New iPad App “Mass Explained” Informs and Entertains Using Rich, Interactive Multimedia

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Miami designer creates innovative app combining video and audio segments, scalable images, interactive maps, slideshows, and immersive panoramas to tell the stories of the meanings of the Catholic Mass liturgy.

Mass Explained App on iPad

Sample page of Mass Explained, a new app for the Apple iPad that combines video and slide segments, 3D panoramic images, music selections and more to deliver a rich, multimedia experience.

Makes the Mass come alive!

Beginning in January, 2014, a new and unique multimedia app, “Mass Explained,” became available for the Apple iPad in the Apple iTunes App Store education section. With just a few minutes exploring the new “Mass Explained” app on an iPad, with iOS 6 or greater, most people will quickly find themselves becoming engaged, interested and entertained in a rich and immersive user experience.

This highly captivating new app puts you in control of a guided tour of a world of history, art, religion, music and cultural symbolism all centered around providing a better understanding of the Catholic liturgy: the body of rites and prayers that make up the Mass.

What makes the “Mass Explained” app unique and exciting is the way that it employs the latest in digital presentation technology and stunning, historically accurate images to bring the Catholic Mass to life. It lets users direct their own paths of discovery via a 300-page multimedia exploration resource offering: high-resolution pictures and text explanations, video and audio segments, scalable images, interactive maps, slideshows, and immersive panoramas.

Users can virtually “walk through” centuries-old cathedrals and other historical pilgrimage sites by clicking on an image with a “panorama” button. Navigation is intuitive for iPad users: simply swipe the screen to look and move in any direction, including up or down. To explore in more detail, just “pinch” the screen to zoom in and out. The vivid, multisensory experience is the next best thing to being right there; yet a minute later a user can be in a different country, culture and/or era exploring other historical treasures.

Take an app-style visit to the Aula Palatina — also called The Basilica of Constantine — in Trier, Germany, and take a 360-degree tour. This magnificent building was constructed by the emperor Constantine at the beginning of the 4th century. Through an engaging slideshow, learn how the Hebrew people ended up enslaved in Egypt. Watch a video about the Passover Seder and how Jesus deviated from the prescribed prayers at the Last Supper. Hear captivating liturgical music ranging from a Gregorian chant to Baroque compositions.

The “Mass Explained” app focuses on the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite: the Mass with which most Catholics are familiar. “An extraordinary work using the latest technology to advance the proclamation of the Gospel,” says The Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami. On behalf of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Wenski recently gave the app the Church’s “Imprimatur”, Latin for “let it be printed”, which is an official seal of approval indicating that the content of the app is in line with Catholic Church teaching. It is the first and only app to receive the Imprimatur from the Archbishop. The app has also been reviewed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

A 25-Year Long Search For Meaning

The creation of this groundbreaking education resource was born of a deep, personal search into the Catholic faith that began 25 years ago for its author, Dan González, of Miami, FL. At that time, González was attending college at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. His search began with a desire to be better able to defend his Catholic faith when it was challenged by members of a non-denominational Bible study group. Over the following years, González read profusely many books related to religion, Catholicism, the liturgy and other faiths. He also became actively involved in a number of Catholic ministry groups and led a Bible study program.

“My research opened my eyes to the beauty and majesty of the Mass,” says González, now a digital media design professional, illustrator and graphic designer. His experience with these groups revealed a need for better methods of instruction in the basic doctrines of Christianity —especially in the area of liturgy. González began working on a book to teach people about the deeper meanings, culture and history of the Catholic Mass. His years of work on the book, together with his professional development as a multimedia designer and recent advancements in multimedia technology, all led González to the development of this app. He has created a novel, media-rich way to tell the stories and explain the meaning of centuries of rich symbolism that make up the Mass. “It is my hopes that the “Mass Explained” App will be the seed that falls on good soil; the spark that sets a person on fire for God and His Church”, says Dan González, now married and the father of a 5-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl.

With all this, “Mass Explained” is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the culture, history and symbolism of the Catholic Mass. It is especially good for anyone seeking to deepen their faith and understanding of the Mass. A video on YouTube presents a preview of the app. Many reviews of the app have been written, praising the work and the experience it provides. These reviews are available on a Mass Explained App website, along with more detail, sample screens and a blog.

The app is priced at $24.99 at the Apple iTunes App Store, and through Apple in Education at a bulk price of $11-$12 per student. Although this is a much higher price than people are used to paying for an app, it is necessary in order for the app to be the highest quality possible, as source content for music, images and licensing must be paid out every time the app is downloaded. Users compare the experience to the cost of a good book with many high-resolution images, and find that there really is no comparison.


Apple, iPad, iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

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Arthur Lyons
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