REVIEW: iPhone “Advent App” from Magnificat

I was sent a code for an iPhone/iPad app for Advent developed by the folks who put out the Magnificat liturgical aid. Click HERE for a link to the app.  $0.99 in iTunes.

Advent Companion App is a fusion of the Magnificat App (with Prayers and Mass from Magnificat) and the Advent Companion (the daily meditations + some Advent features).

It has a day-by-day format, and offers: morning, evening, and night prayers “inspired by” the Liturgy of the Hours (not, however, suitable for fulfilling the Office), Scripture readings and prayers for daily Mass (more on that, below), original meditations on the Gospel by thirty-four authors. (I was not asked to write for them! A flaw in the app, IMO. o{];¬) It seems a little Dominican top-heavy.) Other features include: essays, blessings, an Advent Penance Service, poetry, reproductions of sacred art masterpieces, (Didn’t see too much of that) and Advent Stations (whatever that is).

A SERIOUS gap in the app is that is does NOT include the material for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It should, if this app is limited to the Roman Rite.  There is abundant material out there.

Here are a few screenshots:

The entrance page


The first meditation I looked at was by the distinguished Anthony Esolen.  Good choice.


Advent Stations… I guess Advent really is a little Lent.  Again, note the Dominican authors.


I have a problem with lay people falling into the mistake of thinking they are blessing in the manner of a priest.  So… iuxta modum on this.


Again, there is NOTHING for those who prefer the Extraordinary Form, even though the texts are readily available and they are less extensive than for the Ordinary Form.  This is a problem, perhaps of… I don’t know… perspective?  If they are going to stick to the Roman Rite (and not also include anything for Catholics of Eastern Churches) they should at least remember that the Roman Rite has two forms.


The app is pretty and fairly easy to navigate.  You sometimes have to tap the screen a couple times, and firmly, to get out of a page, but all in all it worked well.

It is not free, but it is hard to go wrong for $0.99, right?   The meditation feature could be worth the cost of the app by itself, if the quality is at the level of Anthony Esolen’s piece.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. redselchie says:

    I don’t know if it’s available for iPad, but I downloaded the “Catholic One” app for my new Kindle Fire – and love it! It has the Daily Readings, the Roman Missal changes, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Prayers, Latin Prayers, a place to save your own prayers, Catholic Media, Bookmarks, PLUS The New American Bible and the Douay-Rheims Bible. Plus it was free.

    I haven’t seen that Advent app available for the Kindle, but they do have one “Waiting in Joyful Hope” for .99 cents that received a 5 star review.

  2. Will D. says:

    The Advent Wreath blessing directs the leader to keep his hands joined, and ask “Lord God let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation. May he come quickly and not delay. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
    It does not suggest that the person praying is imposing a blessing, nor does it direct him to imitate a priest by making a Sign of the Cross over the wreath. The Christmas Tree blessing is handled in the same way. I don’t see any problem in using it as written.

  3. Dennis says:

    I have an app called iPieta, which includes the Bible, N.O. and Traditional liturgical calendars, many prayers sorted by topic, a “Veritas” section which includes information about saints, Q&A from the Baltimore Catechism, books such as ‘The Imitation of Christ’, encyclicals, parts of Councils and Church Fathers, etc. It seems to work well and have a lot of information, though I have not spent a lot of time using it yet.

  4. trad catholic mom says:

    The lack of EF info is why I dropped my subscription to Magificat after the first year. I use iPieta also.

  5. Peggy R says:

    Dumb tech questions. I have an Android technology phone and am a slow adapter to new technologies. Are these Apps free? Do you buy them? How much do they run?

    I have Kindle too. Thanks for that meditation suggestion.

  6. redselchie says:

    Peggy the CatholicOne app was free for my Kindle Fire, I’m not sure if you can use it on other forms of Kindle or not. It is available for android phones but it does cost – google it and you’ll find it

  7. GeekLady says:

    Furthermore, the Advent Wreath and Christmas Tree blessings are published by the USCCB in Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers and excerpted with permission.

  8. inara says:

    It looks as though the Advent Stations may be a similar concept to the Jesse Tree ~ sort of a walk through the Old Testament, highlighting important events/figures/concepts from creation through the birth of Christ.

    Last year, as I was trying to pare down our Advent & Christmas decorations & practices to the more meaningful elements, I decided to convert our Christmas tree into a Jesse tree ~ so we put it up on the first Sunday of Advent with no ornaments or lights, each night we read the recommended scripture & the children take turns hanging the relevant item (so far this year we have the globe, apple & rainbow). We won’t turn the lights on till Christmas begins. We’ve found this to be so much more helpful in building anticipation for the coming of Our Lord, as well as educational for the kids!

    We’ve also moved St. Nicholas’ visit to the eve of his feast (Dec. 6) & are considering waiting to do family gift giving until Epiphany, but haven’t reached consensus with the Mr. on that yet. ;o)

  9. I’d be inclined to give a pass on the EF to the Magnificat, which seems to me one of the most positive aspects of the whole OF genre. And I don’t really see how it could assimilate the EF, any more than I’d see how (or why) to amalgamate the EF and OF Masses themselves.

    The Magnificat was beautifully arranged and presented before beauty was cool in things liturgical. I see it frequently in the hands of daily Mass Catholics (as distinct from twicers or even Sunday only Catholics). It’s Order of Mass with Latin-English ordinary and additional Latin prayers is certainly a cut above the ordinary pew rack trash.

    For many, it’s one-psalm lite versions of lauds, vespers, and compline are just right as an introduction to the divine office. I know any number of people who started with the Magnificat and advanced to a fuller practice of the liturgy of the hours, including at least one who went on to daily prayer of the whole divine office in Latin.

  10. tealady24 says:

    If I can download it to my new Nextbook I will, in the meantime, I just use the little Advent companion I order thru Magnificat every year. If fits perfectly in my bag. Just keeping Jesus front and center this season, is enough for me!

  11. Rellis says:

    To integrate the EF into this app, you could simply have a toggle feature which would allow one to see the Mass readings and propers for the EF, but that would be a nice thing to have, not an essential thing to have.

    Tend to agree with Henry Edwards on this one. It’s nice when things are done to make the OF more traditional, prayerful, and reverent. It’s not a slight against the EF just because it’s OF only.

    For many people who are just beginning to take serious note of the liturgy, Magnificat is a kind of “little office” to get them started.

  12. eiggam says:

    I have enjoyed Magnificat for years. I’m not sure what resources they would have to integrate the EF into their offerings. I see that Magnificat sells some items on their website, but the magazine does not have ads and the subscription fees creep up each year.

    Since the Extraordinary form has the same propers each year (not the A,B,C cycle for Sunday and the I,II for weekdays), the missals for the 1962 Mass work, although the calendars of propers may be outdated.

    I have been disappointed by MagnifiKID however. It looks like a comic book and does not seem to command the respect like a traditional missal. There needs to be something for the children besides the standard issue First Communion prayer books.

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