By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican is offering a new app that provides live streaming of papal events and video feeds from the Vatican’s six webcams.
“The Pope App” also will send out alerts and links to top stories coming out of the Vatican’s news outlets, said Gustavo Entrala, founder and CEO of the Spanish firm 101.es, which developed the free app.
“You’ll have almost everything that the pope does or says” delivered to a mobile device and app users “will be able to watch the pope live every time he speaks,” he told reporters during a Dec. 3 news conference at the Vatican.
The app should be available Dec. 10 for iPhone and iPad while an Android version is due out in January, he said.
Most people only get to watch the pope live during the satellite broadcasts of Christmas and Easter events at the Vatican, he said.
“And I was wondering, ‘What if the pope could be able to reach our hands, the hands of every single person in the world'” who has access to a mobile device or smartphone, he said.
“We’ll have everything the pope says directly broadcast to your phone,” for example, his Sunday Angelus, Wednesday general audience talks and other important events, he said.
Users also can browse through the latest photos of the pope as well as search archived media, and all the links will be shareable online, he added.
The Vatican started offering live streaming online of papal events on its Silverlight video player and through its news portal, news.va, in 2011.
The new “Pope App” will alert users when an event is about to begin and the mobile device will receive the live feed directly from the Vatican Television Center, he said.
The app also will give users views from any one of the Vatican’s six live webcams. Two webcams are located on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica: one looking at St. Peter’s Square and, another at the Vatican governor’s office. Another is situated high on the colonnade around St. Peter’s Square looking at the basilica and papal apartments. One is directed at Blessed John Paul II’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica, another is high on the Vatican hill pointing toward the dome of the basilica and the last is aimed at the gardens of the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo.
Entrala’s communications company also is designing a new e-book on the Year of Faith that will be released next year.
Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said the Vatican has already sent out requests to every bishops’ conference in the world asking them to send his office texts, documents, photos, videos and even music tied to “local events celebrating the Year of Faith.”
The first volume of the e-book will be dedicated to the pope’s contribution to the special year — all his talks and other events, he said.
Then there will be one volume for each of five continents containing multimedia materials showing how the Year of Faith was celebrated and lived out locally.
When the Year of Faith ends Nov. 24, 2013, “we can have the richest, largest collection possible of these celebrations,” the archbishop said.
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