Institute for Church Life unveils novel Catholic app

The Institute for Church Life (ICL) revealed a dynamic mobile application initiative, 3D Catholic, to a crowd of Notre Dame undergraduates on August 27 in Geddes Hall.  The concept behind 3D Catholic, now available in the App Store, arose from a desire to help those in the universal Church—especially young people—deepen their faith, incorporate the Gospel into their daily lives, and go forth into their respective communities manifesting the spirit of the New Evangelization in a tangible way.

Brett Robinson, communications program director at the ICL, and his staff developed 3D Catholic as a medium through which to initiate a social movement of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving by making these practices easily accessible to university faculty, staff, students, and beyond.

“The Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame is committed to forming Catholic leaders and promoting Church teaching by engaging the culture,” Robinson told the Rover when asked about the ICL’s goal in launching 3D Catholic.

“The 3D Catholic movement grew out of a desire to reconnect young Catholics to traditional devotions like prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  The 3D Catholic app is elegant in its simplicity and encourages a communal commitment to those practices that enliven our faith.  We wanted to use the pervasiveness of social media technology to connect students to devotions that remind us of the saving gift of Christ’s Incarnation.  The name ‘3D’ comes from the three devotions and the idea that our faith is rooted in an incarnate reality.”

The app’s three main features include “The Angelus,” which establishes daily prayer reminders at a time of the app users’ choosing; “Meatless Fridays,” which allows participants to set up reminders to abstain from meat every Friday; and “Works of Mercy,” which encourages users to perform good deeds (based on the corporal works of mercy) in their respective areas.

In the context of Notre Dame, Robinson said, a corporal work of mercy could be something as simple as caring for a sick roommate, helping a classmate understand a difficult concept, or asking a friend how he or she is really feeling.  In this way, those in the Notre Dame community in particular are encouraged to be present to each other first and then to share their works of mercy with those they encounter beyond Notre Dame.

Several other interactive items can be found along the streamlined menu at the bottom of the 3D Catholic app’s home screen.  For example, users can log in and view a record of their prayers, fasts, and works of mercy for a single day or for an extended period; see who is praying and using the app nearby; and write prayer intentions to be viewed, upped, and prayed for on an anonymous, Yik Yak-inspired forum.

Many Notre Dame students have already downloaded the app.  Junior Kevin Barrett told the Rover, “I’m glad I downloaded 3D Catholic because I think it will help me take positive steps towards strengthening my prayer life.  The notifications I get on my phone—to fast on Fridays and to pray the Angelus every day—help remind me to include God in my everyday life.  I’m really excited to see not only how the campus responds to the app, but how the app changes and develops to better serve those who use it.”

“The movement excites me because it has the capacity to reach an innumerable amount of people and engage them in their faith while simultaneously connecting them with countless other people who are doing the same,” junior Anna Bourbonnais added.

“Being intentional about your faith is difficult and can be very daunting, but with the app, you are held accountable and reminded to be intentional in not just your own prayer life but intentional in how you respond to and support other people’s faith journeys through the works of mercy and opportunities to pray for one another that the app affords,” Bourbonnais continued.  “You are also constantly reminded of how other people are doing the same for you.”

Tierney Vrdolyak is a sophomore allegedly studying Marketing and the Program of Liberal Studies who, in her free-spirited time, enjoys playing a multitude of sports and board games, singing, wearing patterned socks, and rolling her roommate around the halls of Breen-Phillips in a wheel-equipped laundry hamper.  If you enjoy playing pick-up or being wheeled about spontaneously, contact Tierney at