of work. Max Hastings, in the Sunday Times, calls it “The best book on the subject I have ever read.” The publisher’s page about the book is here.

App news

The Android apps now follow the iOS apps in letting you select text by holding down your finger on the screen. Handles then appear which you can use to highlight exactly the text you want to copy and paste into other apps (for instance, for emailing). The apps from Google Play already have this feature and the Amazon Appstore ones will follow soon.

Now is also a good time to remind you about another feature of the Android apps. If you are blind or are using a screen reader for some other purpose, there is a switch in the Settings screen of the Android app which makes the display more “visible” to TalkBack. The switch is labelled “Screen reader mode” and it is at the beginning of the “Advanced” section at the end of the Settings screen. A blind user asked me to mention this, and I am happy to do so. (The iOS app naturally works with VoiceOver and a separate mode is not needed).


Thank you all for using Universalis. If you have trouble or questions, or suggestions, do write to us at universalis@universalis.com or use the Contact Us button in one of the apps.

Let us all keep one another in our prayers, as always.

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