Deepening Faith in the Digital Age: Boston College Unveils 'Church in the 21st Century' App
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (September 2011) — Jesuit spirituality is about “finding God in all things.” Today’s Boston College students can start this quest with a visit to the App Store.
The Boston College Church in the 21st Century Center has unveiled the C21 App, an application for iPhone, iTouch or iPad devices that provides a distinctly modern way for students to connect, pray and deepen their Catholic faith. For Droid and Blackberry users, there is a mobile version of the C21 website that offers the same content and functionality similar to the app.
“I’m excited about the possibilities for this,” said Karen Kiefer, C21 associate director. “The app is a way to reach a technology-driven generation and ‘super-charge’ the vast resources of C21 into a succinct, digestible, interactive resource that is still very powerful and profound. One of our focal points is to hand on the faith and this app will help us do that.”
“Since the beginning of the C21 initiative, BC students have always been a target audience. Although some programs attracted large student audiences, most attendees and website visitors were older Catholics,” said Special Assistant to the President Robert Newton, interim director of C21. “St. Ignatius has a saying: you need to go in their door but come out yours. A C21 Advisory Committee member observed that we were trying to reach students the way we reached faculty, staff, outside audiences, and that if we wanted to reach undergrads we had to use their channels of communication. So we are on Facebook, YouTube—and now we have the C21 App. We are optimistic that the app will allow us to go in the students’ door and emerge with greater student involvement in C21 programs.”
The C21 App/mobile website has customized items from the C21 website, as well as new features. Among the new features are God in Scene, which allows users to upload an image and some text about something or somewhere that shows God’s presence, and Pray for Me, through which users can submit a prayer request. Other components of the app/mobile website include video clips from Agape Latte, excerpts from C21 books and C21 Resources magazine, access to C21 videos and podcasts, a calendar of events, the University’s prayer map and Catholic Voices, profiles of inspirational people who share who they have been profoundly impacted by their faith journey.
A highlight of the new app and mobile website is Engage, an innovative program designed by computer science major Dario Baldoni ’12 that provides students with a one-stop, inclusive starting point to learn about ways to get involved in University life, either through service, retreats, student formation or leadership. Students check off programs that interest them and provide an email address. Representatives from the perspective programs will follow up with the student and provide information on the program and ways to get involved.
The C21 App was a joint project of the Church in the 21st Century Center and Information Technology Services’ Web Technology Group. In addition to Kiefer, other members of the project team were: Web Support Manager Scott Olivieri, Center for Student Formation Director Michael Sacco, former C21 staffer Paul Wendel, and C21 Student Advisory Committee members John Kelly ‘12 and Lauren Conti ’13.
The C21 App represents the first app completely created in-house by Boston College, specifically Lead Developer Andy Li and Web Interface Designer Kul Thapa. Students Stephen Buckley ’12 and JR Buteau also contributed.
--Kathleen Sullivan, Office of News & Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org