By Courtney Grogan
Pope Francis launched an app Sunday called “Click to Pray,” which connects Catholics to a global network to share prayer intentions via their smartphones.
The pope opened the new app using an iPad during his Angelus address Jan. 20 and encouraged young Catholics, in particular, to download the smartphone app to pray the “Rosary of Peace” ahead of World Youth Day.
“Click to Pray” allows users to post prayer intentions and view other prayer requests in six languages. After posting on the social network, one can track how many Catholics around the world have prayed for their request.
The Android and iOS app includes the pope’s monthly prayer intentions, all of the mysteries of the rosary, and daily prayers for morning, afternoon, and night. In each of these sections, users can click a box to indicate that they have completed the prayer and view how many others also prayed.
This month’s prayer intention is “for young people and the example of Mary.” In his Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on Mary’s role in Sunday’s Gospel narrative of the wedding feast at Cana.
“Let us look at Mary: the words that Mary addresses to the servants come to crown the spousal framework of Cana, ‘Do whatever he tells you,’” Francis said. “These words are a precious inheritance that our Mother has left us.”
“To serve the Lord means to listen and practice His word. It is the simple, essential recommendation of the Mother of Jesus, it is the program of life of the Christian,” he continued.
Pope Francis explained that “it is not accidental that at the beginning of Jesus’ public life there is a wedding ceremony, because in Him God has married humanity.”
Jesus’ transformation of water into wine was also symbolic, Francis noted, “Water is necessary to live, but the wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and the joy of the party.”
He joked, “It would have been bad to continue the party with water! … A party without wine? I don’t know.”
The pope encouraged Catholics to turn to Our Lady when facing difficult situations, and to echo her words, “They have no wine.”
Francis explained, “When problems occur that we do not know how to solve, when we often feel anxiety and anguish, when we lack the joy, go to Our Lady and say, ‘We have no wine.
The wine is finished: look how I am, look at my heart, look at my soul.’ Tell Mother, and she will go to Jesus to say, ‘Look at this, look at this: they have no wine.’ And then, she will come back to us and tell us, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’”
In a prayer to Mary after the Angelus, the pope expressed his grief and continued prayers for the Colombian people after the terrorist attack last Thursday at the National Police Academy, which killed 21 people.
The pope said that it “pained his heart” that an estimated 170 migrants are missing after two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean this weekend.
“They were looking for a future for their lives. Victims, perhaps, of human traffickers. We pray for them, and for those who are responsible for what happened,” he said.
The cheers at the end of the Angelus prayer were louder than usual as young people in St. Peter’s square waved Panamanian flags and raised a large banner reading, “Buon Viaggio.”
The pope will depart Rome for Panama on January 23 for World Youth Day 2019.