Electric Prayer

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

The Liturgy of the Dead

Posted by universalis on 8 September 2022

Here is how to find the Hours for the Dead and the Mass for the Dead in the Universalis apps and programs.

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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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“The Creed in Slow Motion” interviews

Posted by universalis on 7 August 2022

Two interesting interviews have recently been published which will take you deeper into the thought behind the book. If you haven’t already got the book, here is how to get it!

Christian Bergmann of Melbourne Catholic (a publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne) interviewed Martin Kochanski about The Creed in Slow Motion.

Here is the published interview. This is an exceptionally revealing interview, based as it is on a thorough reading of the book, and it is well worth taking the time to read it.

The Irish Catholic interviewed Martin Kochanski, and you can read the author’s thoughts and ideas here.

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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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St George in England

Posted by universalis on 23 April 2022

Today is St George’s Day, and some people in England are wondering why it does not appear in Universalis today. The reason is that this year there is a collision with Easter Saturday.

The Church’s calendar has to deal with collisions. Suppose, for instance, that the Annunciation, on the 25th of March, falls on Good Friday (as it did in 2016). Should we omit Good Friday that year, or omit the Annunciation? Or try to celebrate both at once?

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March 2022 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 25 March 2022

Happy Annunciation!

That isn’t something people say. You didn’t wake up this morning expecting to hear it or planning to say it to everyone you met. Just as well, because you would be disappointed (on the one hand) and (on the other hand) come across as some kind of lunatic. But all the same it is true: the Annunciation is a great feast because it is the feast of the Incarnation. It is when our salvation started.

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