Electric Prayer

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

The two-year cycle of the Office of Readings

Posted by universalis on 29 April 2016

Update: Here is how to get the two-year cycle in your Universalis program or app.

When the liturgy was extensively revised in 1970, one of the themes was the inclusion of a far wider range of biblical readings. At Mass, this meant a three-year cycle of Sunday readings and a two-year cycle of weekday readings. In the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours this meant a two-year cycle, both of Scripture readings and of the patristic Second Readings which accompany them.

The two-year cycle covers the whole of salvation history and uses practically every book of the Bible – not avoiding tricky passages which need thorough reading and meditation and aren’t suitable for the “listen fast or it’s gone” nature of the readings at Mass. It is also carefully designed to be out of step with the Mass readings, so that if you hear a passage read at Mass then it won’t appear in the Office of Readings for a year (or at worst, for a few months).

This masterpiece is lovingly described in §§147 to 152 of the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours. But if you look in the actual printed books – it isn’t there. In its place is a one-year cycle of readings, covering half the material.

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The Malayalam Project

Posted by universalis on 9 March 2016

അത്യുന്നതങ്ങളില്‍ ദൈവത്തിനു മഹത്വം

The Malayalam language is spoken in the state of Kerala, which is on the western side of the southern tip of India. Kerala has a large Catholic population, and we are working with the Bishop’s Council to provide the Order of Mass and the readings at Mass in Malayalam, as part of Universalis.

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Universalis for webmasters

Posted by universalis on 11 February 2016

If you are responsible for a web site, we encourage you to make use of Universalis. (And if you aren’t, do pass the message on to someone who is).

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Apple News news

Posted by universalis on 3 February 2016

The Apple News app is part of iOS 9. It can aggregate news feeds from many different publishers.

Universalis is now one of those publishers.

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New e-books available

Posted by universalis on 10 November 2015

The new season’s ready-made Universalis e-books are now available for the Amazon Kindle. They are:

  • Mass Readings 2016, covering every day from Advent 2015 to the end of 2016.
  • Liturgy of the Hours 2016 (high seasons), covering every day from Advent 2015 to Pentecost 2016. The Liturgy of the Hours is split in two because the full year is too big for Amazon to handle. The second half, covering Pentecost to Advent 2016, will be published before Pentecost.

The ready-made e-books are available for the UK and Ireland; the USA; and Australia. All the links to the e-books are here.

Amazon also allow you to give e-books as Christmas presents – but, bizarrely, only in the USA.

If you have a Universalis registration code, don’t buy the ready-made e-books (except as presents), because you can create your own e-books for yourself, with your own choice of pages, dates, and calendar, and it won’t cost you anything. The Universalis e-book page will point you to the necessary instructions.

(If you haven’t got a registration code but are thinking of getting one, you can have a free trial of the e-book creation process: the e-book page gives instructions for this).


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Android Bug

Posted by universalis on 11 August 2015

The Kindle Fire has a bug which makes all pages in the Universalis and Catholic Calendar apps blank. (We have had just two reports of non-Kindle Fire devices being affected, but it is almost always the Kindle Fire).

The apps themselves continue to work normally in every other respect: for instance, the calendar listing is still visible, and you can switch from one page to another.  It is just that the content of the pages themselves is blank.

The bug appears intermittently. It appeared in August 2013, and again in August 2014. Both times it went away after a few days. 11 August appears to be the peak day for bug reports.

The bug has appeared again in August 2015. Following previous experience, it should go away by itself in a few days.

Almost all Android devices are unaffected by this bug, and it seems likely that most Kindle Fires are also unaffected. We have no device at all with this problem.

There is nothing we can do until we do have an affected device at a time when it is affected. We have been offered the loan of such a device so if the bug persists for another day or so, we may be able to make progress.

What you can do

Nothing really, except wait. If the bug is triggered at the time the Universalis app starts, then you might occasionally try one of the following:

  1. Shut down the Universalis app and then restart it.
  2. Shut down the device completely and then power it up again.

Last year, one user reported that turning wi-fi off and on again cured the problem. This is obviously impossible – but it shows that there is something strange going on deep inside Android.

How you can help us

If you do get the problem, please try the following and let us know the result:

  1. Ask Universalis to display a page for 29 June 2015. Does text appear, or is the page blank?
  2. Leaving that page displayed, shut down your device completely and then power it up again and open Universalis. It will still be on 29 June 2015. Does text appear, or is the page blank?


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New release: new calendars

Posted by universalis on 7 July 2015

The latest release of Universalis adds some new local calendars. Each diocese in Scotland is now included, and so are Plymouth and Singapore. As usual, various misprints are also corrected.

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Kindle e-books for Ordinary Time

Posted by universalis on 21 May 2015

In a few days’ time it will be Pentecost, and those of you who have “Advent to Pentecost 2015” e-books on your Kindle will be wanting to get a new e-book to take you from Pentecost 2015 to the beginning of Advent.

How you do this depends on how you got the e-book last time.

If you created the e-book on your own computer

Do it again, just as you did before. All you need to change is the period you want the e-book to cover. This page has links to the instructions for Windows and Mac.

If you sent the e-book to yourself using our web site

You started at this page and entered your registration code. So do the same thing again. Remember to open the list under “Which month do you want?” and select “Pentecost to Advent 2015”. And of course, press the Create button at the very bottom of the page!

If you bought a pre-packaged e-book from Amazon

We also make a few standard Liturgy of the Hours e-books which can be bought directly from Amazon. The e-books are half a year long and (just like a printed book) once an e-book is obsolete you have to throw it away and get a new one. All the same, some people find this more convenient than buying a registration code and creating the e-book themselves.

The e-books we offer are:

  • Liturgy of the Hours 2015 (UK & Ireland, Ordinary Time), available from amazon.co.uk for £5.99, from amazon.com.mx for 34.99 pesos (about £1.50), amazon.in for 69 rupees (£0.70) and amazon.br for 3.99 reais (£0.85).

  • Liturgy of the Hours 2015 (USA, Ordinary Time), available from amazon.com for $9.99.

  • Liturgy of the Hours 2015 (Australia, Ordinary Time), available from amazon.com.au for AU$9.99.

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Our Lady, Help of Christians in 2015

Posted by universalis on 10 May 2015

Australia celebrates the solemnity of Our Lady, Help of Christians on 24 May each year.

When a solemnity falls on a Sunday, it depends on the importance of the Sunday. Sundays in Ordinary Time are obliterated and replaced by the solemnity. An ordinary Sunday of the Year is obliterated, but if we are in Advent, Lent or Easter then the Sunday is kept and the solemnity is postponed to the Monday. This is laid down in the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, §5 and §60.

Accordingly Our Lady, Help of Christians will be on Monday 25 May in 2015.

The reason I am mentioning this specially is that the otherwise excellent St Paul’s Missals for Australia state that in years when 24 May falls on a Sunday, Our Lady, Help of Christians is to be celebrated on Saturday 23 May. The St Paul’s Missal is wrong. I have specifically confirmed with the liturgical authorities in Australia that there has been no change of the standard rule and that Our Lady, Help of Christians is on Monday 25 May, just as the rules say. Here is the official Australian calendar for 2015.

Note: If the Australian bishops revert to celebrating Corpus Christi on its proper day (Thursday), then Sunday 24 May 2285 will be the solemnity of Our Lady, Help of Christians, replacing the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time. If they keep celebrating Corpus Christi on the Sunday after, as they do now, then Sunday 24 May 2285 will be Corpus Christi and Monday 25 May will be Our Lady, Help of Christians.

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Apple Watch: the Gospel on your wrist

Posted by universalis on 16 April 2015

Apple have accepted our Apple Watch apps, and they are in the App Store now!


AppStore link

Universalis is approximately £10.49 / $13.99 / €13.99 from the App Store.

Catholic Calendar

AppStore link

Catholic Calendar is free. So there is no excuse not to have it – and you should tell all your watch-loving friends about it as well.

What the apps do

As far as the Apple Watch is concerned, both Universalis and Catholic Calendar behave in the same way. (The differences come in what the apps do on your iPhone or iPad).


There is a Glance to tell you what the feast or saint of the day is. Tap it to see the Gospel.

The app itself

When you open the app, you’ll see the calendar for the next few days. You can turn the crown to scroll through the list.


If you tap on a day, you will see the Gospel for the day. Use the crown to scroll through the whole text of the Gospel.

As well as the Gospel, you can see the First and Second Readings for the Mass of the day. To get these, press firmly on the Gospel screen, and a menu will pop up. Simply choose the reading you want.


All these pictures are for the bigger, 42mm Apple Watch. If you have the smaller, 38mm, model, then here is what you will see:

Watch38_Calendar Watch38_1Watch38_G

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