The Church of St Mary of the Angels app. Inset: Mr Johan Kool

It was a bulletin advertisement at the Church of St Mary of the Angels, calling for app developers, that caught Mr Johan Kool’s eye.

“I figured I could offer … my services and expertise in this,” said Mr Kool, who runs a company that develops apps for the iPhone and iPad. “I love writing codes for the iPhone.”

The result – an iPhone app which provides parish news and information on faith formation, Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs) and youth ministry, among other things.

The “Church of St Mary of the Angels” app, which can now be downloaded free on iTunes, also provides daily readings and reflections, and allows for the tweeting and emailing of news items.

An operating system iOS5.0 is needed to run the app.

The app is meant to integrate with the parish’s website, Mr Kool told CatholicNews. But the challenge “was finding someone who could help us develop the interface between the server and the app. We had a hard time finding anyone who was familiar with that. Basically we ended up having to learn it ourselves.”

He said the app project was a team effort with him contributing as developer. The project started about a year ago.

Meanwhile the team is also looking at the possibility of adding more features, and possibly making the app look a bit more attractive as it “looks a bit gray and dull” at the moment, said Mr Kool.

An iPhone app was a “logical choice” as the parish is reviewing how it reaches out to parishioners, parish priest Friar John Paul Tan told CatholicNews.

On a personal level, he said he believes strongly in “making information available and as accessible as possible”.

He hopes that the app would be “helpful and useful for people who want individualised news and information” such as parents who want updates of timings of catechism classes.

By Darren Boon
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