(Photo: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)
Pope Francis is set to unveil a MISSIO app the Friday before Pentecost Sunday for the Pontifical Mission Societies.
"This App is a way for the Church and our Holy Father to reach the growing number of the world's people who have access to handheld mobile devices -- a way to connect as the one Body of Christ," Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, said in a press release. "We're delighted our new Holy Father will 'unlock' the new App. What a great use of the Keys of St. Peter!"
The launch will occur during an audience with the Pope of the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies, who will be at the annual meeting to distribute collected funds.
"Handheld mobile devices and smartphones are increasingly democratizing the information superhighway, and have a capacity to empower the poor in particular," said Father Andrew. "In fact, by the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on earth than people. Smartphones worldwide exceed one billion, growing globally by some 40 percent a year, especially in the some of the poorest parts of the world served by the Pontifical Mission Societies, namely in Africa and Asia."
Christian Newswire reports over three-quarters of Americans of the age of 43 use a smartphone.
"The response of the Pope's Twitter account has been phenomenal," continued Father Andrew. "Jesus called people to be His followers, and if used properly, the new media allow for a more intimate relationship between peoples and nations, fostering peace and mutual understanding."
The app is currently "locked" but is available for download. The Pope will be hitting a button called "Evangelizantur" during the vent. The Latin phrase means, "They have been evangelized."
"Ever since his election, Pope Francis has reached far beyond the Vatican, touching people's lives in simple and meaningful ways," noted Father Andrew in the press release. "His great message of unity and communion will be expressed in this unique event, as he puts the missionary Gospel in the pockets of millions of people, young and old, rich and poor, believer and searcher."
The app will be available in English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic, and will be accessible on both Android and iOS.