Become a Saint, Through Novena Prayer

I’m pleased to announce that we have released version 2.0 of our Pray: the Catholic Novena App!

The Novena Year In Review

A little over a year ago we launched the novena app, and to our delight it has helped tens of thousands of Catholics pray more novenas than they ever had in their life.

Our goal was to help Catholics pray (and complete!) more novenas, deepening their faith, and thus transforming the world for God and truth.

We launched with about 15 novenas, and each month I added more. We are now at 37 novenas and counting. We started with only an iPhone version, but through a successful Indiegogo campaign we crowd sourced the funds to pay a developer to port the app to Android.

Along the way, I’ve been inundated by emails every single day from Catholics praying novenas using the app. I wish I could have responded to every one of them, but just reading them has been a blessing.

Pray 2.0, Based on Your Feedback

No app is perfect, and over the past year we heard the feedback from our users on the features that would make the app better. We have begun implementing them and in the new version of the app on iOS the first one is already live: configurable reminders.

The app had a default reminder set to go off at 8 am each morning. Obviously that doesn’t work for some people, so now when you start a novena you can choose what time to get reminded to pray each day.

Boom! Now you’re reminded at just the time each day that you usually pray your novena.

You can also instantly add a reminder for the start of the novena to your iPhone’s calendar, so that the upcoming novena you don’t want to forget that starts in four days, will automatically notify you.

UI Refresh to Help You Pray

One neat thing about having so many faithful Catholics installing our app is that we can see on the backend the statistics:

  • How many people install the app, launch it, and immediately start praying a novena?
  • How many people install the app, and then some time later start a novena?
  • How many people install the app, but never pray a novena?

This last use case was one that made us sad: the whole point of our app is to help Catholics pray novenas! So if someone gets the app and never prays a novena, we have failed to help them in their prayer life.

“Well,” you may say, “that happens sometimes, what can you do about it?”

In fact, we can do quite a lot. The initial experience after installing our app is…you get dropped into a list of novenas. It is not obvious what you are supposed to do, tap one of them? Scroll down? Which one is the next one?

So, my fellow Devoted Coder Chad Pav and I got our heads together and streamlined the app to make it clearer as to what you should do when you open the app for the first time, selecting the next few novenas that are starting soon and encouraging you to pray one of them.

Hint hint: pray the Immaculate Conception novena!

Now, some Catholics know the exact novena they want to pray, so they can tap the See all Novenas link or tap the Novenas tab in the bottom middle of the screen, and they will go to a list of novenas, grouped by month, with a handy search bar at the top.

This new design we think we funnel people into the action they are looking for, namely, to pray a novena! And once they have prayed a novena, if it is a new devotion for them, they will see the power of such prayer before the throne of God and be encouraged to continue to pray.

Immaculate Conception Novena Begins

Providentially, the Immaculate Conception novena begins today!

This novena was the first major one that our community prayed when we launched the app a year ago.

The novena is “locked”, and you can unlock it by becoming a patron for a small amount through an in-app purchase.

Originally, people could unlock novenas by sharing the app with their friends. But we received emails from people asking us to allow them to be patrons to unlock all novenas, as they had already invited all their friends to the app!

So we introduced the patronage model, and wonderfully, many people have become patrons, enabling us to continue adding novenas, features, and pay the monthly hosting bills.

Here’s to another year of growing in faith through novena prayers. Happy praying, happy Immaculate Conception novena starting, and happy beginning of Advent in just a few days.

God bless,
Devin & Chad
Devoted Coders

Those anti-Catholic lies that won’t die

Setting up the context

The Catholic Church has been around for two thousand years. It has an extremely rich and variegated history that has witnessed everything from the height of the ancient Roman Empire to the current hyper-connected state of our globalized world.

Given such length and complexity, it’s no surprise that we find many inaccuracies, oversimplifications and outright lies and myths used by the detractors and enemies of the Church in an effort to cast her in an unfavorable light.

I have personally experienced such myths of Catholic history in the form of questions ranging from the legitimacy of the Crusades of the Middle Ages to the alleged atrocities of the Catholic inquisitions in medieval Christendom. What’s the average Catholic to do in the face of such challenges?

A much needed and longed-for resource


Professor Steve Weidenkopf is a lecturer of Church history at the Christendom college graduate school of theology and a regular contributor to Catholic Answers’ published material. His most recent work titled “The real story of Catholic History: Answering twenty centuries of anti-Catholic myths” is a magnificent compendium of sound scholarship and apologetic finesse that seeks to put to rest the most vicious and pernicious myths of Church history.

Without ever whitewashing the faults perpetrated by some of her members, Professor Weidenkopf deals honestly with the major events of Church history and applies a much needed corrective to the popular yet false narratives that still enjoy widespread circulation.

At 55 yet succinct chapters, the book is staggering in the number of topics it addresses. All the major events in Church history that have been subject to gross distortions are aptly handled including some you probably have not heard of such as this one: “The Church began mandating clerical celibacy during the Middle Ages so that it could acquire the clergy’s family property.”

Our mission

Pope Leo XIII once said that the detractors of the Church “narrowly inspected archives; unearthed stupid fables; and repeated for the hundredth time legends a hundred times confuted.” (Saepenumero Considerantes, slightly modified quote). It’s a good question to ask ourselves: in light of such solid scholarship, why do these myths endure?

Professor Weidenkopfs’ answer is worth quoting in full :”because avowed enemies of the Church find them useful in discrediting the Church and limiting its influence in the world; because bitter ex-Catholics use them to paint the Church in a negative light; because atheists who hate religion in general use them to point out the folly of faith; and because some Protestant groups use the myths to justify their separation from the Church Christ founded.”

We have the mission as Catholics to bear witness to the apostolic faith in word and deed. Equipped with Professor Weidenkopf’s new book, we can be more confident that the splendor of truth will shine more radiantly as we work for the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth.