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

Momentous: What Will Happen at Our Lady of Fatima’s 100th Anniversary?

May 13th of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of our Lady’s first appearance to the shepherd children in Fatima.

Many are expecting something momentous to occur on that day.

All are called to pray in a special way on that day.

What Happened in Fatima in 1917?

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on 1917 to three Portuguese children: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. From May 13th to October 13th she appeared six times in the little village of Fatima, Portugal.

World War I or The Great War as it was known at the time, was ongoing, leaving devastation across Europe. Our Lady of Fatima came at this pivotal time telling the children that peace was possible if people would heed her warnings.

Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were reared in faithful Catholic homes, in a town that remained faithful to the Church amidst persecution from the government. Lucia de Jesus Santos was the youngest of seven children. Her first cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, likewise were devout children from a large family. Through the apparitions of our Lady, the children grew in holiness and wisdom that belied their young age.

Francisco and Jacinta both died a few years later, as our Lady had informed them, while Lucia lived to be 97 years old. Pope Francis will canonize Jacinta and Francisco on May 13th, 2017, in Fatima on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.

The Miracle of the Sun occurred on October 13th, 1917, witnessed by 70,000 people. Our Lady of Fatima had told the children of the date and place it would occur.

All could look directly at the sun without any injury to their eyes. The sun grew in size, shrunk, rotated and spun, looking as if it were dancing. Even non-Catholics and unbelievers witnessed their miracles, and many immediately were converted to God and asked for forgiveness for their sins.

The Church through the local bishop declared the apparitions worthy of belief in October of 1930.

Fatima at 100 Years

Our Lady called for the consecration of Russia, with the hope that Russia would not spread her errors around the world. Note that the (Communist) Russian Revolution occurred also in 1917 around the same time period as the Marian apparitions.

The decades after 1917 in the twentieth century witnessed unspeakable evils: atheistic Communism, World War I, Nazism, World War II, nuclear bombs, the Cold War, the sexual revolution, and along with it the widespread loss of faith to secularism and the weakening of the Church.

Now, the one hundred year period is ending. Could this also mean, at long last, a renewal and restoration in the Church, and through her, in the world at large?

We see signs of such life here and there, but from a human, natural perspective we don’t seem on the precipice of such a pivot. It will take a supernatural event or movement.

What Can We Do?

Fortunately, our Lord had made it simple for us: we are called to pray.

In particular, we can pray the Novena to Our Lady of Fatima beginning May 4. This novena is even more powerful on this anniversary as millions will be praying it together.

Join your heart with theirs, lifted up to God for the great need the world is in of conversion and salvation in Christ.

Will we see a miraculous event? I can’t say. Our Lord alone knows. But I will pray that His will be done!