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Universalis: Online Daily Readings, Liturgy of the Hours and more

We are just coming to the end of the brief but intense “theological season” which began with the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, and took us through a whole series of highlights: Mary, Mother of the Church, Jesus the Eternal High Priest, the Trinity, the Body and Blood of Christ. These feasts remind us that Christianity has both Jewish and Greek roots: as Jews, we live a continuing encounter with God; as Greeks, we aren’t satisfied with something being true – we also want it to make sense.

But we mustn’t let ourselves over-intellectualise, so at the end of it all the Church brings this short season to an end with two feasts not of the mind but of the heart: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They remind us that life is not only about understanding but about living and feeling, and that our Saviour himself was not some Buddha-like figure floating in serene detachment above it all. He plunged into our world and was happy and sad, lived and loved: all of them, things of the heart. We need to emulate him and his Mother, even if most of us would find serene detachment be a lot more comfortable.

About Today

Talking of theology, we are planning to add more solid reading matter into the About Today pages, to supplement the lives of the saints which we have already. This will appear in all the apps and programs, and as soon as we can say something more specific about it, we will. But I thought you might like to know there was something to look forward to in this field.

QR codes

We had an email from an Irish priest a couple of days ago which suggested a feature so splendid that we have been kicking ourselves for not having thought of it months ago.

QR codes are those jazzy confections of black and white squares you see here and there, in print, on posters and on objects. If you have a suitable phone and point your camera at the code, the phone will read the code and show you an appropriate web page.

Father Tomás’s problem was that although churches are soon to reopen, books and leaflets with the Mass readings can’t be used just yet. So (although one doesn’t normally want people to go through Mass with their noses in their phones), what about a big QR code on a poster as everyone come in? People can point their cameras at them and get the Readings at Mass page in Universalis.

So we have done it. If you go to this page, you will see codes for all the major Universalis pages: not just the readings at Mass, but also About Today and each of the Hours.

Posters on the way into church aren’t the only possible use of these things. What about a Morning Prayer code on the church door, or a noticeboard, so that passers-by can scan the code and go on their way, praying? What about a code printed in the parish newsletter, so that people can find their way to the Hours at any time during the week?

We look forward to hearing of any other interesting uses you can find for these codes. It will be both enlightening and humbling to hear from you!

Web site links

We have taken the opportunity to revise our pages which describe how webmasters can make use of Universalis: making links, displaying banners, and displaying some of our content. They are a lot simpler now. If you are managing a web site, or know someone who is, here is the page with the details.

Universalis homepage

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